With increased prevalence of COVID-19 in the U.S. and New York State, Rochester Regional Health is taking measures to ensure the safety of our patients, our team members and our community.
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 8:00am
Due to the tireless work of our staff and the community’s active participation in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, our area continues to see low numbers of positive cases. As a result, we are beginning the process of removing evaluation tents at Unity Hospital, United Memorial Medical Center, and Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic and transitioning care back to our Emergency Departments or Immediate Care sites. The drive-thru evaluation tent at Wilson Immediate Care on the Rochester General Hospital campus will remain operational for employee testing and respiratory evaluations only. The pre-operative testing done in these tents will now transition to Patient Service Centers and the Linden Oaks Surgery Center.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, we have learned more about what symptoms present in patients with the virus and as a result, Rochester Regional Health has added more questions to the RRH Daily Pass. Employees must answer all the questions. If they answer yes to any of the questions, employees must call the hotline for additional screening and instructions prior to reporting to work. As a reminder, individuals who are not able to complete the RRH Daily Pass, prior to arriving to work, will need to complete the process onsite and have their temperature checked.
The questions below are the same for the RRH Daily Pass and those asked of visitors at our facilities.Have you had any of the following symptoms since your last screening, or in the last 24 hours, that are new or unusual for you?
Employees who are currently traveling or plan to travel to any of the designated states outlined by Governor Cuomo's recent Executive Order are permitted to work upon their return, provided they follow the process detailed and announced last week, including calling the RRH Employee Hotline, 585-454-8202.
Due to our hard work and diligence as a health system along with other health systems across the state, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the relaxing of visitor restrictions last week. Effective, June 25, 2020, Rochester Regional Health, along with the University of Rochester Medical Center, will allow visitors in a limited capacity. While we welcome the reintroduction of visitors, we must remain vigilant with all of our safety protocols to ensure we continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 which includes following all of the guidelines listed below from the New York State Health Department.
We recognize the need for patients to be able to see their loved ones face to face; at the same time we must continue to put the safety of our patients, visitors, and staff first which is why it is imperative visitors follow these guidelines.Visitors who fail to comply with this guidance will be asked to leave the facility. By visiting a patient within the hospital, you may be putting yourself or the patient at risk if you have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or have not been adhering to social distancing and masking guidance.
Because not all patients can have visitors, Rochester Regional Health has invested in additional technology to help facilitate auditory and video communication. Though not the same as a personal visitation, we are doing everything we can to support our patients and families.
While resuming operations and procedures across the system is welcoming news, we understand the complexity it adds as our clinicians and teams continuously adapt workflows. Please be aware that the criteria established through Governor Cuomo’s executive orders and directives are regularly updated and may impact current guidelines. Additionally, changes in the COVID-19 infection rate may also affect our ability to continue performing elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures in both our hospital and ambulatory settings. We encourage all Rochester Regional Health employees to remain flexible and we greatly appreciate your perseverance as together, we maneuver through these uncharted times.
IMPORTANT: All patients undergoing surgeries/procedures in certain locations must be tested for COVID-19 and receive a negative test result within three days of their surgery/procedure.
Effective Monday, June 22, Rochester Regional Health Laboratories (RRHL) will offer COVID-19 serologic (antibody) testing. View the COVID Antibody Testing: Patient Information (June 2020) document on the toolkit for more information.
Rochester Regional Health is beginning a new, phased re-entry process for student clinical rotations. Leaders, before approving a student to return to RRH for clinical, all departments and RRH clinical contacts must email [email protected] to confirm the process of re-entry. Check the drop-down above for more information and required documentation.
Governor Cuomo issued an executive order this past weekend requiring New York State licensed long-term care (LTC) facilities to begin testing all employees twice a week. All LTC facilities are required to submit plans to the New York State Department of Health outlining how each facility will comply with this executive order. Please note the following as we begin to implement this new testing protocol:
We will keep you informed as we all learn more. All COVID-19 inquiries regarding ACM or RRH hospital testing should be made by EMAIL ONLY to [email protected]. Inquiries made by other means or directly to leadership or team members will not be responded to.
Governor Cuomo also issued an executive order requiring all acute care hospitals to test nursing home and long-term rehab patients for COVID-19 prior to discharge. Patients must test negative before they can be discharged.
