City of Plantation Podcast

Episode 21 - Roundtable discussion with our Hospital CEO's

July 25, 2020 City of Plantation Episode 21
City of Plantation Podcast
Episode 21 - Roundtable discussion with our Hospital CEO's
Show Notes Transcript

Thank you for listening to the City of Plantation's Podcast. In this episode, Cary and I have the pleasure of speaking to Barbara Simmons and Madeline Nava from Westside Regional Hospital and Plantation General Hospital, respectively. Barbara and Madeline answer our questions related to Hospital capabilities, special operations, staffing, and a host of other topics. This Podcast is aimed at keeping the residents of Plantation informed of events and important information happening throughout our city. Please subscribe to this podcast, as we will be producing new episodes weekly.

Guests: Barbara Simmons / Madeline Nava
Hosts: Cary Blanchard and Ezra Lubow
Music: Oakwood Station
Graphics: City of Plantation

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the city of plantations podcast. I am Carrie Blanchard, battalion chief of public affairs for the plantation fire department. Thank you for tuning in our podcast is designed to keep you up to date on all the latest happenings and activities in about and around the city of plantation. On our episodes. We talk directly with the leaders decision makers and the movers and shakers who make plantation the great city that it is welcome to occurred episode of the city of plantation podcast with the recent surge in positive cases and hospitalizations, we will be discussing the status of our hospitals, Israel, and I have the pleasure of having Madeline Nava, CEO of plantation general hospital and Barbara Simmons, CEO of Westside regional hospital. Join us. Thank you for joining us today. We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share our experience with the community. Thank you very much. Okay, ladies, we know the surgeon cases is concerning to everyone, but the hospitals are severely impacted. Madeline, can you please discuss with us how plantation general hospital is responding to surgeon numbers and the hospitalizations? Absolutely. I think , uh , you know, one of the things that's very fortunate is that we're able to utilize the full capabilities of HTAs resources. And since we've seen those surge , uh , checkup , we basically have been responding appropriately. So one of the good things is that that allows us to have access to supplies that we need, including personal protective equipment ventilators, as well as staffing resources. One of the other things that we've done is we've worked very closely with our EMS partners, our ed physicians, as well as our attending physicians to basically ensure that we admit our patients, both COVID and non COVID and that we're caring for them appropriately. Okay. Thank you, Barbara . What about Westside regional hospital? So West side has been very busy, as you can imagine, with the second surge of COVID. Um, we actually have opened additional ICU. Um, that's one of the one things I wanted to stress to the community. Um, you see on news reports that both of our facilities don't have any ICU beds, and that is not true. We have a licensed number of ICU beds, but we never turn anybody away. Everybody that needs an ICU bed has one. We're able to expand into other areas of the hospital and create additional ICU beds. For instance, at West side, I have opened a fourth ICU , um, and we've been able to staff that , uh , we've gotten additional resources from the state, from our community. We have adequate ventilators, we have all the equipment and supplies we need. So I don't want the community to feel like if they come to either of our facilities, we don't have the resources to take care of them. We absolutely do .

Speaker 2:

And that , that's a very good point bar because I think that there are mixed messaging out there, right? The media is giving kind of mixed messages. And sometimes we hear that we're in great shape with the hospitals. Other times we hear that the hospitals are really struggling, but at the end of the day, I think maybe those two messages can coexist. Right. Maybe there's a struggle because we're trying to meet demand , but we're meeting that demand. Right. So I think those two points get conflated. We would, you would, both of you think that's accurate? Yeah ,

