Now that we are likely past the anticipated surge, some hospitals are planning to reopen non-urgent procedures and return to some semblance of regular operations. The following is a list of questions for labor and management to review to ensure the hospital is reopening in the most safe and secure manner possible.
Timing and Criteria
- What is the timing and plan for reopening non-urgent care?
- What criteria are being used to determine when to reopen functions (e.g., Has the hospital seen a 14-day decrease in COVID-19 incidence)?
- What criteria will be used to determine whether to keep these functions open if there is another COVID-19 spike?
Personal Protective Equipment
- Is there a 30-day supply of PPE on hand — including N95 respirators, facemasks, isolation gowns, eye protection, face shields and gloves – on hand? If not, why are non-urgent procedures being opened without an adequate PPE supply?
- Dramatic measures were taken due to the PPE shortage. What is the plan to return to best practices for PPE use (single use to avoid cross-contamination)?
- What are the PPE policies for newly opening areas and procedures that will prevent them from COVID-19 exposure?
Safeguarding the Facility
- What areas will be designated as COVID-19/PUI areas?
- Has plexiglass been installed at all patient interactive windows? If not, why not?
- Will all patients be required to wear masks in the facility?
- How will patient screening at all entrances continue, and who will do it?
- Will policies limiting visitors be maintained?
- What are the cleaning/sterilization protocols for reopened areas
- What are the social distancing protocols in reopened areas, including waiting rooms, huddles, offices, etc.?
- Will temperature checks continue/be implemented?
- Will any functions be handled remotely or via “drive-through”? How will they be staffed?
- Will pre-operative patients be tested, and is there a policy regarding patient testing/quarantine?
- Will patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 be eligible for non-urgent surgeries?
- What is the plan to test and retest employees (frequency, criteria)?
- How will staffing change as reopening begins? Will cancellations/flexing decrease? Will per diems/on-calls be utilized regularly? (Review contract language around additional hours and the order to follow).
- What staff training will be provided on how to safely work in newly opened areas?
- Will employees currently working at home be able to continue to do so? If not, why not — and what is the timeline to return them to the workplace?
- Will staff assigned to COVID-19 care be restricted to those areas to avoid cross-contamination?
- How will the hospital continue to support employees with childcare challenges?
- How will the hospital continue to accommodate employees who become COVID-19 positive or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19?
- How will the hospital support the mental health needs of employees who have been working during these extremely stressful times?
- How will the hospital accommodate employees who are over age 65 or immunocompromised?
- When do you anticipate census numbers returning to pre-pandemic levels?
- How much money did the hospital receive from the $175 billion CARES Act funds and how is it being utilized?