May 15, 2020 Marty’s Minutes
We celebrate Hospital Week with a very different tone this year, as we are fully engaged in the COVID-19 public health emergency. Our organizations and all of you have been on the front line dealing with the pandemic. Our entire leadership team cannot thank you enough for all of the amazing work that has gone on over the past three months. You have been able to make rapid adjustments to a continually changing environment. I have received numerous community comments about the great job you are all doing. It was also echoed during the Cayuga Health System Board of Director’s ZOOM meeting last week. We will continue to meet this threat in the months ahead. It is a comfort knowing all of you are there for the communities we serve.
Related to our COVID-19 response, I want to thank everyone that has gone through the employee testing so far. We rolled this out quickly this past week and we have already had hundreds of employees tested so far. It is reassuring to our employees, patients, and visitors that we are committing to this. Earlier this week, I sent out a communication to employees on email with instructions about how to register for the testing. It is posted on the CMC intranet for your reference. Thank you!
During times of change, it can be challenging to make sure we are focusing on some of our important initiatives because of competing priorities. We are continuing our work focusing on Planetree and person centered care. This week, we received our April Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores and we achieved a 75.8%, one of the highest percent of 5’s we have ever achieved. I want to thank everyone for keeping our patients and their families at the center of everything we do. Great job!
Finally, we are completing our second week of resuming elective surgery. The volume continues to increase, which is crucial to improving our finances. I want to personally thank our surgical services team for doing a great job getting this moving again. Surgery touches so many clinical and support departments. This is a great example of how important team work is.
May 1, 2020 Marty’s Minutes
We received some great news this week that will add a significant capability to the CMC laboratory in the fight against COVID- 19. Working with an Ithaca company, Rheonix, our lab will now be able to provide same day test results of samples gathered at our mass sampling site and community locations. Approval for the testing equipment came Wednesday night from the Food and Drug Administration. Cayuga Medical Center is the first hospital in New York State to use this new technology. I would like to recognize our team that put in many hours over the past 7 weeks to move this crucial project forward. Also, I would like to thank Rheonix and its owner Greg Galvin for selecting CMC as its first location. COVID-19 testing remains a key element to safely open communities around the United States. This is a major step forward for our region.
During these unprecedented times, it is important that we all take time to recognize one another for the great work we see every day. Next week, we will be rolling out a new display wall near the Express Café off the main lobby, and also at the off-sites. This wall will be an opportunity for everyone to fill out a heart to recognize members of our team. This will also kick off two weeks of recognizing our employees during Nurses’ Week and Hospitals’ Week. There will also be another recognition we are doing for the team that traveled to New York City to fight COVID-19. A giant card will be available for employees to sign in the main lobby next week to let our team know how much we appreciate their work on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle.
On Wednesday we had a brief power outage that impacted many departments. It was a power issue that NYSEG resolved. I want to compliment everyone for keeping things calm for our patients as we dealt with the issue. I would also like to thank our facilities team for working quickly to resolve the outage. Thank you!
Finally, we will be resuming elective outpatient surgery next week. I would like to thank our team in surgical services and the many departments that support the OR for your preparation work that allows us to return some normalcy to the organization.
April 24, 2020 Marty’s Minutes
It is hard to believe it has been six weeks since the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Tompkins County. As I mentioned in my last message, Governor Cuomo’s announcement about resuming elective outpatient surgery is good news for Cayuga Health. Our surgical services team has been busy planning a phased-in approach to resuming surgery, which will occur over the next 2-3 weeks. This will also allow us to begin a gradual process for the the return of some of our furloughed employees. The return of employees will be based on increasing patient volume. I would like to thank our surgical services team for leading our efforts!
Testing remains front and center in the fight against COVID-19 and reopening our region. On Friday, we responded within 45 minutes to a request for Bridges Cornell Heights to test its residents and staff. This week, our mobile sampling team set up at Schuyler Hospital’s Seneca View Nursing Home to test all residents and employees. Thank you team!
Our ability to set up a COVID-19 mobile team and mass sampling site is possible because of the extensive laboratory services we have at Cayuga Health System. This week we celebrate Laboratory Professionals Week during a national pandemic that is dependent upon scores of laboratory professionals that have been crucial to understanding the spread of the Coronavirus. Please join me in recognizing this amazing team we have at Cayuga Health!
Finally, New York Presbyterian Hospital reached out to us this week to let us know they will be running this local thank you advertisement. They want everyone in our region to know how appreciative they are for the support of Cayuga Health System. We are in daily contact with our CHS team, who continue to perform a vital role at the epicenter of this fight. We have made several trips down to replenish their supplies.
