CEO Update | Preserving beds in our Ohio hospitals
We take responsibility for all patients who seek our care. The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 has increased dramatically in the State of Ohio — with the majority in Zone 1 hospitals where we practice. We are therefore taking proactive steps to ensure the safe provision of care.
Patient and caregiver safety is our top priority. We have made the decision to postpone nonessential surgeries that require a hospital bed at most Cleveland Clinic Ohio hospitals for Friday, November 13, and Monday, November 16. These are procedures that can safely be rescheduled.
Nonessential surgeries will continue at Lutheran Hospital, as well as all pediatrics procedures.
Urgent and emergent surgeries — such as heart, cancer and neurological procedures — and outpatient surgeries will continue as scheduled.
This decision will preserve hospital beds and ensure all patients have their expected experience. It also prevents the potential cancelation of procedures the same day as surgery. We will reevaluate our scheduled surgeries on an ongoing basis for the foreseeable future.
We understand the impact this decision has and its effect on the long-term health and well-being of our patients and communities. We will reschedule these procedures as soon as possible.
In addition, we are temporarily suspending outpatient surgical care at the Marymount Hospital Ambulatory Surgery Center, starting Friday, November 13. Patients will be redirected to Marymount Hospital or another Cleveland Clinic location for procedures. Caregivers will be redeployed to the hospital, which enables us to expand the number of beds for patients with COVID-19.
We expect outpatient surgical care at Marymount Hospital Ambulatory Surgery Center to resume on Monday, November 30.
It is important to understand that our doors are still open to take care of patients. These decisions are part of our contingencies to balance a surge of patients with COVID-19 while maintaining operations.
We have gotten better at managing this disease. Through our strong clinical practices, available therapies and thoughtful planning, we are able to safely care for patients and caregivers while fulfilling our mission.
Lastly, our leaders throughout the enterprise continue to monitor the pandemic. We are not making changes at our Florida region hospitals.
Thank you for your support.
Tom Mihaljevic, MD
CEO and President
COVID-19 screening process changing at our facilities in Ohio and Florida
Update as of Nov. 13, 2020 – for the latest information about thermal scanning and screening read this message
The safety of patients, visitors and caregivers has been our priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As we live with COVID-19, we continue to implement measures that keep caregivers, patients and visitors safe, while continuing to care for patients. Beginning later this month, we are evolving our screening process for caregivers and patients. This new evolved process will:
- Focus on safety precautions that drive behavior change known to be effective in protecting one another from COVID-19.
- Eliminate redundancies in the screening process.
- Improve patient access and experience.
- Reduce the number of caregivers staffing screening entrances.
- No COVID-19 screening questions will be asked of patients at entrances, kiosks or check-in desks
- Thermal scanning at entrances will be removed (starts Nov. 15 for caregivers; starts Dec. 1 for patients/visitors)
- COVID Pass will be the only screening tool for caregivers
What's not changing
- Screeners will be present at entrances
- Patients will be asked COVID-19 screening questions when making an appointment only if they have symptoms, and all patients will be asked when in an exam room
- All patients, visitors and caregivers will be monitored to ensure masking
- All visitors will continue to be asked COVID-19 screening questions
- Visitors who screen positive will not be permitted to accompany a patient
- Visitors for inpatients will continue to be checked at entrances as an approved visitor
- COVID visitation policies remain in place
Beginning Nov. 15, caregivers will no longer be thermal scanned (temperature checks). Instead, we will rely on COVID Pass, our self-screening tool, for caregivers.
Caregivers are expected to complete COVID Pass each day they are scheduled to work at a Cleveland Clinic facility prior to arriving to their work location. On average 20,000 caregivers are using COVID Pass daily to self-screen. For more information about COVID Pass, refer to these instructions and FAQs.
Caregivers should always have their Cleveland Clinic ID badge visible when entering a Cleveland Clinic facility. Caregivers will be able to swipe their badge and enter buildings at any entrance point, but we will continue to restrict entrance points for patients and visitors.
Mask wearing will be monitored at entrances. Caregivers must continue to follow masking and eye protection policies.
Beginning Dec. 1, patients will no longer be asked COVID-19 screening questions at building entrances, check-in desks and kiosks. Thermal scanning (temperature checks) at entrances will also be removed.
Patients will be asked COVID-19 screening questions when making an appointment only if they have symptoms, and all patients will be asked when in an exam room. When scheduling an appointment, the travel screening questions will no longer be asked. An Epic decision tree will determine the specific COVID-19 screening questions. Virtual appointments will continue to be recommended for those with COVID-19 symptoms who do not require immediate medical care.
Face masks will still be required for outpatients and Emergency Department patients, and strongly encouraged for inpatients. We will monitor mask wearing at entrances, and offer a virtual visit option to outpatients who refuse to wear a mask for non-medical reasons.
We will continue to follow state-wide visitation levels and require visitors to wear masks. All visitors will still be asked COVID-19 screening questions. Those who screen positive will not be permitted to accompany a patient. Effective Dec. 1, visitors will not need to complete thermal scanning. At entrances, visitors will also be monitored for mask wearing. Inpatient visitors will continue to be checked as an approved visitor.
Considerable thought has gone into these changes. Our COVID-19 screening process will look different than at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we have significantly evolved our infection prevention and safety processes since then. This includes establishing universal pandemic precautions, visitation restrictions, a strong supply of PPE for our caregivers, and a socially distanced environment.
Relying on these proven measures allows us to maintain a safe environment, provide the highest quality, compassionate care to patients and evolve the measures our organization takes throughout this pandemic.