COVID-19 Updates for Leaders



In the video above, recorded March 11, 2020, Intermountain leaders came together across the system to hear updates from the executive leadership team and other senior leaders. The content focused mostly around Intermountain's response to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). Watch on Stream.

As we continue to respond to the quickly evolving COVID-19 situation, we're looking at everything we do through the lens of keeping our caregivers, patients and members, and communities as healthy and safe as possible.

Adjustments to Practices and Policies

Absences and Tardies

If a caregiver needs to miss part or all of their shift due to COVID-19 because they are ill, are taking care of a family member who is ill, or are providing childcare during a school or childcare closure, the absence or late arrival will not count against their attendance record.

Use cases are:

  • Caregiver is absent from or late to work for their own illness related to COVID-19.
  • Caregiver is absent from or late to work because they are taking care of a family member who is ill related to COVID-19 (spouse, parent, child).
  • Caregiver is absent from or late to work due to providing childcare to their own child(ren) during a COVID-19 related school or childcare center shutdown.
    • Caregivers are strongly encouraged to create a personal preparedness plan considering the needs of their household, that includes plans for childcare, food, water, and pets. Their plan should consider options that allow them to report to work as much as possible.
  • Caregiver is absent from or late to work after non-work-related exposure (travel, family, community, etc.) and is on a work-required quarantine, and the caregiver has a position where telework is not possible.

This ensures that caregivers will not receive COVID-19 related time and attendance consequences. Caregivers should follow their normal process of notifying leadership regarding COVID-19 related absences or late arrivals.

If a caregiver doesn't have enough PTO to cover their absence, caregivers may request the use of negative PTO, meaning they can have a negative PTO balance.

For negative PTO requests, short-term disability, or leaves of absence, managers and caregivers should contact Ask HR's Leave of Absence Department by calling 1-833-442-7547 or by emailing askhr@imail.org. They can assist with leaves of absence and applying for short-term disability.

Conducting Interviews

We're restricting in-person interviews with candidates coming from outside of your home facility. Please use HireVue, WebEx, or Skype instead. If candidates have already made travel plans, please work with them to cancel and reschedule their interview using a virtual option.

There are no restrictions on holding in-person interviews with internal candidates within your home facility.

To use HireVue or recruitment questions, please contact your recruiter.

Finance

We are asking all leaders to identify and make their Finance partners aware of costs which relate to COVID-19. A few examples of the types of expenses we need to track are:

  • PPE supplies such as PAPRs, N-95 masks, etc.
  • Other supplies which are not normally used in the course of treating patients but are used to treat COVID-19 patients.
  • Excessive supplies used to clean or sterilize hands, hard surfaces, etc.
  • Salaries and premium pay paid to caregivers for taking care of COVID-19 patients.
  • Salaries and premium pay for hourly caregivers who secure facility entrances.
  • Costs for training caregivers in PPE usage, including salaries and premium pay.
  • Costs of quarantine for caregivers, including replacement personnel.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. If you have already accrued expenses related to COVID-19 over the past week or so, please give them to your Finance partner as soon as you can. If you have questions of whether a cost should or should not be added, please ask the Finance partner assigned to your area.

Food at Home

The CDC and FDA advises that COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is not transmitted by food or food packaging.

Please use good hygiene practices around food in your meetings, work areas, and at home.

  • Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • When handling and preparing foods, separate raw meat from other foods.
  • Cook foods to the recommended temperature and refrigerate foods promptly.
  • COVID-19 cannot survive in cooked food, but pre-packaged food may be the safest choice.

This remains a dynamic situation and Intermountain's Nutrition Services team will continue to assess and update guidance as needed.

General Hygiene Practices

The overall general best practices to avoid contracting viruses are:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If soap and water aren't available, use a 60-percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.
  • Wear a mask in public if you have a fever, are coughing or sneezing, have a runny nose, or are having difficulty breathing.
  • Stay home when you're sick and keep sick children home from school.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

In patient care situations, wear appropriate PPE as the best line of defense.

Meetings and Events

Our goal is to balance day-to-day normal business with keeping caregivers safe.

Before scheduling any meeting or event, follow Intermountain's Effective Meeting Guidelines by ensuring a meeting is necessary to accomplish your objectives. If it is necessary to hold a meeting or event, meet virtually by utilizing Skype, WebEx, or other remote participation tools.

If you determine an in-person meeting is essential, avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

You can continue to round, hold check-ins, step-back reviews, and regular staff meetings within your facility.

We strongly recommend holding virtual meetings or postponing meetings that bring external people into our facilities, unless it is mission critical or has safety or system strategy impact.

We strongly recommend cancelling or postponing public events. Events can be rescheduled when the risk of the virus spreading is no longer a concern.

We will continue to update this guidance as the situation evolves.

Patient Privacy

  • Do not access a patient's chart, unless you are the direct care provider.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and your voice level when talking with patients and other caregivers to minimize the risk that someone will overhear confidential information.
  • All media relations, including social media, are coordinated ONLY by our Marketing and Communications Team.

Person-to-Person Contact at Work

The CDC advises that COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is spread in two ways: from person to person, or through contact with infected surfaces or objects. To reduce potential spread, avoid handshakes or other direct contact. Use a verbal greeting, a wave, an elbow bump, smile, or a pat on the back as alternatives.

Supply Chain Purchasing

We've seen an increase in caregivers using their I-Card to purchase COVID-19 supplies. Please follow the appropriate process:

  • Order all supplies through eProcurement.
  • If the item you're seeking isn't there, please call Purchasing at 801-442-3000, option 2.
  • No orders should be placed with the I-Card for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) supplies, including hand sanitizer and masks.
  • The I-Card team will continue to monitor all card transactions.

For any questions or concerns, please call Purchasing at 801-442-3000, option 2.

Use of PTO and Sick Leave

Caregivers who are ill need to stay home and not come to work.

If a caregiver needs to stay home because they are ill and they don't have enough PTO to cover their absence, caregivers may request the use of negative PTO, meaning they can have a negative PTO balance. Managers may approve negative PTO not to exceed 80 hours.

Use cases are:

  • Caregiver is absent from work for their own illness related to COVID-19.
  • Caregiver is absent from work because they are taking care of a family member who is ill related to COVID19 (spouse, parent, child).
  • Caregiver is absent from work due to providing childcare to their own child(ren) during a COVID-19 related school or childcare center shutdown.
  • Caregiver is absent from work after non-work-related exposure (travel, family, community, etc.) and is on a work-required quarantine, and the caregiver has a position where telework is not possible.

This ensures caregivers can continue receiving pay. For extended illness, this bridges the waiting period to short-term disability. Negative PTO should not be used for personal use such as a vacation.

Caregivers who are ill or caring for someone who is ill and would like to use negative PTO should work with their manager. This is a manual process that will be handled through Ask HR's Leave of Absence Department at 1-833-442-7547 or by emailing askhr@imail.org. They can assist with leaves of absence and applying for short-term disability.

Working Remotely

If caregivers are on work restrictions due to COVID-19, and they can perform the duties of their job from home, managers should support this arrangement whenever possible.

If telework arrangements are appropriate, determine whether caregivers: 1) have appropriate access to Intermountain programs, such as SecureAccess and DigiPass or Ping, and 2) should use Intermountain-owned equipment, personal equipment, or a combination of both.

Caregivers need to comply with Intermountain's security and confidentiality requirements, including the use of VPN for Intermountain equipment and VDI for any personal equipment.

Telework arrangements may not be appropriate for all departments, positions, or caregivers. You can review the Intermountain telework policy here.