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And just mirror what Barb said for plantation. We've also opened up a third ICU and I think we learned when we saw the first hit of the pandemic in February and March and we prepared appropriately. So when we saw this research, we knew exactly what we needed to do to accommodate our ICU patients, as well as our patients that don't require critical care, but may need telemetry or other needs. So I know for plantation, we have a separate floor to treat our COVID patients, and then we treat our non COVID patients and the rest of the facility plantation also treats women's and children's so we've set up so that we can accommodate our pregnant moms as well as our newborn babies in separate areas of the hospital. Absolutely. Yeah , we've done an additional , uh, are very similar actually at West side. Um, as I said, we opened a fourth ICU, but we also have separate floors for COVID positive patients and then an additional floor for patients that were undergoing testing. So as not to mix them with the already known positive patients and then all the other patients are segregated into different other areas of the hospital. So we're very careful to ensure that patients that are not COVID positive or there's a concern with COVID, that they are segregated from the rest of the population and make sure that we take great care of them. The other thing is both of us are lucky enough to be part of HCA hospital corporation of America. So we do have a lot of resources available. Um, for instance, when we get a ventilator capacity, you push a button and more ventilators show up on your loading dock. Uh, we've been able to obtain additional ICU nurses through resources throughout HCA and throughout the country. And we have not run out of PPE at all. Um, everybody knows what PPE is, the gallons, the mass , the gloves, all that great stuff. So we do have the good fortune in this community to ensure that we have all the resources we need to take care of. The patients ERs are open. Um, there's no, the ears are not closed at all. They're open, we're here to take care of all the patients. I know there could be a fear of coming to the ER and COVID, we have separate processes again with our EMS partners. If they call ahead, there's a secret code , um , that they call ahead. So we know it's a potential COVID patient, so there's a whole separate process to receive those patients. So I feel like we've, we've got our processes, we've got our procedures and we've got all the equipment that we need to take care of the committee .

Speaker 2:

Right. And that's excellent. I want to circle back to something that, that you mentioned Madeline, and I think a lot of people out in the community hear ICU, and now they associate ICU with COVID, but we're still dealing with patients who don't have COVID and require ICU admission. Right. So it's not just COVID patients, it's , um, patients who require ICU treatment for other conditions. That that's absolutely

Speaker 1:

Correct. And so we do have a separate ICU for those patients that are not COVID patients and then segregate our COVID patients and a different area of the hospital and actually on a different,

Speaker 2:

Right. Right. And then the other comment that you, or the other thing that you had said, Barb was , um, you had talked about PPE and equipment and , um , and a secret code. So I wanted to demystify the secret code, but so that our listeners understand , um, from the beginning of the nine one, one call to , uh, the doors of the hospital, their status is individuals over the radio, over communications, over telemetry between the EMS units in the hospital is guarded. So we utilize a coding that indicates that an individual might be a COVID positive, and that gives the hospital the ability to prepare and the receiving staff, the ability to prepare, and everybody has their appropriate PPE. And so, and so be critical of us now, how have we been doing,

Speaker 1:

It's been working really, really well. And again , uh , unfortunately since we started this in late February, early March, the good thing is it's given us time, right. To work together and to make sure that we have those processes in place so that we want to protect our staff as well, make sure that they're in the appropriate PPE when that person does present, whether it be a person who potentially has the virus or somebody that is a known positive for the virus. So I think that it's been working really well and the partnership.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. Uh, you know, our EMS system has a long working history with both hospitals. And I can't remember a time when that wasn't an excellent partnership and a great relationship. Uh , the ERs, the staff, the administration, everybody at the hospital, we've just established almost a , a family like unit to approach any challenge that we get. And it's really kind of that relationship has really kind of flowered , uh, since his COVID and we've realized just how close we work together.

Speaker 1:

