Daily CEO Update
Our primary goal in responding to COVID-19 is to continue fulfilling our mission while protecting patients and caregivers. That will not change.
As this situation evolves, we thank you for your teamwork and flexibility. Any of us may be asked to perform duties outside our normal assignments. We commit to supporting each other.
When requirements change, we will communicate with you. The leadership team meets daily and makes decisions. We are careful and weigh the risks and benefits for everyone who is within our care.
We are now caring for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. As we have seen nationwide, the majority of cases are mild, which allows those patients to recover at home. Of the 50 confirmed cases in Ohio, eight are inpatients at our hospitals.
We have taken several actions to protect and assist patients, our caregivers and the community.
Today, we updated our visitation policy. Patients are limited to one visitor at a time. Visiting hours will be 8 a.m.–noon and 4–8 p.m., with no visitors allowed at night. We will ask visitors to wear a badge or wristband. Exceptions will be made for pediatrics, hospice and other patient issues determined by the care team.
This weekend, we began drive-through testing in partnership with University Hospitals. We tested 791 people during the first two days alone. It has been a superb example of teamwork. I want to thank every caregiver who is participating. Your hard work is making a difference.
Lastly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines on healthcare worker exposure. Caregivers who were exposed to COVID-19 without wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) may return to work if they do not have symptoms. We’re requiring these caregivers to wear a mask. Occupational Health coordinates return to work dates for anyone on quarantine.
Please wear PPE and protect yourself.
I will continue to update you with the latest information.
I am proud of you for going above and beyond in our preparations and response to COVID-19. Healthcare is our calling. Our patients, families and communities need us.
We will get through this together as a team.
Tom Mihaljevic, MD
CEO and President
Researchers: Important Updates During COVID-19
In response to COVID-19, we have developed the following enterprise-wide research guidelines to protect our study participants and research staff.
How should recruitment into research studies be handled?
It is recommended that recruitment into minimal-risk studies stop.
The Institutional Review Board (IRB) should be notified of the study pause and the reason being COVID-19 outbreak. The sponsor (National Institutes of Health or other) should also be notified.
However, if a participant is already coming to Cleveland Clinic for standard of care, or is at Cleveland Clinic for standard of care procedures/care, then routine research study visits can be performed, including minimal risk research. Overall, the goal is to prevent participants from coming to our healthcare organization purely for a research study visit.
If the sponsor and/or funding agency has asked you to stop recruitment, you will need to notify the IRB of the study pause. You need to ensure your regulatory documents are updated with the start date of the pause and rationale. If you have a Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), you must also notify the DSMB.
For Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug and device trials, it is recommended that you work with your sponsor and study team to develop a recruitment plan that decreases patients’ risk of exposure to others. You may want to prioritize recruitment of patients who are already coming in for standard of care visits or who are already hospitalized.
It is recommended that phone screenings that result in the need for a research-only visit be stopped at this time and that you do not ask patients to come in for research screening.
What are guidelines for ongoing research visits?
Research-only visits that do not involve an assessment for a drug or device or dispensing of a study medication should be canceled.
These anticipated deviations should be documented, identifying the precautions surrounding COVID-19 as the reason for the deviation.
For subjects in a drug or device trial, consider using virtual visits. The caregiver conducting the virtual visit must be licensed and follow the Cleveland Clinic Policy on virtual visits.
If you change your plans for follow-up visits, you need to obtain permission from your sponsor. Document the sponsor’s approval in your regulatory binder and note that it was a necessary precaution for patient safety due to COVID 19.
The IRB will issue guidance on modifications of follow-up visits prior to IRB approval if such modification is necessary in a timely fashion to eliminate apparent hazards. Please refer to the IRB webpage for that information.
If you are using Shared Medical Appointments (SMA) as research visits, these may be conducted virtually, following Cleveland Clinic Policy.
Should I pause my trial of an investigational drug or device?
