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Update to staff

Reopening Through Pilot Practices and Services:
With thorough safety measures and processes in place, St. Lawrence Health System has reopened some pilot practices and in-house services for person-to-person visits. Providers of those areas are carefully determining which patients to invite back first, based on critical care needs. Respectfully, some patients are apprehensive to return to a public environment at this time; we are reassuring them of the safety of our environments and continue to offer telemedicine, where appropriate.

Safety measures in place at each hospital and off-site pilot location include: mandatory use of face masks for patients and staff; patients remaining in their vehicles until they are called to meet a member of the clinical team at the entrance of the building; patients undergoing screening for COVID and, if cleared, escorted to the appropriate practices’ exam room. Similarly, patients are walked out of the building at the end of the visit.

Compounding the forgoing, the health system’s operations must also remain hyper vigilant toward preventing a second wave of COVID-19.    To this end, and under New York state requirements, our hospitals must not only have met strict criteria in order to begin bringing our services back online, but we must also maintain our operations within such criteria.  Non-emergent services may once again be suspended if, within the previous 10 days, there were greater than 10 hospitalizations in a Hospital due to COVID-19.   Available bed capacity must also remain above 25 percent.

Although we are cautiously optimistic, we are monitoring our processes moment by moment. In the unexpected event that a concern is identified, we will reassess our existing practices for that site and consider suspending services until a resolution is established. Understand this creates an extended delay in reopening more services; however, patient and staff safety is our number one priority.

As we continue to realize the successful and safe care at our pilot practices and services, we plan to reopen more patient care areas and, therefore, reconsidering our staffing needs. Once needs are determined, leaders will submit a Furlough Action Request Form to the Governance Committee. Once the request is approved, the leader will contact a furloughed individual to identify their interest in returning to work, arrange for a COVID swab test, and establish a reemployment date. We expect the pace of these furlough returns to begin slowly with a heavy initial focus on clinical positions.

Individuals are invited to continue visiting this resource page for updates and/or contact with specific questions.