No, it's been a great relationship. I mean, I have your cell phone, you have my cell phone , um , we're able to dialogue at any time about any issues or concerns. Um, and , and you're right to demystify the secret code. Cause at the end of the day, it's all about everybody being safe, the EMS unit being safe, the nurses, physicians being safe and the patient being safe too. So it really has been very helpful to have that code. Um, so it alerts the ER staff, they have time to get in their PPE and make sure that they receive the patient in a safe quality manner. Right? Yeah. I think that something that a lot of plantation residents might want to know is, and I know we've already touched on a lot of this stuff, but I just kind of want to reiterate and re emphasize to people about our hospitals and their capabilities. And I know we talked about PP, but what about personnel? Like not just the frontline , the emergency, but all your personnel in the hospital. How is that going with them? Like what's going on with that? I'm sure. Um , we've actually been able to , um, get support through the state and through HCA both. So we actually, yesterday had nine ICU nurses in orientation that came to us from other , um, state agencies. Um, we've been able to double up our ICU physician compliment. We normally have , um , one physician we've added a second and then we've also put a , a certified registered nurse anesthetists in the ICU. So we actually have triple coverage most of the time in the ICU to make sure we have adequate coverage for our patients. Um, ER , um, we've added additional hours to both our ER physicians and our , um, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Um, we've increased staffing in the ER for nursing. So we've done a lot to reinforce and ensure that we have adequate staff coverage. Cause as , as we said, it's not just all about COVID, you know, there's people still, unfortunately, you know, we're , we're still seeing strokes, we're still seeing heart attacks and we need to make sure that we're taking care of those patients as best we can as perfect Medlin . Sure. I think, you know , one thing I'd like to just emphasize is that all of our staff and I'm sure Barbara echoes those sentiments have really stepped up during this pandemic and really have truly gone above and beyond one of the things that we've both done to maximize our capacity and make sure that we can care for these patients that are presenting is to postpone our elective surgeries. And what that does is free up capacity in terms of actual physical space, but also our personnel. So I have pediatric nurses or nurses redeploying to help to care for these patients that are presenting as well as what Barb had said in terms of additional staffing resources, because we are part of HCA. It really allows us that opportunity to access additional staff from the rest of the country that may not be seeing the surge that we're seeing now. So we have nurses redeployed that have come to plantation to help us to care for our

Speaker 2:

Right. And I , I want to clarify something for our listeners because I think all of us at this table understand what it means, but can you can , uh , either one of you define that, what does the surge mean ? I mean, what does that exactly mean in layman's terms basically when we talk about a surge, wow .

Speaker 1:

When you see an increased amount of patients that are presenting that may require admission, whether that be an ICU admission or an admission to our telemetry unit and having the ability again and advance to open up additional capacity, whether that be an overflow ICU unit or additional areas of the hospital, that's what a surge really is. Now sometimes, you know, we'll see an initial surge, it may last for 12 hours and then we're able to, as we discharge patients, we are able to then, you know, have those patients , uh , placed into an appropriate unit, but sometimes it may last a little bit longer. And that's when we go into what is that next stage, our plan to be able to open up those overflows .

Speaker 2:

So the distinguishing, the distinguishment between basically normal operations in a surge has to do with admissions, not if we have a very busy day and there's a lot of individuals going through the ER and then being released. It's the actual admission .

Speaker 1:

You do that all the time. We have a very busy ERs does West side I'm sure. Um , and we're able to handle that. We basically, accordingly we look at what we have. We met, you know , we flex up our staffing to be able to take care of those patients. That's something that we just do as being part of the healthcare system and caring for all the patients.

Speaker 2:

Right. Excellent.

Speaker 1:

So one thing that you can tell the residents of plantation, or just anybody in general about this plant pandemic and the surgeon cases, what would it be? Or so what I would tell the community is , um, most important thing where your mask wash your hands, where your mask, social distance, where your mask , and if you do have a medical emergency, please don't hesitate. Um, cause we're finding that people are waiting, they are fearful of coming to the hospital and then their stroke might be two days old instead of two hours old or their heart attack might be something that we could have prevented heart muscle damage. So the most important message besides wearing your mask is seek care if you need it.

