Emergency Department staff with Chuck Mantooth, 2019
On Thursday March 27, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) announced a new supplemental pay program, called COVID Days Off (CDO) to assist full time and part time employees whose hours have been reduced due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Patient volume in ARHS hospitals and clinics has been drastically reduced, which means employees may be asked to work fewer hours.
Chuck Mantooth, President and CEO, said that the reduction in patient volumes was self-imposed, stating, “over the past two weeks, in preparation for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases, we chose to postpone elective procedures, surgeries and routine office visits in our clinics. Effectively, we set aside much of what we normally do to deal with COVID-19. Due to this decline, we asked some employees to take time off.”
The CDO program gives employees an opportunity to work in other areas at ARHS, when their regular hours are reduced. It also allows them to earn their same rate of pay, regardless of the new assignment. If an alternative assignment cannot be found, employees who have agreed to participate in the CDO program automatically receive CDO pay up to their normal compensation amount. Employee participation in CDO is by choice. In lieu of CDO, employees may also use accrued paid time off. Currently the CDO program will be offered through April 18, 2020.
“The purpose of CDO is to ensure that ARHS employees have a full paycheck, as we work together against COVID-19,” said Mantooth. “Right now our employees are experiencing so much stress related to COVID-19. Hopefully this program will help relieve their financial strain until economic relief is available.”
The COVID-19 pandemic creates new challenges daily for ARHS and for our patients. We are fortunate to have so many in our High Country community ask us how they can help in the response to these unprecedented times. Here, we’ve listed several ways you can help. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from community members, local businesses, and organizations.
Please stay at home
Our healthcare professionals are here for you, but we are asking the community to help slow the spread!
The most important thing the community can do to slow the spread of the virus is to stay home as much as possible. If you absolutely must go out, stay at least six feet apart from others, wash hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
Thank you for your generosity in helping to support our organization and the patients we serve. At this time we are accepting gifts of personal protective equipment to include:
Medical grade surgical and procedure masks
N95 respirator masks
Please note that ARHS only intends to utilize homemade masks and other personal protective equipment as a last resort.
You can drop these items off at the front entrance of Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville or the security checkpoint at Watauga Medical Center in Boone.
You may also mail a check to the address below, or contact Brian Whitfield, Director of Development, at (828) 262-9105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation PO Box 2600 Boone, NC 28607
Blood Drive at the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center April 16 @ 10:00 am – 2:30 pm
Mark your calendars and make your appointment at www.redcrossblood.org and enter in the sponsor code: Watauga Medical Center or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
You don’t need a special reason to give blood. You just need your own reason. Some of us give blood because we were asked by a friend. Some know that a family member or a friend might need blood some day. Some believe it is the right thing we do.
As a proud Premier Blood Partner with the Red Cross, we know that just that short amount of time donating blood can mean a lifetime to a patient battling illness or injury. Roll up a sleeve and join us in giving back to the community.
On Monday March 23, 2020, Blue Ridge Energy donated hundreds of N95 masks to ARHS in an effort to help ARHS protect its caregivers.
An N95 mask is a special type of mask used among health care workers to protect against dangerous airborne particles. As the coronavirus continues to spread, supplies of such masks may become limited, and many companies are donating from their own supplies. At this time there are no shortages of needed medical supplies at Watauga Medical Center or Cannon Memorial Hospital.
“Having enough personal protective equipment to ensure that our dedicated caregivers are appropriately safeguarded is one of our highest priorities, and we can’t thank Blue Ridge Energy and our community partners enough for their generous contribution to that cause,” said Chuck Mantooth, ARHS President and CEO.
Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 77,000 members in northwest North Carolina. Its propane and fuels subsidiary also serves customers in the cooperative’s service area and beyond, including parts of Virginia, Catawba and Burke counties in North Carolina.
If You Would Like to Donate Supplies
Organizations or community members that are interested in donating PPE supplies to ARHS should contact Brian Whitfield at (828) 262-9105 or email@example.com. Thank you for your generosity in helping to support our organization and the patients we serve.
At this time we are accepting gifts of personal protective equipment to include:
On Wednesday March 25, ARHS began requiring ALL employees and contractors at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital to undergo temperature screening prior to beginning work. This temperature screening will occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The temperature screening process will involve quickly having your temperature taken. If your temperature is 100 degrees Fahrenheit or less, you will be cleared to work for the day.
If you temperature is greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, employees will not be allowed to work and instead be given written instructions about how to proceed, including:
Going home for the day
Contacting their manager
Contacting RelyMD for a screening
After screening, contact Occupational Health (Crystal Minton)
Temperature Screening Locations
Watauga Medical Center – All employees and contractors must enter the building through the staff entrance (basement doors) nearest the parking deck, to have their temperature screened.
Cannon Memorial Hospital – All employees and contractors must enter the building through the front entrance of the hospital to have their temperature screened.
While this new process may pose minor inconveniences, we ask that you consider its value in protecting patients and fellow employees from spreading the COVID-19 virus.
Thank you for all you are doing to serve the needs of our community during this difficult time!
The portal contains portions of electronic medical record information for many patients and is available at no cost. If you need assistance with the patient portal, please call (888) 670-9775 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If the information you need is not available on the patient portal, you must submit a request to obtain copies of your medical records.
The Authorization Form includes hospital services, cancer services, cardiac & pulmonary rehab, cardiovascular services/cardiology center, emergency room services, infusion services, sleep services and wound care/pain clinic services.
In order to help protect our patients, family members and health care workers from the spread of COVID-19, effective Tuesday March 24, 2020 at 7:00pm, visitors will not be allowed at Watauga Medical Center or Cannon Memorial Hospital.
Exceptions will be made on a case by case basis in the following situations:
Patients at the end of life
Patients needing help with communication or decision making
Patients giving birth
The health and safety of our patients, their families, and team members remains a top priority for our organization.
Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time. Rest assured that our patients (your family, friends and neighbors) are receiving exceptional care from our outstanding physicians, nurses and staff.