I wanted to update you on the mandatory Covid-19 vaccination Executive Order issued by President Biden on September 9. The guidance we have received from our H/R resources continue to say Labette Center falls under this Executive Order, and that there is no weekly testing alternative. Should this change at some point in the future, we will of course let you know.
At the present time, there are two exemptions to this order, a medical exemption and a religious beliefs exemption. To apply for either exemption you would need to make Natasha, as our H/R coordinator, aware that you wish to pursue these exemptions. She will help you understand the process and initiate it if you choose.
The Executive Order says that entities that are impacted by the order must have all employees vaccinated within 75 days. The guidance we have to date says that 75-day timeline began on September 9. Should we learn something different we will pass that information along to you.
Please be aware that each of the three Covid-19 vaccines have different periods before one is considered fully vaccinated. You may choose whichever vaccine you like, but you need to be sure that you receive the shot(s) early enough that you will be fully vaccinated within the allotted time.
As some of you may know, President Biden issued a series of new Executive Orders yesterday related to Covid and vaccines. One of those directives is that health care providers who receive Medicare and Medicaid funding must have all staff vaccinated. That mandate will come through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid. There does not appear to be a "weekly Covid test" exception to this requirement. There likely will be medical and religious belief exceptions, but the guidance at the moment suggests these will be narrowly definded.
So, at this time, it appears that all staff at Labette Center will need to be fully vaccinated, possibly by the end of November, unless he/she can demonstrate that they are eligible for either medical or religious belief exceptions.
As you might imagine, there are questions being asked, and many details to learn and work through. I and we will keep you updated, but wanted to get this notice to you as soon as possible.
Here's a link to an Associated Press article about booster shots for Covid-19 vaccines.
Labette Health is giving a $50 gift card when you get vaccinated at one of their clinics. I'm assuming that means fully vaccinated. Those fully vaccinated can also enter for a chance to win a $1000, or $500. Natasha will be putting the notice up in all the buildings that will have more details.
Effective with the paycheck that you will receive tomorrow, I implemented a wage/salary increase of 2% for all staff. Labette Center's financial situation remains that we are spending more on expenses than we are receiving in revenue for 2021 to date. However, I was and remain aware that, while staff received several one time enhanced payments last year, we did not do raises. While I know that 2% is not as much as many of you would wish for, I wanted to, and decided to move forward with this.
Thank you everyone.
As many of you already know, the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA. It is no longer approved through an Emergency Use Authorization. This means the FDA considers this vaccine to be as safe as any other medication available for it's intended use. I would speculate that the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccine will receive similar full approval in the not distant future. For those who have been reluctant to take one of the vaccines for Covid-19 due to it's Emergency Use Authorization status, there is now one (and as I mentioned, I look for all three eventually) vaccine available that is fully approved. Please consider taking it, if you are not already vaccinated.
Several other Covid-19 related pieces of information...
Monday evening, Labette Health went to a full diversion status, meaning that they were accepting no new patients, even in the emergency room, due to the volumn of patients they were coping with. I do not know the status as I write this.
Labette County remains a High level of community Transmission county, according to the CDC.
KDHE reports that Labette County currently has 42% of the total population fully vaccinated against Covid-19. KDHE's goal is 75%
Below you'll find a link to an article about the use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19. It's pretty self explanatory.
Please continue to stay home if you feel the least bit ill, and call the Labette Health Fever clinic to see about being tested for Covid-19, or Bowen Pharmacy (this is not a complete list of testing sites).