Speaker 2:

So, so Barbara just, I'm sorry, Carrie , just so I understand it's important to wear your mask, that the messaging, just this vacant chair ,

Speaker 1:

I know that you had mentioned those, you know, the strokes and things like that, but also people that are suffering with COVID symptoms. If you wait too long, correct, it just makes things worse. Absolutely. The sooner you access care, the scent , when you're symptomatic, the sooner you access care, the better we can provide for care. You know, there's a lot of , um, now in the news about rim , desert vere , um, about steroids, the sooner you access those meds, the better the outcome will be. And you know, we do have, I know there's a lot in the news about rim desert here . We do have REM Dez severe. Is there a shortage? Yes, but we've been able to access it. Um, we haven't had any, any difficulty getting it. So we've been able to provide it for our patients. We do have , uh , adequate supply of steroids. So the earlier you access that, the less chance that you may end up on a ventilator and that you'd have a better outcome, right? Madeline one takeaway . Well , many of our patients that present to , I just wanted to add to what Barb said is, you know, they'll come into the ER symptomatic, they get treated, they get seen by a qualified physician and then they're discharged home to quarantine and basically , uh , make sure that, you know, they're , they're safe at home. Um, so that's one thing that we say it's not every patient that comes in that gets admitted and ends up in an ICU. So I think that that's one important thing. And one takeaway. The other thing I would say is, again, as we talked about, you know, we're well equipped to handle the pandemic. We've done this, we saw it in March, it's dissipated, it's back. Um, we, to Barb's point masking is so important and we have actually gone above the CDC guidelines. I think being part again of such a great healthcare system, we get all the best practices. So when you look at how our patients and our , uh, community comes to the hospital, we want to keep them safe, make sure we have social distance thing. Our chairs are organized appropriately in different waiting rooms to make sure that visitors are safe. And so, you know, again, the goal was to keep all of our colleagues safe, but we want to be able to serve the community and make sure that they are accessing much needed healthcare services, whether that's COVID related or not.

Speaker 2:

Oh , I love hearing that want to hit on one thing because we get caught , we actually get calls and we're not the appropriate authority to answer them, but people call and they say, you know, my, my loved one or my family member or a friend of mine was admitted into the hospital and they won't let me visit them. And can Kim, both of you talk to you because there's a practical necessity to that. And , uh, and we understand that in the healthcare field, but I think sometimes a resident, they don't really understand the purpose behind that. Can you guys talk to that?

Speaker 1:

Sure. And it really is to protect them and it has been very difficult, but one of the things that we've done is extensive training with both our nursing team, our caregivers and our physicians, to make sure that we are communicating with the families. We understand the difficulty. We see it on the news when you have some of the patients and their loved ones, talk about how they can't come in to see them and how heart wrenching it is. But you know, one of the fortunate things about, you know, social media and technology today in 2020 is we have FaceTime, right? And we have actually gone , um , uh , to the point of where we've distributed iPads on all of our patient care units. And the nurses have the ability to use those iPads to talk to the families as well as our physicians. And that's for the patients that are isolated and we have to keep them safe. Um, but we also want to keep their family members safe and their loved ones, but at the same time, let them know how their , how their patients , um, you know, their loved ones are doing, we've done the same thing with the iPads and the other piece of it that has come out to the importance of communication with family members. But we've also been able to, some of our patients provide spiritual guidance , um , because we've been able to FaceTime with some clergy , um, that have been able to pray with patients. Um, so it's really the , as Madeline said with technology today, with the iPhones and the iPads, we've really been able to help connect the patients with the community, with their family, with their , um, spiritual advisors . Um, and as Madeline said, at the end of the day, the no visitor rule is really to keep everybody safe, keep the patient safe, keep staff safe and keep the visitors safe. The only difference, or the only reason that a patient would be able to have a visitors. So we do have, you know, somebody has a critical situation. Maybe there's a discussion about end of life or hospice then absolutely. We allow somebody to come visit there. The other thing , um , surgery didn't stop. We've eliminated all the elective surgery, but you know, some patients still might need a bypass. Um, so we do allow one family member to come and at least see the patient preoperatively. Um, they can sit and wait and then see them, you know, in the recovery room to make sure they're safe and then they'll have to leave the building. But there are certain reasons why we do allow one visitor , um , in the facility to see patients or have conversations with physicians.

