Preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemic
HCA Healthcare is doing everything we can to equip our patient care teams to provide safe, effective care to the people we serve, unwavering in our dedication despite the unique challenges presented by COVID-19.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our goal has been to protect our frontline clinicians and caregivers so they are able to continue to care for our patients and communities. The pandemic has strained the worldwide supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, face shields, and gowns, a challenge that is not unique to HCA Healthcare or any other health system in the United States. While we are doing everything in our power to secure additional supplies, and we are following CDC protocols for using and conserving PPE, the worldwide shortage is a reality that we are addressing with realistic, workable solutions. The steps we have taken include:
- Enacted universal masking for all of our employees
- Appointing PPE Stewards in our hospitals to oversee priority deployment of PPE effective for COVID-19 where and when it is needed most
- Creating strategically located PPE distribution centers across our hospital campuses to quickly deliver equipment
- In addition to supplies, to ensure that our hospitals are prepared for an influx in patients, we have staffing contingency plans, which include the use of our in-house staffing agency and plans for emergency credentialing nurses and doctors who may not be part of our current workforce.
We also have taken steps to help protect the financial security of our front-line caregivers and their support colleagues, including a “pandemic pay continuation” policy even as other health care systems have announced layoffs. For colleagues with reduced hours, the company will seek to redeploy them to other opportunities so they can continue working. Those who cannot be redeployed will continue to receive 70 percent of base pay for up to seven weeks. For colleagues working in patient care facilities who are quarantined per CDC guidelines, we will pay 100 percent of base pay for scheduled hours regardless of where the exposure took place.
In addition, we are offering scrub laundering for colleagues who care for COVID-19 patients to help prevent potentially carrying the virus home on clothing. In addition, the company is working with major hotel chains to provide housing for caregivers who provide care to COVID-19 patients and prefer not to go home to their loved ones after their shift.
The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented. At a time when our nation needs us to pull together to support our nurses and physicians, some have chosen to attack the healthcare industry in general. This unparalleled crisis is not a time to spread misinformation and fear within healthcare organizations that are doing everything possible to protect caregivers and patients.