CEO Update | Monitoring the increase in new cases
As we approach the midpoint of the year, COVID-19 appears to be resurging. Ohio reported the largest increase of new cases in over a month on Monday. Florida surpassed 100,000 cases that same day.
Many factors likely attribute to these increases. Americans have returned to some regular activities. More tests are being processed. What we know for certain is the virus is not going anywhere. We must continue to observe safe practices that contain it.
At Cleveland Clinic, we are confident we can manage a surge of patients should one take place. We have even greater knowledge of the virus and excellent practices to care for patients.
We are therefore converting the Hope Hospital back into the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic, in preparation for the fall semester. The Hope Hospital was a proud achievement in our response to the pandemic. It represents the very best teamwork unique to our organization.
Our environments remain safe for patients, caregivers and the community. Today, we updated the policy on visitation. All inpatients who are COVID-19 negative or asymptomatic are now permitted one daily visitor. This is a welcome change to reunite patients with their families.
Caregiver feedback is essential to safe, reliable care. Thank you to everyone who participated in the Caregiver Pulse Survey, which ended today. We look forward to sharing the results soon.
Responsible stewardship has enabled us to care for caregivers during the pandemic. When the situation was most uncertain this spring, we developed a generous program to keep caregivers whole if they experienced a lack of work. We are now discontinuing that program as service levels return.
The financial challenges of this pandemic are widely publicized. We have made fiscally responsible decisions to delay some capital projects, restrict travel, suspend merit increases and use our time off. We will continue to seek efficiencies as we preserve jobs and a safe environment for patient care.
The way we speak to each other, and our patients, makes all the difference in our experience. Cynthia Norwood, a caregiver in our call center, exemplifies our service behaviors.
Cynthia was recognized in our Hero Huddles for a recent interaction with a patient. She helped the man, who is 104, clear up concerns he had with his appointment schedule. Her respectful and good-humored personality left the patient satisfied and jovial by the end of his call.
“It is a blessing to be able to be of service during this time especially,” Cynthia says, “but always to try to treat others as best we can.”
Thank you for treating patients and each other like family, and Cleveland Clinic as your home.
Tom Mihaljevic, MD
CEO and President
Pre-operative COVID-19 testing helps keep our environment safe
One way we maintain a safe environment for our patients and caregivers is by requiring patients to undergo COVID-19 testing within three days prior to any surgery or procedure in a Cleveland Clinic operating room or ambulatory surgery center. Some procedures performed in alternate locations also require COVID-19 testing.
Recently published data in The Lancet supports our pre-operative testing requirement. The study found that asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 were at higher risk of post-operative pulmonary complications and mortality.
Within our health system, we have postponed complex procedures such as kidney, liver and bone marrow transplants following patients’ test results that came back positive. These steps potentially averted complications associated with conducting surgeries for patients who have COVID-19.
By requiring patients to complete pre-operative testing, we help protect our patients and caregivers. This process contributes to our safe environment where, to date, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 spread in our operating rooms and less than 1% of our pre-operative patients have tested positive for COVID-19.
As a reminder, follow this workflow to schedule a patient for testing before a surgery or procedure:
- Confirm that the patient is willing to schedule their surgery.
- Schedule surgery.
- Schedule COVID-19 testing, 2-3 days (72 hours) before the date of the scheduled surgery. Refer to this list for the latest COVID-19 testing facilities.
- Pre-operative testing should proceed while waiting for COVID-19 testing, if not already completed.
- Confirm negative COVID-19 results (follow surgery decision tree for positive or unknown results).
- Proceed with surgery.
Questions? Contact Surgical Operations at [email protected].
Hope Hospital to convert back to Health Education Campus
In April, teams across our organization came together to accomplish an incredible feat – converting the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic to a temporary surge hospital in three weeks.
Standing up Hope Hospital was an important element of preparing for an expected surge of COVID-19 patients. We prioritized the safety and well-being of our patients and community by establishing additional bed capacity.
Since then, we are fortunate that due to aggressive public health measures our health system did not exceed capacity and Hope Hospital was not activated.
After careful consideration, we have made the decision to revert the Hope Hospital back to the Health Education Campus. Several factors contribute to this decision. We have spent months learning about how to manage and treat this disease. We are confident that if we see a surge of patients with COVID-19, we will be able to care for these patients at existing facilities. We also want to be good stewards of the resources located at Hope Hospital. As part of this, some medical equipment will be put back into use within the enterprise, while other materials will be donated or stored.
The transition back to the Health Education Campus has begun. Work will take place over the next several weeks and is expected to be complete for students to return to the Health Education Campus for the fall semester. We will continue to keep you updated on relevant developments at the facility. We are incredibly proud of the entire team that allowed this transformation to position us to be ready for the needs of our community.