"Dear citizens of southeast Kansas,As the doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, chief nursing officers, and CEOs of Fredonia Regional Hospital, Wilson Medical Center, Labette Health, Coffeyville Regional Medical Center, Girard Medical Center, and Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, we ask for your help during this healthcare crisis - a crisis much bigger than COVID-19.Last week, a doctor in southeast Kansas had to call 21 different hospitals in our region to find a hospital bed for a patient critically ill with non-COVID related respiratory failure. While working for nine hours to transfer this patient to an ICU, the doctor and medical team managed the patient on a ventilator before finally being able to transfer him to a larger hospital with medically necessary ICU resources. This scenario is not unique to a single hospital in southeast Kansas. Our organizations have been working together throughout the pandemic, helping each other as best we can. As we discussed our most recent challenges in a virtual meeting this week, we found that our southeast Kansas hospitals are experiencing staffing shortages, an inability to transfer patients to larger hospitals, the need to care for sicker patients than we normally would, shortages of life-saving medications, and inadequate beds and supplies to care for routine but significant medical conditions because we are overwhelmed by the number of COVID cases in our communities. Our hospitals, clinics, providers, and staff are well equipped to treat you and your families for the vast majority of medical conditions, and we are honored to provide you top level services. However, our ability to care for the sick and injured in our own hometowns has been severely strained with the recent rise and rapid spread of COVID cases over the last few weeks.We are being stretched thin as COVID continues to spread and we care for more and more sick patients. We are nearing a crisis point with our capacity to take care of routine conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, and broken bones that arrive at our emergency departments, conditions that are outside of the realm of COVID.The impact of COVID is not isolated to our communities. We are seeing surrounding hospitals in larger cities reach capacity as well. Our rural and urban hospitals depend on each other to provide care to all who need medical attention. While our providers and staff have worked tirelessly to care for you and your loved ones through the last year and a half, our facilities across almost all of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas are at breaking point shortages of hospital beds, staffing, medications, and supplies. While we do everything in our power to treat people with every condition that walks through our doors, healthcare has always required teamwork. This disease is spreading faster than ever and requires you, our community members, to be part of the team. We ask that you help us dampen the spread of COVID by taking these actions now:• Wear a mask in public settings;• Get vaccinated;• Stay home if you are ill or exposed;• Social distance when possible;• Avoid large gatherings;• Get tested.We all want this pandemic to be behind us, but with the current spike of Delta variant cases and the risk for more variants in our future, we need your help to ensure we can care for all medical conditions - both COVID and non-COVID. As a citizen of southeast Kansas, you have the power to make a difference in the health of our communities. Reducing the spread of COVID will help us make it through this pandemic and allow us to provide optimal care to your families and loved ones.
Today, the ICU at Labette Health is at 100% capacity, and there is a patient in the Emergency Room that has been there for 30 hours waiting for a hospital bed. Labette County, like the majority of the country, remains a high transmission county for Covid-19. Lisa Hoppock, Labette County Health Department Administrator reported to the USD 503 board Monday night that, from June 1-August 1 of 2021, 71 children were diagnosed with Covid-19 in the county, 33 of which were ages 0-10. The results so far from the Survey Monkey survey on staff vaccination indicates 62.5% of staff are fully vaccinated.
The reality of the current surge, driven by the Delta variant, is hear in Labette County. If you, a friend or loved one needs ICU level of care today, that won't occur at Labette Health, and a non ICU level of care is unlikely. To protect yourself, friends, loved ones, clients and coworkers, please consider getting vaccinated as soon as possible unless you have been directed not to by your physician/mid level medical provider.
Take care everyone, and thank you.
Labette County is considered a "high" level of community transmission for Covid-19. So, if you are fully vaccinated, I would encourage you to consider wearing a mask when you are indoors with a client, and to be considerate of other staff if they want you to wear a mask around them. For those of you unvaccinated, or not fully vaccinated yet, I would urge you to follow the guidance put out by the CDC, and noted above. It is fine with me if you wish to request the clients you are with to please wear a mask while you are with them.It cannot be stressed enough that the best thing you can do to protect yourself from all forms of Covid-19, including the Delta variant, is to become fully vaccinated as soon as possible. Labette Center is hosting a vaccination clinic on August 3rd for clients and staff both. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be the vaccine used at this clinic. If you want to be vaccinated at our clinic, please let Monica know. Thanks everyone, Matt