April 07, 2020
Support includes substantial financial commitments, universal masking policy, and creative benefits
Caldwell, ID - West Valley Medical Center, as part of HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading healthcare providers, is announcing a comprehensive effort to protect its colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past few weeks, West Valley has experienced a massive decrease in surgery and outpatient volume as a result of COVID-19, leading to a reduction of hours for many of our colleagues. In response, HCA Healthcare announced a new “pandemic pay continuation” policy to help protect the financial security for front-line caregivers at all facilities. It applies to all HCA Healthcare employees, including those here in Caldwell, Idaho.
West Valley is making every effort to redeploy colleagues who are experiencing reduced hours so they can keep working. Those who cannot be redeployed will receive 70 percent of base pay for up to seven weeks until HCA Healthcare better understands the long-term implications of this pandemic on the organization.
For colleagues working in patient care facilities who are quarantined per CDC guidelines, the hospital will pay 100 percent of base pay for scheduled hours regardless of where the exposure took place. Colleagues who do not work in a patient care facility and are quarantined per CDC guidelines, will be eligible for short term disability while they are ill.
Scrub laundering will be provided for colleagues who care for COVID-19 patients to help prevent potentially carrying the virus home on clothing. In addition, HCA Healthcare is working with major hotel chains to provide free housing for caregivers who provide care to COVID-19 patients and prefer not to go home to their loved ones after their shift.
Other benefits and programs already in place include options for child or elder care, free Doctors on Demand tele-medicine to assist those who cannot get in to see their regular provider, HCA Hope Fund grants for colleagues with financial needs, and emotional support and counseling services.
In addition, HCA Healthcare CEO Sam Hazen will donate 100 percent of his paycheck for eight weeks to the HCA Hope Fund, and other senior leaders will make significant contributions. Similarly, HCA Healthcare’s Board of Directors has waived their cash compensation for the remainder of the year allowing the company to make an additional contribution to the HCA Hope Fund.
HCA Healthcare implements universal masking
Learn more about the company’s universal masking policy for all colleagues in patient care areas.
West Valley launces online COVID-19 screening tool
West Valley Medical Center has launched an online COVID-19 screening tool for the public. The screening assesses a person’s risk of COVID-19 through a series of questions and based on answers, recommends the best next steps for care.
West Valley temperature screening all who enter hospital
This week West Valley began temperature screening all individuals, including employees and providers, who enter the hospital. The only entrance currently open is the Emergency Room entrance.
If visitors as well as employees/providers have a temperature of 100.4 or higher, or respiratory symptoms (shortness of breath, difficulty breathing), they will be asked to go home and follow-up with employee health as well as their primary care provider if needed.
Maternity classes now online
West Valley has moved the April and May Breastfeeding 101 classes as well as the Childbirth Preparation classes online. The tours have been canceled but a virtual tour of West Valley’s Labor and Delivery unit will be part of the online classes.
An instructor will reach out to those who register for the classes with details. We realize these are important classes for our expectant mothers and we look forward to being able to offer these programs online.
Temporary no visitor policy
To help ensure a safe care environment and limit possible exposure to novel coronavirus (COVID-19), West Valley has implemented a temporary no visitor policy. Here are some exceptions to the policy:
- One family member or significant other can stay with laboring mothers
- One parent may stay at the bedside with NICU and pediatric patients
- Visitor rotation (1 at a time) will only be allowed for parents of NICU and pediatric patients
- Permitted visitors allowed entry from 7:00am - 7:00pm and must be over 18-years-old
- Under no circumstances will visitors be allowed who exhibit flu-like symptoms or have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive patient
If a patient or family member has an extenuating circumstance, we will work with them to help accommodate their needs. These include:
- Outpatients, including those in the ER and surgery who require assistance
- Durable Power of Attorney or legal guardian that doesn’t meet the above criteria
- End of life patients
- Certified Doulas may be allowed on a case by case basis
We encourage patients to discuss this policy or any questions they have with their provider. We appreciate the patience of our community in helping us maintain a safe environment for our patients, colleagues and care providers.
West Valley has cancelled the Rock ‘N’ Run 5k/10k scheduled for Saturday, April 25. We are working with our partner, the Caldwell Family YMCA and will let you know as soon as we have a new date. These measures are being taken out of an abundance of caution. We would like to thank our community for supporting this great cause and for your understanding in this decision.
Bariatric and Orthopedic education seminars planned for May have also been cancelled.
Cafeteria: Closed to public, reduced hours and options
The West Valley cafeteria is closed to the general public and will only be open during breakfast and lunch hours for employees (6:30am - 10:00am and 11:00am - 2:00pm). Along with this change, the salad bar has been removed and the cafeteria isl providing more “boxed” or prepared options.
Also the gift shop and flower sales are temporarily closed as a precaution.
Childcare for colleagues
We are working closely with community resources, schools, and churches to identify safe, childcare options for children of healthcare workers, including our EMS partners.
“ Our employees stand ready to face the demands ahead of them. I’m proud to work alongside colleagues who have a true passion for caring for our community, even when times are uncertain,” said Betsy Hunsicker, West Valley Chief Executive Officer.
Exercises, education and more preparation
The West Valley team is preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. The hospital is conducting table top exercises to be prepared for different circumstances that could arise.
Our efforts also include reinforcing appropriate infection prevention protocols and guidance from the CDC, ensuring that we have the necessary supplies.
West Valley regularly treats patients with infectious diseases and our clinical teams are highly trained in infection prevention protocols.
Resources and updates
Our West Valley team is meeting consistently, along with conducting daily calls with our parent organization, HCA Healthcare, to share best practices and processes given the current circumstances of this evolving situation. Patients and visitors can find more information on our website, westvalleyisbetter.com.