How did one South Florida hospital system protect their patients and staff during the pandemic? COVID contact screening played a significant role.
The COVID-19 pandemic is now the #1 pandemic blamed for American fatalities since the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic![i] The United States healthcare systems were not prepared or designed to deal with an unpredictable, large-scale, fast-spreading COVID virus, although clinical laboratory testing has increased over the years to try and be prepared for any future viruses.
How Health Care Facilities Are Handling Shortages
As COVID first began and spread quickly, hospitals scrambled to institute COVID-related protocols and procedures, find adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), and fill in crucial positions as absences began to occur due to exposures and infections. Hospitals also needed to find additional support staff to fill new COVID-related positions, such as COVID contact screening and tracing. Due to more and more front-line workers missing due to exposures and infections and budget concerns from canceled elective procedures, hospitals were adding the full-time equivalent (FTE) COVID-related work duties to hospital workers with already FTE job duties. Pandemic-induced hospital staffing shortages turned into a national bidding war, with hospitals willing to pay exorbitant wages to fill these much-needed empty spots, which caused more added debt to the health systems.
Healthcare burnout, which was a serious issue prior to COVID, has now become a constant looming and worsening problem in all healthcare positions, especially as the new Delta variant has hit. Psychological distress from witnessing COIVD-related deaths, deep despondency, and extra-long work hours is fueling healthcare worker burnout at an exponential rate. It may be reaching a tipping point as we hit the second/third wave of the pandemic and experience a new contagious, virulent mutant virus, rising death toll, and slow vaccine rollout.[ii] Here in Florida alone, hospitalizations just hit 15,840 and running at 145% capacity in the middle of August 2021.[iii]
Mitigating Risk with COVID Contact Screening and Tracing from Scrivas
A South Florida hospital realized this “burnout concern” quickly and partnered with Scrivas to assist them in the fight to maintain a “type of normalcy” in a mist of uncertainty. Scrivas worked side by side with the Human Resources Department to bring highly trained staff to assume both contact tracing and temporary non-clinical support positions to help the hospital system ensure safety, promote efficiency, and reduce burnout.
Scrivas contact tracers took on the cumbersome and time-consuming tasks of the initial and follow-up contact tracing calls to give support and peace of mind to their employees, all while allowing the full-time hospital employees to give all their effort into their normal day-to-day operations. Scrivas also began and continues to support the hospital system today, offering non-clinical support such as COVID contact screening staff, greeters, patient advocates, patient financial representatives, intra-hospital patient transporters, patient liaisons, and patient vaccine registrants.
These positions are temporary and each non-clinical support staff is outsourced by Scrivas. . The non-clinical support staff are HIPAA-certified and physician-trained to ensure they have the skills, tact, and patient empathy to excel in each role they are placed in. Scrivas hires, trains, and completes the compliance, operational aspects, and continued quality assurance for the staff. Scrivas has helped and continues to help this health system to reduce recruiting, retention, and training expenses, save on paying medical benefits and employee taxes, and provide operational stability, a positive work environment, and good patient experience. From once only being a physician burnout solution, the COVID pandemic has led Scrivas into becoming a complete healthcare worker burnout prevention solution with lasting partnerships with healthcare systems.