Message from Medical Director – COVID-19 Updates

Hello Everyone,

As most of you may know, Governor Wolf has announced that Philadelphia and surrounding counties are expected to transition from “red” to “yellow” on Friday, June 5, 2020.  This transition will eventually involve the re-introduction of onsite services while continuing to offer telehealth services.  I want to emphasize that this transition will be gradual with the necessary restrictions implemented for the safety of our staff and members.

Since the onset of this pandemic, Wedge operations staff has been meeting daily to ensure we are all aware of COVID-19 updates. Our goal is to apply that knowledge to enhance the safety measures implemented on sites, and to protect the well-being of our staff and members. The transition of reopening Wedge’s doors will be a process that is thoroughly inspected, studied, and analyzed. This transition may be concerning for some of you.  Rest assured, Wedge leadership has made staff and member safety a top priority during this pandemic and will continue to do so.

I am aware there are several outlets wherein one can receive COVID-19 news.  Some are more speculative, and less evidence based. As health care professionals (HCPs), we are considered essential workers which places us on the front lines. It is important for HCPs to be well informed as members will look to us for education and guidance.  Knowledge is always the best defense so try to avoid misinformation and rumors.  Be aware of what your employer and city are doing to keep you safe. Be well informed of what you can do and share your knowledge with others to further prevent the spread of infection.

Thank you for your cooperation and dedication through this pandemic. Wedge operations will continue to meet daily and keep you all updated. We will to comply with the state and local governments recommendations regarding the continued management of Covid-19.

Know How The Wedge Is Protecting Its Staff and Members.

  • Wedge will be limiting entry to all sites to members and staff only.
  • A check in process will be implemented wherein BOTH staff and member will be required to:
  • Wear masks
  • Be subject to a temperature check.
  • Be assessed of showing any signs of infection.
  • Access to soap and water to wash hands, hand sanitizer and disinfectant will be made available.  Sites will be cleaned and sanitized by maintenance as well as an outside sanitizing service.
  •  The layout of each Wedge site will be optimized to for social distancing. Flyers provided by the State of Pennsylvania will be posted at each site regarding COVID-19 safety.

 

Know how to Practice of Social Distancing in the work place?

  • Maintain a distance of at least six feet from other individuals.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a sleeve or elbow, not hands; Do not shake hands.
  • Regularly clean high-contact surface areas.
  • When sick, stay at home.
  • Do not gather in groups larger than 25 people.

 

Know the Numbers.  As of 06/08/2020, the current Covid-19 situation and risk to Philadelphia.

  • Number of cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia:                                             23,391
  • Number of negative test results of COVID-19 in Philadelphia:                84,698
  • Number of COVID-19 deaths in Philadelphia:                                                1,414
  • Overall risk in Philadelphia:                                                                                  HIGH risk of community transmission

Know the RED, YELLOW & GREEN phases to reopening Pennsylvania?

RED YELLOW

(Effective 6/5/2020)

GREEN
Work & Congregate settings

  • Life sustaining businesses only
  • Congregate care and prison restrictions in place
  • Schools (for in-person instruction) and most child care facilities closed
Work & Congregate settings

  • Telework must continue where feasible
  • Businesses with in-person operations must follow business and building safety orders
  • Child care may open complying with guidance
  • Congregate care and prison restrictions in place
  • Schools remain closed for in-person instruction
Work & Congregate settings

  • Continued telework strongly encouraged
  • Businesses with in-person operations must follow updated business and building safety requirements
  • All businesses operating at 50% occupancy in the yellow phase may increase to 75% occupancy
  • Child care may open complying with guidance
  • Congregate care restrictions in place
  • Prison and hospital restrictions determined by individual facilities
  • Schools subject to CDC and commonwealth guidance
Social Restrictions

  • Stay at home orders in place
  • Large gatherings prohibited
  • Restaurants and bars limited to carry-out and delivery only
  • Only travel for life-sustaining purposes encouraged
Social Restrictions

  • Stay at home order lifted for aggressive mitigation
  • Large gatherings of more than 25 prohibited
  • In-person retail allowable, curbside and delivery preferable
  • Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities and personal care services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy), and all entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) remain closed
  • Restaurants and bars may open outdoor dining, in addition to carry-out and delivery
Social Restrictions