April 21, 2020 Marty’s Minutes
Words cannot fully express the tremendous pride I felt seeing our Cayuga Health System heroes depart for New York City earlier this month. Our sendoff was emotional, inspiring, and above all supportive of the amazing team being deployed to New York City. I have traveled with several members of the senior leadership team to visit them in NYC to deliver supplies and to check in with them. They are all doing very well and making a positive impact.
As everyone is aware, COVID-19 has negatively impacted the financial operations of hospitals throughout the United States. Cayuga Health has seen our volumes decline by more than half. To help address this short term challenge, a number of employees have participated in a voluntary furlough program. We are introducing another aspect of the voluntary furlough program, an alternative week furlough that will allow employees to work one week on and furloughed the following week so they would work two out of the four weeks in a given month. More is being communicated about this new program. I want to emphasize that employees that are participating in the furlough are still employees of Cayuga Health and a return to work will occur when volumes return to their normal levels, which we hope will be very soon. When that does occur, likely in the weeks ahead, we need our workforce to fully operate our hospitals and physician practices. I want to thank all of our employees for helping out during this period. In addition, I would like to thank our physicians who have also stepped up with ideas and actions to help with expense reductions. If you have any questions, please reach out to Human Resources.
On a positive note, earlier today Governor Cuomo announced his intentions and guidance for areas of the state to resume elective surgeries if they are not afflicted by a COVID outbreak. Thanks to our strong work and community support, Tompkins and Schuyler Counties certainly qualify as NOT being greatly afflicted at present, and we will promptly implement a plan for restarting surgeries in a manner that is prudent and safe. It is important to note that our ongoing success depends on vigilance as a hospital and a community. To the later point, Cayuga Health System is presenting plans to Tompkins County Officials about how we can play a central role in conducting COVID surveillance in our community. Our goal is to prevent an increase in COVID incidence. Where there are new cases, we must rapidly respond and implement isolation procedures, while constantly monitoring our capability to respond to a need for greater hospital and healthcare resources. Much more will follow about this.
The COVID-19 pandemic response is a historic point in time that will transcend generations to come. At times like these, it also brings out the very best in who we are as health care professionals. Thank you does not fully express how I feel about each and everyone one of you. You represent the very best in health care and how much we care about our community.
April 10, 2020 Message from the CEO
It is with deep regret that I announce the passing of a patient at Cayuga Medical Center due to COVID-19. As everyone is aware, our team has trained extensively for treating patients with the virus. I am very proud of our continuous effort and level of preparedness and response. Last week, N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that upstate hospitals would be receiving patients from New York City. Earlier this week, we received a compassionate transfer of two patients from New York City. Unfortunately, one of those patients passed away this morning. Our hearts go out to the patient’s family during this difficult time. In addition, our hearts also go out to the Cayuga Medical Center caregivers that took exceptional care of this patient. I would also like to recognize the dedication of our entire Cayuga Health team that continue to treat COVID-19 patients locally and in New York City. You remain well prepared and committed to your calling and commitment of treating all patients, no matter what the diagnosis.
This news will be generating media coverage. Please refer any media calls to John Turner, VP of Public Relations.
April 3, 2020 Marty’s Minutes
Since the news broke about the first case of COVID-19 in Tompkins County four weeks ago, our entire team immediately shifted into planning, responding, and adapting to continuous changes as part of our response plan. I want to underscore how proud I am of our entire team that has worked tirelessly to respond to this public health emergency.
On Friday, we announced that effective 4/3/20 at 7 p.m. all providers, staff, outpatients, and visitors must be wearing a procedural mask at all times in public and clinical areas, unless they are utilizing a surgical mask, N95, or PAPR. This will help make the hospital environment safer for everyone.
I want to recap a few of the highlights from the week that demonstrate the great work everyone is doing throughout the system.
- PPE Supplies- Thanks to a number of efforts, our supplies of masks, hand sanitizer, etc. have improved over the past two weeks. The production of masks at Cornell has reached over 2,000 per day. Schuyler Hospital has also brought up another sewing site in Montour Falls this week. Thank you to the teams that have moved this forward.
- COVID-19 Screening & Test Results- Our Mass Sampling Center at the Mall is going very well, as we screen more patients from around the region. We are working with neighboring counties so their residents are able to access the screening in Tompkins County.
- Employee Health & Wellness- Taking care of our employees is essential during the response to COVID-19. This week, thanks to our Employee Wellness Committee, we launched a new Employee web portal that can be accessed anywhere. The site is filled with great content from stress management to information about child care resources and hotels. You can access it with this link: https://www.cayugamed.org/coping-with-covid
- We are very pleased with the overwhelming response we have had from our community that has stepped forward to donate a lot of needed items. The Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital Foundations have taken the lead to organize this. We have a website that is up https://cayugahealthsystem.org/how-to-help/. The site informs the community about what items we need, recognizes organizations/individuals for their actions, and provides a point of contact on how people can helps us.