March 19, 2020
Tampa, FL – In order to protect our patients, visitors, physicians and caregivers, HCA Healthcare West Florida hospitals are implementing a modified visitor policy, effective Friday, March 20 until further notice.
- Inpatient Units - No visitors are permitted. Exceptions must be approved by the hospital Administrator on Call (AOC) or administration and can be made for:
- end-of-life situations
- labor and delivery, post-partum, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
- one visitor is allowed and may stay overnight
- behavioral health units
- a patient’s attorney of record, a state or federal representative on official duty, and end-of-life situation visitors are allowed in accordance with State of Florida Emergency Order No. 20-52.
- Emergency Room – One visitor is allowed per patient in the ER. Once a patient is admitted to the hospital, the visitor must leave as visitors are not allowed in inpatient areas.
- Outpatient Procedures – One visitor is allowed per patient who is having an outpatient surgery or other outpatient procedure requiring sedation. Visitor must remain in the designated waiting area. If the patient is admitted as an inpatient, the visitor must leave as visitors are not allowed in inpatient areas.
- Anyone under the age of 18 will not be considered for visitation unless they are the parent of a hospitalized child.
All persons authorized to enter will be screened and asked the following questions:
- Have you had a fever and signs/symptoms of respiratory illness (cough, flu-like symptoms, or shortness of breath)?
- Have you traveled outside the country within the last 14 days (including a cruise)?
- Have you been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 without wearing the proper protective equipment?
- Are you currently being tested for COVID-19?
- If the screen is positive (yes) to any of the above – no access to the facility unless seeking emergency medical assistance.
All persons authorized to enter must practice hand sanitization upon entering the hospital and upon entering and exiting a patient’s room.
Patients may use their phone, Skype, or FaceTime to communicate with family and friends during this time.
HCA Healthcare West Florida hospitals include Blake Medical Center, Brandon Regional Hospital, Citrus Memorial Hospital, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Englewood Community Hospital, Fawcett Memorial Hospital, Largo Medical Center, Medical Center of Trinity, Memorial Hospital of Tampa, Northside Hospital, Oak Hill Hospital, Palms of Pasadena Hospital, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, South Bay Hospital and St. Petersburg General Hospital.
“With the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rising in Florida and around the nation, we are further limiting access into our hospitals to help ensure that our patients, caregivers, and visitors are safe,” explained Ravi Chari, M.D., President, HCA Healthcare West Florida. “We are monitoring the situation and will continue to make adjustments based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Florida Department of Health (FDOH), local officials and HCA Healthcare’s enterprise emergency operations center which has been operating around the clock.”
HCA Healthcare West Florida hospitals regularly identify and treat patients with infectious disease, whether seasonal flu, hepatitis, or tuberculosis. With the onset of coronavirus, we are taking extraordinary measures to protect our patients, caregivers, and our communities. Actions already taken by our hospitals include:
- Screening visitors for illness upon entry. Additionally, we are screening patients and visitors upon entry to determine if they meet certain risk factors for coronavirus including travel to endemic areas, if they’ve had close contact with a person who has or had coronavirus, or if they present with a fever and cough or lower respiratory
- Ensuring sufficient supplies of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, protective gowns, and eye protection.
- Safeguarding our caregivers including physicians, nurses, and technicians to patient transporters and members of our environmental services and food and nutrition staffs by providing additional infection prevention training so we can care for our communities without putting our caregivers at risk.
Reinforcing infection prevention protocols and guidance from the CDC for environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures.