Colleagues – The last two weeks have been quite the challenge. Standing up all our preparations for the Covid-19 virus while going through our hospital Joint Commission visit was a test of Denver Health – one that we passed with flying colors! First of all, let me say thank you to the entire team for the incredible work you do every day. The quality of the care provided, the compassion of our staff towards incredibly vulnerable patients and the commitment to our mission were the things that the Joint Commission surveyors raved about. Congratulations for such a successful survey.
Our incident command center is working feverishly (no pun intended) to make sure we are ready for the challenge of Covid-19. While our number of positive cases remains small (5 outpatient, 0 inpatient and 40 community based cases being managed by our public health division), the fear and anxiety in our community is significant. We have been dealing with state and national shortages of tests and associated supplies, the need to use a lot of PPE due to a lack of test results and a rapidly changing situation. Our public health and infectious disease experts are providing guidance on how to make sure staff stays safe even in the face of these shortages, including a new protocol that will be pushed out today around prioritizing inpatients and health care workers for testing.
The incident command structure allows us to manage these issues and prepare for what is coming, which unfortunately is likely to be a major health crisis and test of our system. I ask that you bear with us as we work through all the critical issues. The normal organizational structure remains in place and should be used for any issues and questions that you have.
At the same time, we are prioritizing the health and well-being of our staff. A few key actions that we’ve taken:
1. Making sure that we provide appropriate PPE to staff caring for potentially exposed patients and working with the State government to get more supplies;
2. Adding additional salary protection for employees who exhibit symptoms, need to be sent home and subsequently test positive;
3. Advocating for child care services for our health care workers; you should have received a rave with an announcement of available child care for health care workers – please be sure to sign up if you need this support
I know there’s been a lot of communication in an effort to keep everyone informed. We’re working to streamline how, when and what we communicate, to balance important information with the need to keep our day to day work going and not overwhelm everyone. Please be assured that we will continue to make the best decisions we can to serve our patients and community and protect our workforce.
Thank you for everything you do.
Robin D. Wittenstein, EdD, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
O: (303) 602-4920 | C: (516) 492-9663