  • Large gatherings of more than 250 prohibited
  • Restaurants and bars open at 50% occupancy
  • Personal care services (including hair salons and barbershops) open at 50% occupancy and by appointment only
  • Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities, and personal care services (such as gyms and spas) open at 50% occupancy with appointments strongly encouraged
  • All entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) open at 50% occupancy
  • Construction activity may return to full capacity with continued implementation of protocols

(https://www.governor.pa.gov/process-to-reopen-pennsylvania/)

 

SOME FACTS TO KNOW ABOUT COVID-19

  1. COVID-19 CAN MAKE ANYONE SICK REGARDLESS OF RACE OR ETHNICITY
  • Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms
  • Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
  • Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can cause people to avoid or reject others even though they are not at risk for spreading the virus.

 

  1. COVID-19 IS SPREAD THROUGH RESPIRATORY DROPLETS.
  • You can become infected by coming into close contact (about 6 feet or two arm lengths) with a person who has COVID-19. COVID-19 is primarily spread from person to person.
  • You can become infected from respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
  • You may also be able to get it by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

 

  1. YOU CAN HELP STOP COVID-19 BY KNOWING THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS.
    • Common Symptoms of COVID-19
  • FEVER OR CHILLS, COUGH, SHORTNESS OF BREATH OR DIFFICULTY BREATHING

 

  • Other possible symptoms
    • Fatigue, Muscle or body aches, Headache, New loss of taste or smell, Sore throat, Congestion or runny nose, Nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
  • Some people with COVID-19 don’t display any symptoms.  These individuals are known as “Carriers”

 

  1. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN QUARANTINE AND ISOLATION.  WHEN? HOW LONG?
  • Quarantine separates people who know they were EXPOSED to someone with COVID-19 coronavirus, or who recently traveled to a location where the disease was spreading rapidly.
    • Quarantines are for people who do not show symptoms but should be kept separate because they have a higher-than-average likelihood of having been exposed to the disease.
    • People in quarantine do not leave quarantine for at least 14 days.
  • Isolation separates people who are SICK, and showing symptoms of COVID-19, from others who are not sick. Isolation keeps people who know they are infected away from healthy people.
QUARANTINE ISOLATION
Healthy Person (No symptoms) Confirmed Case of Covid-19
Exposed (No symptoms) Sick, Has Covid-19  Symptoms
Stay At Home And Away From Others Stay At Home And Away From Others
  • Someone who has completed quarantine or has been released from isolation does not pose a risk of infection to other people

 

  1. THERE ARE SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP KEEP YOURSELF & OTHERS HEALTHY.
  • The best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact with others.
  • Wear a cloth face covering that covers your nose and mouth in public settings.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

 

Lloyd C. Alcera, MD

Medical Director – Psychiatrist

Black Lives Matter – Supporting Each Other

Good Afternoon Team,

In my email on Monday, I made some serious omissions.  Thankfully, a number of our staff members were very brave in confronting me about it.  For this, I am very thankful, and I sincerely apologize.  As you may know, approximately 75% of our staff at Wedge are from minority groups, most of whom are Black.  My message on Monday left many of our Black colleagues feeling unheard, unacknowledged, and unrecognized.  What follows is what I failed to address.

We, as an organization and as individuals, grieve for the continued senseless murders of unarmed Black Americans by White police officers.  The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others demonstrates the extent of institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned violence against Black people; we denounce these persistent patterns of discrimination and violence.  We must find ways to talk more about racism, and to dedicate ourselves to making change occur in our society.  We must recognize that we must work harder to dismantle centuries of systemic racism and inequality within our communities, and within us – for instance, in recognizing microaggressions, and other subtle forms of racism.

We must be united in supporting one another, and especially supporting our Black colleagues.  Please reach out to your fellow staff, offer them your support and express your solidarity.  When we take the opportunity to connect, and immerse ourselves in our colleagues’ experience, culture, and environment, inclusion is possible.  Our team of supervisors and managers will be doing the same by reaching out and setting aside more time for one-on-one support.  To those of you who are already doing so, thank you for setting the example for us.

If anyone needs time to reflect or recharge, to give yourself time to process what you’re feeling, I will offer an additional personal day to any staff who need it, to be used in the month of June.  It can be used all at once, or broken up by the hour.  Please see your supervisor if you want to use this time, so they can arrange adequate coverage.  If anyone is experiencing severe distress and needs more support, please reach out to your supervisor or to Human Resources, and we will work with you to find what help you need.

