March 17, 2020

COVID-19 Update March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Update March 16, 2020

To the Bloom Healthcare community,

Bloom Healthcare intends on being your trusted source of information concerning the coronavirus. We will be circulating this publication weekly and/or as we receive new information from the CDC, AMDA, White House, CO Department of Public Health, international medical journals and other sources. Bloom understands that we are all supporting the same vulnerable population and we appreciate your dedication and a solid team approach. We encourage you to reach out to us at 303.993.1330 or directly to your Bloom provider should you have any questions or require clarification.

The Latest:

On Friday, March 13th, the state health department released an order restricting visitors at skilled nursing, assisted living, and intermediate care facilities. This order requires that:
Communities offer alternative communication methods for people who would otherwise visit residents.
Third-party visitors critical to resident care be allowed to continue their services, with screening restrictions. This includes volunteers, vendors receiving supplies, agency staff, EMS personnel and equipment, transportation providers, and other practitioners.
Communities document symptom screening for all individuals entering the building, and make the documentation available to the health department upon request.
The community keep visitation records so that if a community has a positive, or suspected positive case of COVID-19, it can prevent infection exposure to other residents.

Based on the latest guidance from the state and national health departments, Bloom encourages communities to:

  1. Restrict access from non-essential healthcare services. Evaluate which services entering the building are vital to resident health. Continue to allow access to essential services, including pharmacy, hospice, urgent care, and primary care. Consider restricting all other entry.
  2. Screen all entrants, including staff and healthcare personnel. Use resources such as surveys to identify entrants’ potential exposure, thermometers to test for fevers, and signed attestations requiring visitors to indicate they are symptom (cough, fever) free.
  3. Report coughs and fevers directly to Bloom. Bloom will assist in the coordination of testing.
  4. Use personal protective equipment wisely and responsibly. As the CDC has mentioned, supplies are limited, and this outbreak may continue for several months or more. Publicly, personal protective equipment will only be used when warranted.
  5. Re-assess send-out protocols. Each time a patient is sent out to the hospital, they are exposed to significant COVID-19 risk, along with the community upon their return. Anytime you’re uncertain whether a patient needs emergency care, call Bloom.
  6. Isolate patients transferred back from the hospital. A safe assumption at this point is that anyone entering the ED is exposed to the virus. Quarantine those returning from the hospital.
  7. Exercise caution on new move-ins. Conduct extensive screening on potential new residents; if themselves or their loved ones have traveled recently or show symptoms, quarantine them for 7 days before moving them in, and isolate them for 7 days after moving in.
  8. Enroll patients in Chronic Care Management (CCM). Bloom has deployed a remote, dedicated urgent care team to triage, supplementing our face to face visits. Your Bloom practice ambassador will provide you a list of patients that need to be enrolled.
  9. Protect yourself and your staff. The best way we all can continue caring for residents is to keep ourselves as healthy as possible. Don’t have your staff provide tests – performing these tests significantly increases people’s risk of contracting the virus themselves. Call Bloom so we can coordinate with public health officials.

What Steps is Bloom Taking?

  1. Modified schedules have been implemented. Fewer providers are coming to each community, and all our providers are practicing in fewer communities. Our providers are spend less time face to face with residents and staff. Each of these steps will reduce the potential for exposure and cross contamination.
  2. Deployed remote urgent care. Our dedicated team of COVID-19 specialists are triaging all suspected cases remotely to avoid exposing our providers or transmitting the virus. This remote care serves as a supplement to the face to face care that’s still needed by our vulnerable patients.
  3. Taking infection control measures. Our providers are seeing patients with non-respiratory symptoms first, leaving respiratory cases last, and using remote triage and treatment where appropriate.
  4. Using extra sterilization for our equipment. All of our providers are taking extra precautions to keep their equipment clean and reduce potential transmission.
  5. Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be worn when warranted. Masks, scrubs, gowns, and other PPE is carried on our providers. It is prudent to use PPE responsibly and wisely, as the virus will likely be in our community for several months and supplies are limited.

We appreciate your partnership and continued diligence.

Thomas Lally, MD