Speaker 2:

And I think that's truly amazing. I mean, if there's any, if there's nothing more indicative of how hard your two hospitals work to address the concerns of family members in their community, I mean, going out and getting that, that's a great idea. It's just thinking outside of the box to provide your patients with safety and security from, you know, exposing them to this virus, but at the same time, giving them an Avenue to communicate with their loved ones and their families. That's, that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

As well as the physicians and the nurses so that they could hear about their care and how they're progressing. I think that that's really important too, because you always want that information to see how your loved one is doing on a daily basis.

Speaker 2:

Right. That's excellent. Well, Barb , Madeline, unless we missed anything and there's, and there's any other message that you want to put out? I think that's, that's all the questions we had .

Speaker 1:

Great. So we mentioned wear a mask so important. So we're not enough. The other piece is stay home too. Um, because I don't know, there's been a lot of media about a patient at West side. It's been in the newspaper, CNN. There's just been a lot of media. And he, the patient, unfortunately, his son went to a party, came home and now the good news is he's , um , off of ventilator now, but the father was on a ventilator for two weeks. Um, and so really it's important to stay home.

Speaker 2:

And I want to highlight that because that has been our message, Carrie and I , I've done a couple podcasts about coven and we've talked to you , a city officials, the police chief, the fire , you know, we've talked to everybody and, you know, I understand people are starting to get cabin fever and they're starting to kind of really feel the pressure of being at home. But it is very, very important that we reduce the spread of this virus, right? So, you know, no one's looking to hamper your plans, but at this point in the virus going to a party or a large congregation of people, not protected, not social distancing, it's almost like we can predict the outcome of that event. And that's going to be more people in the hospital, more people on vents, more people sick. So that truly does need to be a unified message from every municipality in every hospital. We don't want you to imprison yourself in your home, but think about the events and think about what you're doing when you're outside of your home. Right. Exactly. Right. Well, thank you both very much. I know you're both very busy. We appreciate your time. We appreciate you coming in and speaking to us and , uh, you know, maybe down the road, we can get you both back in and have a little status update. Excellent. Okay .

Speaker 1:

That'd be great. Well , thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to , to participate in , reach out to the community. Thank you . I just wanted to say, just wanted to mention once again, to the healthcare workers, to your nurses, to your physicians, to everybody that's on the front line of their thing. Thank you. Thank them. It's amazing. What's happened, you know, like who's important out or what is important now. So thank you. It is. It is. Thank you for saying that the community, if I can have one second, the community has been awesome. We calculated that the community donated well over 5,000 meals to our staff. So it was great. Um, jet blue , I think we got a million jet blue mini chocolate chip cookies. Uh , I think they might all be gone now. Um, uh, floral promotions sent us , um , getting to see 500 roses. So that one night as the staff was leaving, we were able to give everybody a Rose and we put a big sign up, take a moment to stop and smell the roses. You know, people have donated ice cream. It's just been great. The community support for the staff has really just been remarkable. So back to your point about is a longstanding relationship in the community with the hospitals, with EMS and the community members as well.

Speaker 2:

We're going to have to step up our game, Carrie [inaudible] . We did,

Speaker 1:

He gave us a parade. It was awesome. He's great. The staff truly appreciate everything you do as well. So thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. We've got to hold each other up right now. I mean, we , we accomplish more as a team and , uh, and we've always had that team spirit. So, you know, now is the time that , that we all just have to step up and, and do that

Speaker 1:

Great thing about plantation. Everybody supports each other, no matter what, COVID explosions, whatever it is, we support each other and we're all here for each other. And that's, that's what it , that's what makes a community.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Well, thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

You've been listening to the city of plantation podcast. We strive to bring you accurate and timely information. Please continue to tune in to our podcast episodes and also catch up with us on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and next door. If you have questions, send them to ask [email protected], and we will answer your questions directly. Thank you for taking the time to listen to our podcast and stay safe, everyone.