To all of our Black colleagues:  We see you.  We hear you.  We stand with you.  We will support you.    Black Lives Matter.

Sincerely,

Jason

 

Staff Spotlight – Saving A Life

Good Afternoon Team,

I wanted to take a moment and recognize Makia Jenkins at Juniper; she intervened to help an acutely suicidal member today.  Great job, Makia!

– Jason

From her supervisor, Wade:

“Hello All,

I wanted to update you regarding a call Juniper Support Staff received today. Member called in crisis stating he was suicidal and demanded to see a psychiatrist today. He threatened that if the police or crisis was called he would follow through with his plan to kill himself. Makia Jenkins took the call and remained on the phone with him for close to a half an hour. Makia remained calm and worked extremely well with the member. Makia contacted her supervisor to seek assistance. The member was eventually able to remain calm and agreed to have the EMTs contacted while remaining safe as long as Makia remained on the phone with him. I was able to contact Lanetta for support with reaching out to South psychiatry and the assigned counselor. This email is to provide the information obtained while also giving Makia a HUGE shout out for remaining calm, poised, and professional in a high risk, high stress, and highly clinical situation. ”

 

Pharmacy Access and Genoa

Good Afternoon Team,

It has come to our attention that many of the pharmacies that our members use have been closed since the weekend, and they are unable to get their life-sustaining medications.  As you know, we have a partner pharmacy run by Genoa Healthcare, located at our Venango location.  They also have two Care Management Consultants (CMCs) located at North and Juniper, who can help coordinate members’ pharmacy services and deliveries.

I wanted to recognize our Logan team, who quickly responded to our members’ pharmacy closures, started registering members for Genoa, and began working with our Genoa pharmacy to get things going.  A special shout-out to Michelle Bradshaw, Dina Roman, and Ariana Rivera for your ingenuity!  And a big thanks to our Genoa partners for being there when we need them most!

I’ve also attached some literature from Genoa for your reference.

Please don’t hesitate to let me know of your successes in creative solutions at your sites.  Great work!

Best regards,

Jason

Med Adherence_One-Pager_BDR (1)

On-site early closing this week

Today and for the rest of the week, we will close all on-site operations early, at 3pm each day this week.

Telehealth services and remote work will continue as scheduled and are not impacted by this early closure.

We will keep you apprised of any changes

CEO Message to Our Staff – 6/1/20

Good Afternoon Team,

In the aftermath of the events of this weekend, I wanted to take the opportunity to address our response as an organization.  At the Wedge, our values include equal rights, freedom from oppression, and advocacy for those who are marginalized.  We stand with those who speak out against injustice.  We understand that, as Dr. King said, “a riot is the language of the unheard”; this reminds us that our most important role, as clinicians and as fellow human beings, is to listen.

The communities that we serve are most directly impacted not only by the injustice that was the subject of the peaceful demonstrations this weekend, but also by the violence and destruction that spread throughout the city.  We must appreciate that many of us and our members share the feelings of fear, anger, and confusion, and we must listen and advocate for our members’ rights and safety.

Because these events so directly affect our members, and because many of our members are survivors of trauma in varying degrees, we must be very sensitive and patient at this time.  Our work will be to help members address the trauma, to establish some ways to begin to cope, and to find a way to feel safe. 

It is my hope that our work will influence greater justice, unity, and safety.  We all will have a role to play in the healing process.

As for our operations, we are planning to operate as “normal” tomorrow, with our skeleton crews of support staff, nurses, and managers onsite.  The Operations Committee will be in constant contact as we watch for any  changes.  If there are any escalations in violence, we may close again and will announce this via email and phone-tree to staff who do not have email access.

I want to recognize our call center operators and managers who are answering calls and taking messages from home today.  We appreciate their efforts to connect our members to needed services, and on such short notice.  Please join me in thanking Kameelah, Rasheedah, and Takisa, in particular, for handling a majority of the calls.

I want to acknowledge our nurses, who are calling all OTP members who were due to medication today, and who are helping them to manage until they can come in tomorrow. 

Lastly, anyone who is carrying more than usual today, thank you for stepping up in a time of crisis.

Sincerely,

Jason