Broward Health is proud to be a leader in the fight against COVID-19. Working with federal, state and local partners, our healthcare system has offered greater access to COVID-19 screenings, innovative treatments , support for our Broward Health employee family , procurement efforts , enhanced technology solutions , ongoing communication with all stakeholders , and future plans to protect our patients and employees.
Broward Health is proud to offer greater access to care for our community, including COVID-19 testing, telehealth offerings, 24/7 phone access to registered nurses through Nurse Connect and more.
- Broward Health has been active in educating and engaging the community on COVID-19 by providing educational resources, pandemic response efforts and available screening options through flyers and social media.
- Our caregivers have screened thousands of community members through two mobile testing sites, which were built in under 24 hours each.
- We expanded advanced telemedicine technology through our physician practices to help safeguard our medical providers and ensure that our patients are continually monitored. The free Nurse Connect service is available 24/7 for clinical questions and has answered over 8,000 calls related to COVID-19. This service also allows community members without primary care physicians to obtain scripts for testing.
- We introduced BHealthy Now as a telehealth solution to connect community members in need of COVID-19 testing with board-certified physicians.
- We are holding blood and platelet drives, and we partnered with OneBlood to collect plasma from people who have recovered from the coronavirus so it can be transfused to people with life-threatening coronavirus infection in hopes of aiding their recovery. The experimental treatment is approved by the FDA to be used on an emergency basis and is called “COVID-19 convalescent plasma.” Broward Health Medical Center is one of the Mayo Clinic's IRB/BH IRB approved hospital sites under the FDA National Expanded Access Program to offer convalescent plasma to BHMC's critically ill COVID-19 patients. This approval is for Broward Health Medical Center only under the Principal Investigator Dr. Naaz Fatteh and the Broward Health Research Institute.
Our caregivers continue to offer rapid testing, innovative treatments and plasma therapies to safely treat COVID-19 positive patients. As the pandemic evolves, our senior and clinical leaders collaborate to provide evidence-based treatments.
- Rapid testing is available for inpatients to expedite treatment and enable cohorting.
- Broward Health’s Pharmacy Department has been proactively looking for innovative COVID-19 treatment options since the virus was first identified internationally.
- A committee of pharmacists, physicians and leaders meet three times every week to review new literature on therapies, assess data on Broward Health patient responses and determine protocols for various drugs used in the fight against COVID-19. Based on experience and data review, Broward Health has established a group of medications we initiate for all COVID-19 patients.
Broward Health leadership is committed to supporting and protecting our dedicated employees and their families through a variety of initiatives and programs, including:
- The establishment of a personal leave loan program, offering up to 160 hours of Paid Leave time to provide continued compensation to employees during temporary staffing adjustment.
- Broward Health's Employee Emergency Relief Fund to care for members of our employee family who may be experiencing financial hardships. Senior leaders are contributing up to 20 percent of their salaries to the fund in support of employees.
- An extra shift bonus program for employees working an unscheduled shift on a designated COVID-19 floor during any workweek.
- Rapid testing and enhanced employee health protocols to expedite diagnosis, protect family members, and aid employees as they return to work.
- A universal masking protocol, providing all employees access to surgical masks to protect themselves and their colleagues.
- Innovative partnerships with stores, such as Publix, which offer designated hours for Broward Health employees.
- Pop-up stores within our hospitals, allowing employees to purchase essential items
- Collaborating with community partners to provide child care options for first responders and healthcare workers.
- Community support providing meals, snacks and supplies.
- A robust Employee Assistance Program to support the well-being of all employees, including support sessions with licensed counselors over the phone and in groups via WebEx.
Benefits for physicians:
- Rent abatement for physicians housed in Broward Health medical office buildings.
- Holding medical providers harmless for base salary standards.
- Employed physicians can rollover unused PL into next year.
Securing personal protection equipment (PPE) is an essential part of protecting our caregivers and thwarting the spread of COVID-19. Our supply chain team has been aggressive in their efforts to stockpile necessary supplies through a variety of methods:
- Essential procurement partnerships through our Group Purchasing Organization.
- Identification of new providers as needs grow.
- New partnerships with community organizations, other area providers, and the Safety Net Alliance.
- Ongoing support through state emergency operations.
In addition, the Broward Health Foundation has made an appeal to the community by establishing its COVID-19 Relief Fund. In response, local businesses, medical offices, restaurants and private citizens have come forward to donate surgical masks, gloves, isolations gowns and much more to add to Broward Health’s stockpile of PPE inventory. Donations from the Foundation’s efforts include two 55-gallon drums of hand sanitizer from Tito’s vodka, over 13,000 masks from Lowes and thousands of gloves from local nail salons.
Broward Health is proud to offer the latest technologies in order to quickly adapt to emergency situations, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our IT department has offered a variety of solutions.
- IT teams have worked around the clock setting up mobile sites to allow caregivers to extend screenings into our community.
- A key to emergency planning has been utilizing technology and data analytics to better understand the ever-changing scope of this pandemic.
- Our clinical informatics team created a comprehensive dashboard, which provides real-time data inclusive of number of patients tested, locations, status, turnaround times and trends by facility.
- Medical staff leaders have expanded the use of telehealth within our hospitals to help ensure continuity of care for our most critical patients.
- IT has extended the use of iPads so that patients can conduct virtual visits with their loved ones through Facetime, Zoom, and other platforms.
- Telework solutions and support for our workforce.
- Online support through BrowardHealth.org.
Communicating with all stakeholders has been key to our response plan, and our efforts have included:
- Daily calls with local, state and federal leaders, as well as first responders.
- Weekly calls with local healthcare system colleagues.
- Establishment of taskforces of medical experts, including infection control, pharmacy, security and environmental services to ensure consistent knowledge and understanding of best practices.
- Senior Broward Health leadership huddles held seven days a week, several times a day
- Daily expanded leadership team huddles to discuss dashboard, supplies, needs, best practices and patient outcomes.
- Daily emails to staff with success stories, latest policies and procedures, relief efforts and support services.
- Additional educational modules for COVID-specific protocols provided to staff
- Close collaboration with legislators and lobbyists to fully understand available aid and CARES Act benefits.
- Strong social media presence and media relations efforts.
- Frequent communication with community partners.
Broward Health recognizes that other emergencies, such as heart attacks and strokes, don’t stop during pandemics. Broward Health, in partnership with the American Heart Association, is educating the public regarding recognizing the signs of heart attacks and strokes, and reminding people to call 911 in case of an emergency.
Additionally, our healthcare system has safeguards in place to ensure patients’ well-being, including limiting their exposure to COVID-19 patients. Through media interviews and social media campaigns, Broward Health is encouraging members of the community to call for help and get the lifesaving care they need.
Our healthcare system remains committed to serving our patients and community throughout this pandemic while ensuring the safety and well-being of our employee family. Thank you to the entire Broward Health family for your unwavering dedication to our community.