Throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Bayhealth has been providing essential care and services to the communities of central and southern Delaware. It has been following CDC guidelines, closely monitoring new findings, adopting clinical protocols in every discipline of care, and collaborating with the Governor’s office, the Division of Public Health and other healthcare providers. With Phase 1 of Delaware’s reopening plan starting on June 1, Bayhealth recently began creating its own plan for returning to pre-COVID-19 operations. This includes rescheduling some elective surgeries, procedures, therapies, and diagnostic tests that had to be postponed.
“Bayhealth is committed to re-opening to normal operations in a measured way that protects our patients and staff. We will continue to follow national and state guidelines, that include mitigation efforts, as we continue to recover,” said Bayhealth President and CEO Terry M. Murphy, FACHE.
Bayhealth’s Chief Financial Officer Michael Tretina, CPA, FHFMA, FACHE, is leading the organization’s effort to return to pre-COVID-19 operations. The effort consists of four task forces that are addressing different areas. Each task force includes senior leaders, directors and key staff members from those specific areas of operations who are meeting regularly to look at the many aspects involved in reversing COVID-19 related restrictions. This includes implementing protocols and work flows for maintaining safety for patients and staff while continuing to provide effective, person-centered care and services to the community.
Some examples of how Bayhealth has been keeping everyone’s health and safety as its top priority and will uphold this priority as it begins to resume full operations include: screening everyone who enters its hospitals and medical facilities for COVID-19 symptoms and taking their temperatures; requiring all who enter to wear a mask or approved face covering and to practice social distancing; using telehealth and phone pre-registration and check-in processes; and continuing enhanced cleaning and disinfection and other infection control measures based on current CDC guidelines throughout its facilities.
Bayhealth’s restricted visitation policy will also remain in effect to limit the number of people in the same space at any given time to prevent potential spread of the virus. If a patient requires assistance, one care partner or support person may accompany them. If the patient is a child, we ask that only one parent accompany the child. These approved care partners also must be screened and follow PPE protocol. All other care partners must wait in their vehicle or outside of the facility.
Just as Governor Carney is using a phased approach to reopening the state, Bayhealth is returning to pre-COVID-19 operations in the same manner. For example, some elective surgeries and procedures recently resumed at Bayhealth Surgery Center, Kent Campus in Dover; the tents that were set up outside the Emergency Departments at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent and Sussex Campuses are being taken down; and cancer care services that had been consolidated to Bayhealth Cancer Center, Kent Campus will soon resume at Bayhealth Cancer Center, Sussex Campus. Some elective imaging exams, such as mammography, will also begin again soon.
“The goal is to be back to full operating status with all services resumed by July,” said Tretina. “There are a number of external variables that will continue to factor in to these plans, including supply and demand of PPE, changes in testing capacity and protocols, and other scientific advances. We’ll continue to re-assess and make decisions that are in the best interest of everyone’s safety.”
Visit Bayhealth.org/COVID-19 for the latest information related to Bayhealth’s operations and protocols for keeping patients, staff and the community safe.