For the Media: COVID-19 Preparedness and Updates


Last updated April 3, 2020

Mission Health is actively responding to the COVID-19 emergency affecting communities and healthcare providers throughout the world. As always, providing high-quality care for our patients is our top priority. As clinical leaders work to put our patients first, many of our experts are unavailable for immediate interviews or immediate responses to media inquiries.

Please consult the following page for the latest, most up-to-date information and statements regarding our response to COVID-19. If you have further questions, please reach out to Nancy Lindell at Nancy.Lindell@HCAHealthcare.com. We are updating this page regularly.

Mission to Resume Surgeries May 4, Visitor Restrictions Remain in Place

May 1, 2020

Mission Health has begun to thoughtfully re-introduce certain procedures and surgeries at its facilities across Western North Carolina as it continues to monitor the dynamic shifts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mission Health is maintaining its Level 3 visitor limitations for now. Learn more here.

Mission Health Announces Phased Approach for Caring for Non COVID-19 Patients

April 27, 2020

Mission Health is phasing back in certain services and procedures that were temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. To date, Mission Health has not seen the surge of COVID-19 patients initially anticipated when the pandemic first began to spread across the country. Learn more here.

Mission Health to Remove Triage Tents at Local Hospitals

April 24, 2020

Mission Health announced the organization would be removing the emergency triage tents it placed at its hospitals last month. The tents, which were installed as part of standard emergency planning protocols and for training exercises, were to create additional capacity as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved. Learn more here.

Mission Health Announces Programs to Protect Colleagues

April 3, 2020
Over the past few weeks, Mission Health has experienced a decrease in surgery and outpatient volume as a result of COVID-19, leading to a reduction of hours for many of our colleagues. In response, HCA Healthcare announced a new “pandemic pay continuation” policy to help protect the financial security for front-line caregivers at all facilities. It applies to all HCA Healthcare employees, including those at all Mission Health Hospitals. Learn more here.

Mission Health Implements Universal Masking

April 2, 2020
Mission Health announced that all staff and providers in all patient care areas will now wear masks, expanding their use beyond suspected or positive COVID cases. Masks will be optional only for staff in non-patient care areas who can consistently maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet aside from brief interactions with colleagues. Learn more here.

Mission Health Stands Up Triage Tents at Local Hospitals to Prepare for COVID-19

March 31, 2020

Mission Health announced today the organization would be moving forward with standing up tents at its hospitals in the coming days to create additional capacity for triaging patients outside of emergency departments, should it become necessary as the COVID-19 outbreak evolves. The tents are part of Mission’s standard emergency planning protocols and are simply proactive planning at this time. Over the coming days, Mission will conduct training exercises and drills in the tents, allowing caregivers to become comfortable in the environment should the tents need to become operational. Learn more here.

Mission Health Preparedness: Supplies & Equipment

March 27, 2020
Mission Health has the bed capacity, staffing, supplies and equipment we need at this time. We understand that this global crisis is evolving every day, and shortages are occurring worldwide. At Mission Health, we are taking every step possible to continue to meet the needs of the communities we serve:

  • We are engaging in detailed bed utilization planning to prepare for the epidemic. Suspension of non-essential surgeries allowed us to free up beds for patients if a surge approaches. As needed, we are also able to access additional bed capacity by converting other hospital beds into ICU beds and accessing unused capacity at St. Joseph’s including a 14-bed ICU and the old Emergency Department.
  • Our partnerships with our sister hospitals mean we have additional capacity in the region to care for those who may be less ill, freeing up space for the critically ill at Mission Hospital.
  • We are designing creative staffing plans to maximize our staff’s availability as needed, including accessing HCA Healthcare’s in-house staffing agency and plans for emergency credentialing of nurses and doctors who may not be a part of our current workforce.
  • We understand there will be an increased demand for ventilator care and have continued to secure a substantial number of additional units in preparation for an unknown need. We are monitoring the need for and availability of ventilator devices every day.
  • We have activated an emergency operations command center that is working around the clock to implement our safety protocols and find realistic, workable solutions for securing additional supplies.
  • We are in touch daily with our colleagues at other divisions of HCA Healthcare to share strategies and resources that are successful in other areas of the country already seeing escalated outbreaks.
  • Our leadership at HCA Healthcare is working together with government leaders at every level to access what our caregivers need, and collaborating with top experts and industry leaders as part of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition to develop solutions to protect the safety of our patients and frontline clinicians.

We recognize that our communities are feeling fear and uncertainty as we navigate these challenges together. We don’t know how this unprecedented outbreak will affect our communities in the coming weeks. What we do know is Mission Health and our team of exceptional doctors and nurses are here for you. Our top priority is protecting the health and safety of our patients and staff, and we are working every day to provide the resources we need to provide high-quality care for you during this challenging time for all healthcare providers.

Non-Essential Surgeries and Procedures Suspended at Mission Hospital

March 23, 2020
Effective Monday, March 23, Mission Hospital is suspending non-essential surgeries and procedures in response to new guidelines issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Learn more here

Restricted Visitor Access

March 21, 2020
As always, Mission Health is working continually to ensure we remain a safe place to work and provide care. To protect our patients and staff, there are no visitors allowed at any Mission Health facilities starting March 21, 2020 at 7 p.m. The exception is for our pediatric and labor and delivery patients, who will still be allowed one adult visitor at a time. Learn more here

Telemedicine

The Mission Virtual Clinic (MVC) is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. This option is ideal for western North Carolina citizens because it is convenient and helps maintain social distancing, a key method to reduce the coronavirus spread. We cover an array of different illnesses remotely (click here for a full list). If you access the MVC after 7 pm, you will still be allowed to complete the virtual visit; however, you won’t receive a provider response until after 7 am the next day. Click here to learn more.

Safety Tips for our Communities

We all can play a part in protecting our own health as well as the health of family members, vital healthcare providers and the community by remembering to practice good hygiene, including these measures:

  • Follow North Carolina’s Stay at Home order, except to visit essential businesses, exercise outdoors or to help a family member.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay home, especially when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue
  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often, using either soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel for at least 20 seconds
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Avoid large crowds and practice social distancing – stay at least six feet apart from others
  • Check the CDC website: CoronaVirus.gov for updated information

HIPAA and Patient Condition Updates

As caregivers, we have a responsibility to protect patient and colleague privacy and are bound by HIPAA regulations regarding the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information. Mission Health can only provide a current patient condition update when a specific patient name is provided.

 

 

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