No, the risk of not following up with subjects in drug and device trials outweighs the risk from COVID-19. Please see the information above for ideas to safely continue to follow subjects without the need for return visits to the hospital/office.
How should site initiation visits take place?
All site initiation visits should be conducted via SKYPE (or similar virtual conferencing software).
How should monitoring visits take place?
All monitoring visits should be done via Dr Connect or web-based virtual conferencing. If this is not possible, do not schedule visits for the next month. We will have additional information at that time.
Will the IRB continue to meet?
Yes, the IRB will continue to meet. Please work with your researchers to prioritize your studies and IRB submissions. With additional amendments and protocol changes, their workload will increase and they will be required to prioritize what is reviewed. We want to make sure the IRB is able to focus on high priority research.
What other things should we be thinking about?
Study teams should develop proactive contingency plans for their active research. Things to consider:
- Investigational drug: Work with the pharmacy if you cannot dispense an investigational drug to your subject during face-to-face visits. You may be able to deliver the investigational drug to their home.
- Investigational drug/device shipment: You may experience shipment interruption and need a plan to update subjects who signed consent forms.
- It is important to cross-train research teams in case team members become ill and/or are in quarantine. Develop communication plans.
Main Campus, Regional Libraries Closed
The Floyd D. Loop Alumni Library on main campus and the physical libraries at Fairview, Hillcrest and South Pointe hospitals have closed, effective Tuesday, March 17, until at least March 29 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While the libraries are closed, the library staff will be working remotely and can help you with your library needs.
Please contact library staff Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for help. You can also use the “Ask Us” live chat feature on the right-hand side of the Alumni Library website to connect with a librarian in real time.
- Floyd D. Loop Alumni Library: 216.444.5697 or [email protected]
- Fairview Hospital Library: 216.476.7117 or [email protected]
- Hillcrest Hospital Library: 440.312.3250 or [email protected]
- South Pointe Hospital Library: 216.491.7456 or [email protected]
Thank you for your understanding as we navigate this public health challenge.
Second Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing Location
Second Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing Location Opens at Landerbrook Health Center
Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals (UH) have added a second location for drive-through COVID-19 testing for patients with a doctor’s order from UH or Cleveland Clinic.
We will provide drive-through COVID-19 testing for patients with a doctor’s order, beginning at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 17.
The testing site is located at UH Landerbrook Health Center, 5850 Landerbrook Drive, Mayfield Heights. Patients enter off Cedar Road onto Landerbrook Drive between Cedar and Brainard roads. This location will also be open 11 a.m.–7 p.m., seven days a week.
Created in partnership with University Hospitals, the testing site will be jointly staffed by both organizations. This increases the capacity for rapid testing results to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Northeast Ohio.
Any patient seeking testing from this drive-through location will first need to have a doctor’s order for a COVID-19 test.
To obtain a physician’s order, people with symptoms should start with a virtual visit using Cleveland Clinic’s Express Care® Online or call their primary care physician.
Upon arrival to the drive-through location, patients should:
- Stay in their car
- Show their doctor’s order
- Remain in their car as a sample is collected
Samples collected from this location will be sent to Cleveland Clinic and UH laboratories. Results are anticipated to be available within a day.
We will test patients regardless of their ability to pay and will not charge copays for the test.
As a reminder to our caregivers, if you believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, use Cleveland Clinic’s Express Care® Online for a virtual visit, or call your primary care provider. These clinicians will determine if testing is needed.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, or feel you have been exposed to it, please contact Occupational Health at 216.445.8246, for next steps.
Cleveland Clinic and UH are testing in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. As this situation changes, we will continue to evolve our testing procedures.
Cleveland Clinic K–12 Education Canceled
Cleveland Clinic K–12 Education Summer Experiences and Internship Programs Canceled
After much consideration and to protect the safety and well-being of our patients, caregivers and community, we have decided to cancel Cleveland Clinic’s K–12 Education summer experiences and internship programs. This cancelation includes the Healthcare+ Pathways® Experience, NEOREMA™ Experience, The Cleveland Clinic Louis Stokes Internship Program and Science Internship Program, all scheduled to run between June 8, 2020, and Aug. 7, 2020.