Rochester Regional Health joined Monroe County, the City of Rochester, University of Rochester Medical Center and Common Ground Health to help launch ROC COVID, a new online health screening survey tool to help prevent further spread of the virus throughout the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region.
Data collected by ROCCOVID.org will also increase understanding of the virus, measure efforts to slow its progression, and help determine where to focus testing or adjust stay-at-home and physical distancing requirements. Scientists and information technology staff from RRH and URMC helped develop the online survey, which consists of a few questions that residents are encouraged to answer daily, even when they are experiencing no symptoms. Residents who participate will receive daily email reminders.
RRH employees should continue utilizing the Daily Pass but are encouraged to share ROC COVID with family and friends. RRH’s Daily Pass statistics will be added to the ROC COVID database.
Rochester General Hospital is one of four sites nationwide to participate in a new COVID-19 vaccine trial.Infectious Disease Specialists Ed Walsh, MD, andAnn Falsey, MD, are leading the randomized placebo-controlled trial at RGH, which calls for 90 volunteers in the Rochester area, ages 18 to 85, who have not been infected with COVID-19.
Pfizer and BioNTech developed the experimental vaccine. “While the scientific and medical community are moving at unprecedented speed to advance vaccine candidates, it is critical that this effort is conducted in a rigorous manner that evaluates the safety and efficacy of potential vaccines,” said Dr. Walsh. “This new clinical trial, the only active coronavirus vaccine study in Rochester, is the first step in that process.”
Those interested in participating can email [email protected].
Based on a directive from the New York State Department of Health, the following Rochester Regional Health hospitals will resume non-essential surgeries and non-urgent procedures effective May 4, 2020: Unity Hospital, United Memorial Medical Center, Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic, Newark-Wayne Hospital & Clinic. Rochester General Hospital will continue to offer urgent, emergent and cancer-based surgeries and procedures in accordance with the directive from NYSDOH.
In preparation for resumption of elective surgeries, RRH perioperative services created nine workgroups that have been meeting over the past week. These workgroups are developing policies, procedures and protocols to meet all NYSDOH requirements while ensuring the safety and quality of our patients and health care staff.
RRH is expanding testing guidance and indications in alignment with NYSDOH recommendations to help meet increased testing demands resulting from resuming non-essential surgeries and non-urgent procedures. RRH is also actively working to broaden our system’s testing capacity, which will help enable us to stay ahead of a rise in demand.
Detailed information regarding indications, ordering, results follow-up, expectation of testing turnaround time, and essential steps in closing the loop for patient testing is available in the Testing Strategy document on the toolkit.
There is a great deal of complexity regarding the testing process, which encompasses results and patient education. Additional notifications and guidance will be released as testing protocols are updated and finalized.
RRH’s dedicated CareConnect team has developed a process for identifying/assessing, tracking and monitoring patients in our EMR who are suspected of having COVID-19. Process highlights include:
CLICK HERE for the detailed PUI Tracking document.
We appreciate your patience as we roll out RRH’s Daily Pass system-wide. The goal is to keep everyone—all providers, employees, patients and residents safe.
As we all get more accustomed to wearing masks while at work and outside the home in the grocery store, Rochester Regional Health is reminding employees about Universal Masking procedures for patients and visitors.
The Universal Masking information is also located on the toolkit in the Visitor Restrictions section.
Werner Medical Library Resources Following numerous requests from clinicians for literature searches related to COVID-19, Werner Medical Library at Rochester General Hospital has compiled a collection of evidence-based information on its website: http://wernerlibrary.org/covid.
To continue limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our community, RRH Pharmacy is now offering curbside prescription pick up for employees at three locations across Rochester: the General Apothecary at Rochester General Hospital, the Riedman Pharmacy, and the Wilson Pharmacy. To order, call your selected pharmacy and press 0. Choose "curbside pickup" as your preferred option and pre-pay by credit card over the phone. Once at your pharmacy location, follow directions on the signage in the front loop.
Through the generosity of our friends at Century Mold, Rochester Regional Health is now able to provide a durable, reusable face shield to all providers and employees working in patient-facing areas, including long term care and home care. We are days into the distribution of the reusable face shields, which are being centrally distributed by site to all RRH team members. So far several thousand healthcare workers have received them and the remainder will be delivered in the coming days.
Face Shield Purpose and Use Guidelines:
A limited supply of respirators (N95s) and face masks requires a multimodal approach to protect our patients and our workforce
Prompt #1: Occupational Health is available to answer COVID-19 related inquiries. Hours are 6am - 6pm.
