(TAMPA, FL – March 2020) – HCA Healthcare – West Florida Division hospitals regularly identify and treat patients with infectious disease, whether seasonal flu, hepatitis, or tuberculosis. With the onset of coronavirus in West Florida, we are taking extraordinary measures to protect our patients, caregivers, and our communities.
“It’s in our local communities that our teams come to work every day providing compassionate care, making a difference in the lives of those we are privileged to serve, especially when they may be at their weakest,” said Ravi Chari, MD, President, HCA Healthcare – West Florida Division. “Coronavirus however is not an everyday event, and the public concern it’s raising is an important one for us to address.”
Actions taken by our hospitals to fight the spread of the coronavirus include:
· screening visitors for illness upon entry. Additionally, we are screening patients and visitors upon entry to determine if they meet certain risk factors for coronavirus including travel to endemic areas, if they’ve had close contact with a person who has or had coronavirus, or if they present with a fever and cough or lower respiratory symptoms.
· ensuring sufficient supplies of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, protective gowns, and eye protection.
· safeguarding our caregivers including physicians, nurses, and technicians to patient transporters and members of our environmental services and food and nutrition staffs by providing additional infection prevention training so we can care for our communities without putting our caregivers at risk.
· reinforcing rigorous infection prevention protocols for environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures, prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so they are followed consistently and correctly
“The objective for everyone working in our hospitals, emergency rooms, and other facilities is clear: prevent any avoidable harm for our patients and our caregivers,” said Larry Feinman, DO, Chief Medical Officer, HCA Healthcare – West Florida Division. “Our caregivers are rising to the occasion because they understand that now, more than ever, their own actions demonstrate the care they have for the safety of others.”
When it comes to that care, one of the most important of all measures is one of the most basic: hand hygiene. And it’s handwashing that helps prevent infections. As we look to the future of infection prevention, HCA Healthcare – West Florida Division hospitals are instituting a new system, already deployed in four of the division’s 15 hospitals, to prompt caregivers to wash their hands before and after every patient interaction. The system monitors the caregiver, holding each one accountable, just as we ask each caregiver to do with each other in an effort to fight off infections. Caregivers wear “smart badges” tracked by a “real time location system” that monitor when a caregiver does and does not wash before and after inpatient interactions.