These programs are rewarding for students, schools and mentors. However, we believe the decision to cancel this summer’s programs is in the best interest of the community.
We will continue to explore future student programs and share information after opportunities are available. For questions, please reach out to Angela Cain at 216.448.0033.
Self-Serve Food Service Changes
Effective Monday, March 16, our food services vendors across Northeast Ohio and Florida will be making the following changes in our eateries:
- All cafeterias will remain open, with seating closed at 4 Corners, Crile Food Emporium and Lerner Cafes.
- International Café will remain open with limited seating meeting a six-foot distance between tables.
- Starbucks (H Building) will remain open 7 days a week with new hours, 6 a.m. - 10:30 p.m., but will only accept mobile orders.
- Starbucks (Q Building) will close until further notice.
- Panera Bread will provide takeout service, but will close all seating areas.
Regional Hospitals and other facilities
- Cafes will continue to provide grab and go, and takeout services.
- Those cafes with seating areas will offer limited seating meeting a six-foot distance between tables.
- All self-serve food items, including salad bars, have been removed and are available in prepackaged containers.
- All serving stations will remain open unless noted otherwise at the station.
- All locations will discontinue fountain beverage service and will only sell bottled beverages.
- All condiments have been removed and are available upon request.
- All food fundraiser sales should be cancelled/postponed until further notice.
- Use of all reusable cups and bottles will not be allowed at beverage dispensers.
These changes will remain until further notice. All locations will remain open during their normal business hours.
We continue to work to ensure patient safety on inpatient units and no changes will be made to inpatient food service at this time.
Questions? Contact [email protected].
Please Use Microsoft Teams
Please Use Microsoft Teams as Your Online Meeting Collaboration Tool
To limit exposure and ensure safety during the COVID-19 situation, caregivers have been asked to replace in-person meetings with a virtual option.
To ensure our internal network doesn’t get overburdened by the increased use, and disrupt caregiver workflows, beginning on Monday, March 16, we are introducing Microsoft Teams as our temporary, online collaboration tool to use for scheduling all online meetings.
What you need to know
- A limited version of Microsoft Teams will be pushed to all caregiver desktops that currently use Skype on Monday, March 16.
- Microsoft Teams should now be used for all conferences and meetings for 250 people or less.
- Caregivers with Microsoft Office will schedule all new meetings using Microsoft Teams just as they did using Skype.
- To reschedule your current Skype meetings using Microsoft Teams, you’ll need to cancel your individual and series of meetings and resend using Microsoft Teams.
- At this time, please don’t schedule meetings past September 2020 due to a limited time use of this application.
- Anyone has access to attend meetings.
- A Microsoft Teams mobile app is available via the Cleveland Clinic Corporate Catalog app located on your phone.
- Skype will remain on caregiver desktops, but we’re recommending it should only be used for Instant Messaging (IM) at this time.
Please Note: Since virtual meetings will be in high demand during this time period, when possible, we are requesting that you use a PC and headset or the Microsoft Teams mobile application for audio versus dial-in service, to avoid overburdening the system.
Training and Resources
Live online webinar training with a Microsoft Representative is today, Monday, March 16 from 3-4 p.m. There are additional training sessions available over the next few weeks. It will be an overview of how to schedule using Outlook, share screens, take meeting notes, chat, manage audio settings and more.
- Please log on to the Microsoft support page on the intranet to join the training session that works best for you.
- Also logon to our Microsoft support page on the intranet for self-help training, resources and FAQS.
- If you have questions or issues, please contact the ITD Service Desk at 216.444.4357.
This situation is evolving daily and we appreciate your patience and support as we navigate this process and maintain the technology tools at a level our caregivers require to complete their work.