Prompt #2: Employee Health Services (EHS) is available to provide guidance regarding clearance for returning to work. Weekend hours are 9am - 1pm.
All employee messages left after hours will be returned the next day.
Leaders, please follow the instructions below regarding Excused with Pay vs Emergency Management Leave (EML) for employees awaiting redeployment.
Please reference the updated RRH Absences and Time Off Guidance available on the toolkit (located under HR Updates). If there are any questions, please contact HR at [email protected]
The health and safety of our RRH employees has never been of greater importance. Consistent with CDC recommendations, we are asking all employees to follow self-monitoring practices. Self-monitoring is an important safeguard for all of us as no one is immune to this disease.
Shortness of breath
Repeated shaking with chills
New loss of taste or smell
All RRH employees (even those without symptoms) are strongly encouraged to adopt self-monitoring habits, including temperature checks especially before starting a shift.
Clinical staff is reminded to follow RRH policies for isolation precautions for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
All employees need to continue practicing social distancing.
If you can work remotely from home, please do so safely.
All employees should make hand hygiene a priority for you and your family. Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds or use enough alcohol hand rub to cover the entire surface of your hands.
If you have specific needs or questions regarding Infection Prevention, please reach out to your IP representative.
Due date for Performance Appraisals (PAs) will be postponed until further notice.
Rochester Regional Health has expanded telemedicine services to enable our patients to receive safe medical care while adhering to social distancing practices. RRH is offering three virtual visit methods to connect with and care for patients:
In the first 24 hours, RRH providers have seen 185 patients through MyCare video visits and 139 patients through FaceTime and Skype.
For video/virtual visit procedures and workflows, please visit the CareConnect Toolkit. For offices not set-up with Care Now Video Visit, and/or individuals who cannot access Skype or FaceTime, providers are conducting phone visits. Patient preferences are always taken into consideration. Patients are encouraged to call their office and staff will determine the best method for all parties.
DO NOT CONTACT RRH LABS DIRECTLY REGARDING INDIVIDUAL TEST RESULTS.
We share your concern for the well-being of all patients and team members and are eager to get test results quickly. ALL RRH LAB personnel are working tirelessly around the clock and we cannot ask them to pause their work to respond to individual requests for status reports.
Hospital & ED Patients (+ currently Dialysis & LTC on a case-by-case basis)
At this time, only inpatient hospital, ED patient, dialysis and LTC patients are able to be tested in-house at RRH. As volume of testing increases, some of these may be sent to a reference lab. Samples received by 9:00 a.m. will be run in the morning, depending on capacity. Samples received by 2:00 p.m. will be run in the afternoon, depending on capacity. Results are reported immediately in CareConnect and relayed to the Nurse Call Team who contacts all patients, including those who test negative. Results from the morning test run are generally posted between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. daily. Results from the afternoon run are generally posted between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. daily.
Ambulatory Samples (including healthcare workers)
All ambulatory tests are sent out to reference laboratories. The most efficient labs are being engaged. Testing cannot be "expedited". All COVID-19 testing is considered urgent.
RRH’s IS&T team is reminding all employees that email is not a secure way to transmit protected health information (PHI) to external parties. If emailing PHI is required, important precautions must be followed to preserve confidentiality:
With the exception of patient-authorized written requests handled by HIM, employees must NOT send PHI to web-mail services (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud).
During this public health concern, providers will no longer be able to utilize the services of Scribe America, as the organization and RRH have agreed that to reduce foot traffic onto our campuses, we will refrain from using scribes until further notice.
All walk-in evaluations are temporarily cancelled at all RRH mental health and chemical dependency clinics. Individuals seeking immediate access to outpatient clinic services should call the Behavioral Health Access & Crisis Center at (585) 368-3950.All non-urgent behavioral appointments will be rescheduled.
View a list of all RRH news coverage for the past week.
Xiaobing Hu’s journey battling COVID-19 began in March with a high fever and shortness of breath. He was tested for COVID-19 at Unity Hospital and was admitted.Read Now
Rochester is one of four sites in the nation selected to test a coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.Read Now
A Greece couple heads into this Fourth of July weekend thankful for a lot of things. Tops on that list for Matt Jones is improving health, following weeks spent in a coma after catching coronavirus.Read Now
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