For the Media: COVID-19 Preparedness and Updates


Last updated March 30, 2020 10:30 am

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.

Supplies and equipment

Mission Health’s emergency planning efforts started months ago and our priority is to protect our frontline clinicians and caregivers so they are able to continue to care for our patients and our community. While we have the supplies and equipment we need at this time, we are doing everything possible to secure products, as the worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, face shields, and gowns is a reality that we are addressing with realistic, workable solutions.

To help ensure our caregivers and patients continue to have enough supplies and equipment, we are implementing steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to conserve PPE. All Mission Health hospitals have an assigned clinician that is solely responsible for overseeing PPE inventory and stewardship. We are adopting specific protocols, outlined by the CDC, for the appropriate reuse of certain PPE and we are asking our colleagues to conserve these items by following, but not exceeding, the guidelines for infection prevention. Additionally, we are allowing for the use of both N95 masks as well as standard facemasks. Since COVID-19 is spread by droplets, in most instances standard face mask offer adequate protection. These decisions are based on known evidence and guidance from the CDC, and are being implementing to protect our colleagues and our patients.

We continue to plan by accessing the resources, support and best practices across HCA Healthcare to help ensure we remain able to meet the needs of the communities we serve as the situation continues to evolve.

Non-essential surgeries and procedures suspended at Mission Hospital

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

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

Mission Health preparedness

  • All Mission Health facilities have well-established protocols in place to care for patients with infectious diseases, and our emergency planning efforts related to COVID-19 began weeks ago.
  • Our overall preparedness efforts during the last several weeks have included reinforcing appropriate infection prevention protocols and guidance from the CDC. Mission Health facilities have also implemented screening and restricted visitor access to our facilities.
  • While Mission Health has the bed capacity, staffing, supplies and equipment we need at this time, we continue to plan by accessing the resources, support and best practices across HCA Healthcare to help ensure we remain able to meet the needs of the communities we serve as the situation continues to evolve.
  • To ensure we are prepared for an influx of patients, we have staffing contingency plans, and those include the use of HCA Healthcare’s in-house staffing agency.
  • To help ensure our caregivers and patients continue to have enough supplies and equipment, we are asking staff to conserve personal protective equipment by following, but not exceeding, the guidelines for infection prevention. In addition, we are working with HCA Healthcare to identify other sources of important supplies and equipment to help ensure the continued protection of our colleagues and patients.
  • We can add bed capacity to certain areas of our hospital, if needed, and we are reviewing best practices of other HCA Healthcare hospitals.
  • We continue to monitor the situation and work closely in partnership with local and state health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The safety of our patients, visitors and colleagues is our top priority. Our Mission Health staff of exceptional physicians, experienced nurses and staff continue to care for every type of medical need in our community.

Employee safety and security

  • The safety of our patients, visitors and colleagues is our top priority.
  • All Mission Health colleagues are monitoring their health and have attested to follow the HCA Healthcare policy on Communicable Disease Preparation which states that colleagues reporting to work, by entering the facility, affirm they do not have symptoms of a contagious illness.
  • Colleagues who have been identified as medium and high risk due to potential exposure to COVID-19 are placed under a 14-day home quarantine, per state health department and CDC guidelines for healthcare workers. During this period, Mission Health employees are supported with several benefits through HCA Healthcare which include paid time off (PTO).

Telemedicine

The Mission Virtual Clinic (MVC) is open from 7 a.m. to 11 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 11 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:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay home 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
  • 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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