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A Message to our Community from Brian Ivie, President and CEO

Jan 13, 2022, 18:49 PM
Due to extremely high patient volumes, coupled with staffing shortages due we are using Crisis and Contingency Staffing strategies to ensure patients in need of care can receive care.

I wanted to take an opportunity to update our community on what we are experiencing in healthcare right now. I realize those who are only hearing stories in the media have a general idea of what is happening in hospitals and clinics across the country, but our team members and patients seeking care are seeing the situation first-hand. Our hospitals - regionally, nationally and in our local communities – are experiencing the highest patient volumes since the beginning of the pandemic. Omicron is highly transmissible and the numbers are staggering - not just the case counts, but hospitalization rates as well.

On January 12 we hit a difficult milestone with 40 COVID-19 patients at Skagit Valley Hospital and 10 at Cascade Valley Hospital. This is at a time when both hospitals are operating at capacity. Rates of staff members testing positive continues to rise creating an unsustainable scenario. Decisions have not been taken lightly, but we have had to make additional changes recently to ensure Skagit Regional Health remains accessible to our communities to provide care for those who need it.

Due to extremely high patient volumes, particularly at our acute care hospitals, emergency departments and urgent care clinics, coupled with staffing shortages due to COVID-19, Skagit Regional Health is using Crisis and Contingency Staffing strategies to ensure patients in need of care can receive care.

You might wonder what this means to you, our communities. During this time of Crisis and Contingency Staffing, providers and staff will likely be caring for more patients at a time than is typical, causing longer wait times. Some services have been temporarily paused or consolidated to allow team members to support the most emergent needs.

We are taking additional steps based on Washington State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance for hospitals in Crisis Capacity Staffing. This includes allowing asymptomatic or mildly-symptomatic staff members exposed to COVID-19 or previously infected to voluntarily return to work sooner than normal with the use of additional precautions. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements have been strengthened to ensure the safety of our patients and staff members. This is a change that we are seeing in several hospitals across the state to help respond to staffing challenges we are all facing.  This helps to allow hospital beds and emergency departments to remain staffed and open to those who need care, not only for COVID-19, but also for heart attacks, strokes, accidents and other acute care needs.

Please know, patient safety remains our highest priority which is why we are doing the following:

  • Actively working to maximize staff vaccination and boosters
  • Ensuring all staff wear N95 masks and other appropriate PPE in patient care areas
  • Providing on-site testing of health care workers who have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Requiring all visitors wear SRH-provided surgical masks at point of entry
  • Altering visitor policy based on changing conditions

This is an extremely challenging time for all of us. Please continue to help us in the fight against COVID-19. Get vaccinated and boosted, continue to wash your hands, wear a mask and avoid large gatherings. Thank you for your patience, understanding and support during this unprecedented time. We will get through this together.

Thank you,
Brian K. Ivie
President and CEO

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Last post : 01/14/2022

A Message to our Community from Brian Ivie, President and CEO

Jan 13, 2022, 18:49 PM
Due to extremely high patient volumes, coupled with staffing shortages due we are using Crisis and Contingency Staffing strategies to ensure patients in need of care can receive care.

I wanted to take an opportunity to update our community on what we are experiencing in healthcare right now. I realize those who are only hearing stories in the media have a general idea of what is happening in hospitals and clinics across the country, but our team members and patients seeking care are seeing the situation first-hand. Our hospitals - regionally, nationally and in our local communities – are experiencing the highest patient volumes since the beginning of the pandemic. Omicron is highly transmissible and the numbers are staggering - not just the case counts, but hospitalization rates as well.

On January 12 we hit a difficult milestone with 40 COVID-19 patients at Skagit Valley Hospital and 10 at Cascade Valley Hospital. This is at a time when both hospitals are operating at capacity. Rates of staff members testing positive continues to rise creating an unsustainable scenario. Decisions have not been taken lightly, but we have had to make additional changes recently to ensure Skagit Regional Health remains accessible to our communities to provide care for those who need it.

Due to extremely high patient volumes, particularly at our acute care hospitals, emergency departments and urgent care clinics, coupled with staffing shortages due to COVID-19, Skagit Regional Health is using Crisis and Contingency Staffing strategies to ensure patients in need of care can receive care.

You might wonder what this means to you, our communities. During this time of Crisis and Contingency Staffing, providers and staff will likely be caring for more patients at a time than is typical, causing longer wait times. Some services have been temporarily paused or consolidated to allow team members to support the most emergent needs.

We are taking additional steps based on Washington State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance for hospitals in Crisis Capacity Staffing. This includes allowing asymptomatic or mildly-symptomatic staff members exposed to COVID-19 or previously infected to voluntarily return to work sooner than normal with the use of additional precautions. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements have been strengthened to ensure the safety of our patients and staff members. This is a change that we are seeing in several hospitals across the state to help respond to staffing challenges we are all facing.  This helps to allow hospital beds and emergency departments to remain staffed and open to those who need care, not only for COVID-19, but also for heart attacks, strokes, accidents and other acute care needs.

Please know, patient safety remains our highest priority which is why we are doing the following:

  • Actively working to maximize staff vaccination and boosters
  • Ensuring all staff wear N95 masks and other appropriate PPE in patient care areas
  • Providing on-site testing of health care workers who have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Requiring all visitors wear SRH-provided surgical masks at point of entry
  • Altering visitor policy based on changing conditions

This is an extremely challenging time for all of us. Please continue to help us in the fight against COVID-19. Get vaccinated and boosted, continue to wash your hands, wear a mask and avoid large gatherings. Thank you for your patience, understanding and support during this unprecedented time. We will get through this together.

Thank you,
Brian K. Ivie
President and CEO