Open Accessibility Menu

DCH Coronavirus Update 11-25-20

November 25, 2020 Update

Becoming More Lean

The day before Thanksgiving, many of us may be temporarily throwing thoughts of being lean out the door in exchange for a feast of favorite foods. The DCH Home Medical Equipment department, however, is focused on being more Lean… in its processes and services.

In the last few years DCH has been implementing Lean management (Lean is a methodology that provides tools to continuously improve the efficiency and quality of business processes) in all areas of the organization. The HME department began implementing Lean processes well before COVID-19. The department has reaped the benefits of Lean’s collaborative efforts.

More than two years ago, Amy Shiew, HME director, discovered it was taking nearly nine days to turn around CPAP orders. She created awareness of the issue among her team, built checklist standards for ordering and concluded FY20 with a three-day dispatch rate.

In the first month of FY21, the team processed all orders, not just CPAP, at an average turnaround of two days. Even while down several respiratory therapists, the team increased productivity and sales.

Another Lean tactic utilized was training all intake specialists on how to use a CPAP, allowing staff to serve additional patients.

Just before COVID-19, Shiew began investigating E-cylinder oxygen tanks. By changing to the more portable E-cylinder tanks, the team has been able to deliver 95 percent of oxygen orders curbside upon patient discharge, saving the patient time, the department money and providing both parties a safer exchange of equipment.

The DCH HME team has delivered oxygen, nebulizers, hospital beds, wheelchairs, patient lifts, CPAP, etc. throughout COVID-19. “We never stopped,” Shiew said, “I think because of that we’ve been blessed too – our patients just keep on appreciating us and we have continued to work hard to offer better, more efficient resources because we are thankful for them.”

CDC Recommendations for Holiday Gatherings

As you finalize your holiday plans, please consider methods to slow the spread such as smaller outdoor gatherings, distancing, mask wearing and frequent hand washing. Included here is a link to CDC recommendations.

Remote Site Testing Holiday Hours

DCH’s COVID-19 screening and testing service at its remote site in the Laundry Lot just west of DCH Regional Medical Center will be closed THIS Friday (November 27) for the Thanksgiving holiday. The following week the site will be back to its regular hours, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8 a.m.–Noon.

Testing and Confirmed Cases

To protect patient privacy, DCH has established a minimum threshold of five for reporting numbers of inpatients with laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

DCH internal counts as of 3:00 p.m. on 11/25/20:

  • 76 inpatients are positive for COVID-19.
  • 21 inpatients who are positive for COVID-19 are being treated in the ICU.
  • 8 who are positive for COVID-19 are on ventilators.
  • 8 who are positive for COVID-19 are on a BiPAP.
  • 4,433 (cumulative) unique positives for COVID-19 tests including results from the ED, triage tent and inpatient. These individuals are not necessarily in the hospital.
  • 28,752 (cumulative) unique negatives for COVID-19 at DCH sites.
  • 5,542 (cumulative) positive COVID-19 at DCH sites. These individuals are not necessarily in the hospital.
  • 46,532 (cumulative) negative tests at DCH sites.
  • 1,404 inpatients (cumulative) who were positive for COVID-19 have been discharged.
  • 257 inpatients (cumulative) who were positive for COVID-19 have died at DCH. This is not an indication of the cause of death, only that the individuals were positive for COVID-19 at the time of death.
  • 121 Tuscaloosa County residents (cumulative) who were positive for COVID-19 have died (per the Alabama Department of Public Health).