Highpoint Health Provides Community Update

Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 11:01 AM

By Highpoint Health, news release

Highpoint Health is doing everything it can to prepare for COVID-19 surge.

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - Community Update: Together we’ll win the battle “While the number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Indiana is well below other areas of the country, we want to assure the community we’re doing everything we can to prepare for the surge,” said Michael Schwebler, President and CEO of Highpoint Health. “This includes making sure we’re able to maintain our core mission of caring for all patients, not just those with COVID-19.”

In return, Schwebler asks each and every community member to do their part fighting the spread of COVID-19. “Now, more than ever, this includes social distancing, washing your hands often, staying home if you’re sick, and avoiding unnecessary trips to the hospital.”

We’re working 24/7 to prepare “Since January, a multidisciplinary task force has played a critical role in structuring the hospital’s COVID-19 planning and decision making” explained Nancy Kennedy, MD, Highpoint Health Chief Medical Officer. The task force is also actively monitoring and working closely with area hospitals, the Dearborn County Health Department, the Indiana State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and the Indiana Hospital Association. “We’re ready to fight this disease head-on,” said Dr. Kennedy.

Here are just some of the actions Highpoint Health has taken to date to ensure its readiness for a community-wide outbreak of COVID-19:

· Implemented our hospital-wide preparedness plan and processes so we can effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

· Created an emergency expansion plan for the Intensive Care Unit to accommodate patient surge.

· Identified and prepared additional facility space that can be adapted for use as needed.

· Cross-trained nurses to assist the ICU team, as needed, to provide the highest-quality patient care.

· Cross-trained and educated non-traditional healthcare personnel to assist the ICU team, as needed, to provide patient care support.

· Established a dedicated COVID-19 information line, 812-537-8210, for those with health questions.

· Placed a tent on the hospital campus in anticipation of an emergency department surge.

· Designated Highpoint Health Physician Partners, should the need arise, to care for hospital patients who don’t have serious respiratory illness. This allows our hospitalists and intensivists to solely focus on the more critically ill.

· Continuously monitoring essential patient care supplies and equipment, as well as personal protective equipment, to protect both patients and the healthcare workforce.

· Implemented a process for triage and admission of patients with severe respiratory illness.

· Implemented the use of telemedicine in many of our physician offices to deliver the best care possible while ensuring the safety of our patients and staff.

· Established screening protocol for all employees, patients and visitors before entering the hospital.

· Created centralized hospital entry/exit points to protect our most vulnerable patients.

· Postponed all elective testing and elective surgical procedures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

· Enforced stricter hospital visitation policy, again to protect our most vulnerable patients and our staff.

We’re in this together “We can’t do this alone,” said Schwebler. “Please be patient and support our efforts. We realize postponed elective surgeries are an inconvenience. We understand our new visitor restrictions are tough on both patients and family members.”

Schwebler also highly encourages the community to visit www.MyHPH.org or https://www.facebook.com/MyHighpointHealth/ to get the latest news about Highpoint Health’s COVID-19 response. For the most timely and accurate Indiana county by county COVID-19 information, visit Indiana State Department of Health, www.in.gov/isdh/. And of course, the CDC’s website, www.cdc.gov, is the federal government’s official outlet for information on this emerging, rapidly changing situation.

“There’s a lot of misinformation and gossip, particularly on social media, that does nothing but create needless worry and panic,” explained Schwebler. “If we’re to flatten the curve, all of us need to be armed with the facts about COVID-19. With the correct information, we can significantly lessen the impact this disease has on our community.”

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