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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Lee Health is starting to reschedule appointments, surgeries, and procedures that were delayed during the pandemic. You can be confident that we will provide the most exceptional care in the safest environment. Learn More

No Need to Fear: Safety First Leads Lee Health Reopening

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Author name: Lee Health

This week Lee Health joins other statewide healthcare facilities in resuming elective surgeries and procedures.

The openings are not quite business as usual, but Lee Health has enacted strict measures to ensure safety for both patients and employees, according to Dr. Larry Antonucci, MBA, president & CEO of Lee Health.

“We are proceeding cautiously, and with surgeries, in particular, will limit procedures to 20 to 25 percent of normal volume as we monitor the impact on the health system,” Dr. Antonucci says. “This measured approach is necessary and helps us ensure we have the personal protective equipment we need to keep our patients and employees safe. Safety, as always, remains our primary concern.”

Elective Procedures and Surgeries

Throughout the pandemic, Lee Health has continued to provide essential lifesaving care to patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and as well as non-infected patients. The easing of mandatory shutdown restrictions now enables patients to receive care for elective procedures and surgeries such as knee replacement, cataract surgery, screenings for cancer, or heart or lung disease.

Dr. Alex Daneshmand, Lee Healthy chief quality and patient safety officer, says the reopening will occur in stages, highlighting Lee Health’s commitment to maximizing employee, patient, and visitor safety by exercising an abundance of caution.

“The first phase will focus on Lee Physician’s Group practices and some of our outpatient services, such as Labs, Radiology and Breast Health,” Dr. Daneshmand explains. “We established heightened precautions and safety measures at all Lee Health facilities even before the pandemic reached the United States. We will continue following the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in all our health care and emergency medical service settings.”

Dr. Daneshmand says safety measures include:

  1. All administrative and nursing staff will wear masks to protect all patients.
  2. Doctors and other clinicians will wear masks, gowns, and gloves when examining patients.
  3. Every staff and clinical member starting their shift at any Lee Health facility will have their temperature checked before they enter the building. They will also be screened through a series of questions to rule out COVID-19. Any employee who tests over 100°F will be sent home immediately and not allowed to resume work until medically cleared.
  4. All patients will be required to wear masks.
  5. Facilities will continue to limit visitor access to decrease the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
  6. Every patient will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 upon entering the building.
  7. Screened and cleared patients at LPG offices will have to the option to wait in their cars instead of the waiting room.
  8. Waiting rooms will be realigned so that chairs are 6 feet apart, per social distancing guidelines.
  9. Patients with COVID-19 who are admitted to a hospital will continue to be separated from other hospital units.

“We’re taking extreme measures to obsessively keep all patient and work areas clean and sanitized,” Dr. Daneshmand say. “Our commitment is hard and fast because we know these precautions protect and support our patients, colleagues, and caregivers while we determine the safest way to phase back in important procedures and other medical services.”

Telemedicine is a phone call away

Telemedicine remains a viable option for many patients. Since March 1, Lee Health Telehealth Services has conducted 30,000 appointments using this technology.

“However, if you need to see us in person, we remain here for you,” Dr. Daneshmand says. “Every precaution we have put in place prioritizes the safety of our patients and colleagues.”

Learn more at our comprehensive Telemedicine page.

Safety Commitment Continues

During the COVID-19 outbreak, Lee Health’s commitment toward ensuring patient safety and an exceptional patient experience has remained steadfast despite the pandemic’s many challenges.

The dedication is paying off in award-winning ways. On April 30, Lee Health’s four hospitals earned “A” grades from The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization that monitors health care quality.

The awards follow February’s national recognition from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and its star ratings program, which provides health care consumers with information on how hospitals are performing.

Last week marked the third consecutive year that Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital each earned an "A" in the Spring 2020 Hospital Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group. The organization uses letter grades to score hospitals on how well they protect patients from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

While the “A” recognizes excellence based on 27 measures of safety data, Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, says it also expresses gratitude.

“As the nation copes with a challenging pandemic, our gratitude extends to hospital leadership and health care workers everywhere for their tremendous dedication,” Binder says. “We hope this ‘A’ helps to thank the people who work and volunteer for Lee Health Hospitals. They are role models in putting patients first, and their service has been extraordinary in our country’s time of need.”

The Leapfrog Group recognition joins February’s national nods for quality and safety from CMS. In February, the agency’s 2020 Five-Star Quality Ratings program awarded Gulf Coast Medical Center four stars and Cape Coral Hospital, HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital each three stars.

CMS created the Five-Star Quality Rating System to help consumers, their families and caregivers compare hospitals more easily. The scores are based on previously reported quality and safety data points including, patient satisfaction, value and outcomes, among others.

“These recognitions are testament to the hard work and dedication the doctors, advanced providers, nurses and support staff bring to providing high-quality, compassionate and safe care at Lee Health Hospitals,” said Dr. Antonucci.

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