By: Option Care Health
March 18, 2020
How are you updating Option Care Health’s Highly Infectious Disease (HID) policy in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?
Option Care Health has always had a robust emergency management plan and HID policy in place. This policy outlines our response to all highly infectious diseases based on information provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Furthermore, we maintain a task force consisting of multiple clinical and operational leaders, which meets with our infectious disease consultant frequently to review and update our response plans related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we learn more about this unprecedented pandemic, our HID policy is being referenced, monitored and updated as needed. Components of the policy include:
- Identifies the responsibility for monitoring the CDC website as well as applicable state and federal resources related to the HID
- Describes the collaboration between departments required for an effective response and the necessity for counsel with an infectious disease medical consultant to ensure appropriate actions that protect staff, families, and patients.
- Promptly secures adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies
- Implements screening tools for risk stratification
- Includes up-to-date information regarding vaccines and any other preemptive treatment
- Outlines responsibility for fulfillment of required tasks
- Summarizes tracking for both patient and employee infections and identifies those responsible for reporting
- Defines patient management principles
- Explains management of human resources, including the allowance for flexible attendance and telecommuting
- Specifies required training both upon hire and annually at a minimum
- Addresses patient prioritization, handling new referrals, and implementation of an emergency plan
- Identifies respiratory hygiene, handwashing, standard, and droplet precautions
- Describes PPE use, order of donning and doffing as well as patient education regarding PPE and overall infection control
- Communicates about the central repository for questions and concerns during a HID outbreak (including pandemic) that is monitored by senior members of the clinical services department
Are you experiencing any service issues/shortage of nurses?
At this time, we are not experiencing any major service issues or shortage of nurses. We are constantly monitoring CDC and WHO information and will provide what is needed to promote the health and safety of our team members, while delivering needed care to the community based on CDC guidelines.
What are you doing to keep your nurses safe?
The health and safety of all employees is our top priority. Our infectious disease prevention plan calls for PPE and education of our team members and patients on the following:
- Preventive actions that have been suggested to help prevent the spread of the virus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Steer clear of crowds whenever possible
- Necessary PPE for our clinicians (including goggles, mask, and gowns if needed) in our cleanrooms as well as employees in contact with patients who have a HID
- Proper donning and doffing is vital to protect patients and employees
- Consider having the coughing/sneezing patient or caregiver wear a mask
- If an employee is sick, our HR policies are designed for additional PTO or remote work as needed
- Screening every patient in advance of a face to face encounter to identify patients with a potential risk and to ensure proper PPE is on hand for the visit
What are you doing to protect your patients?
The screening we do is intended to protect patients as well.
Prior to an infusion suite visit, patients additionally must complete an intake questionnaire before any appointment with an Option Care Health team member. Nurses and other care staff are using PPE in accordance with the CDC guidelines.
Above all, we want to assure you that we are taking active measures to help protect patients, our healthcare workers and employees from COVID-19. Our infusion suite network across the United States can help protect healthier or immunocompromised patients from the impacted COVID-19 population.
How are you maintaining the safety of your infusion suites?
Option Care Health follows HID and pandemic protocols for maintaining cleanliness of our infusion suites. On top of our infection prevention plans, we are also ensuring:
- Infusion suites will be re-stocked and cleaned on a frequent basis and will be maintained in a clean, patient-ready condition, at all times
- Manage patient flow into infusion suites by limiting points of entry to reduce foot traffic and maximize spacing
- Pre-screen patients by phone before their scheduled appointment and upon facility entry to minimize the chance for exposure
- Counter tops and work surfaces will remain clear of clutter and disinfected between each use, including prior to preparation of any medications or sterile supplies for patient use
- Patient and visitors’ chairs, diagnostic equipment, infusion room tables and non-disposable equipment used for patient care as well as all equipment used by a patient while in the treatment room, will be disinfected with an approved sanitizer (i.e. Sani wipes) between patients or when visibly soiled
- Waiting room chairs and floors in the infusion suite will be cleaned daily and after each patient visit
- Patient and guest restrooms shall be cleaned and disinfected weekly and after each use, if the individual has a known infection
- Additional cleaning precautions and procedures:
- Differentiated disinfecting protocols implemented based on levels of facility exposure
- CDC-approved cleaners for disinfection containing alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol
- Staff wears disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and discards gloves after
- Scheduling patients at alternating times when possible and ensuring a minimum of 6 feet of space between chairs during concurrent appointments
How do you plan to service patients in the event a pharmacy branch closes?
At Option Care Health, providing extraordinary care for our patients is at the center of everything we do – and this has never been more important than right now. As the nation’s largest infusion provider, Option Care Health is uniquely positioned to treat patients in all 50 states, due to our nationwide pharmacy network.
Each of our pharmacies has updated an emergency dispensing and compounding plan, which includes back up plans based on adequate staffing and appropriate licensure. At least one back up compounding pharmacy has been identified for each existing site. Our technology platforms and multi-state licenses will allow us to transfer prescriptions as needed in the event of a partial or complete shutdown of a particular pharmacy.