Renown Health Awarded Nearly 1 Million Grant From The FCC To Support TeleHealth Programs AMID COVID-19 Pandemic
Funds used to stand up virtual screenings, purchase telehealth equipment, provide virtual care and enhance remote monitoring services to help keep the community safe Renown Health Foundation announced today that it is the recipient of a $977,720 grant from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The funding will be used to offset the expenses of various telehealth programs implemented during the current COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of the grant will also be used to help Renown expand its remote monitoring capabilities, reshaping the way patients receive care from the comfort of their homes. “Virtual technology is shaping the future of medicine and how we deliver care to our patients,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, president and CEO of Renown Health. “It’s convenient, fast, reliable and accessible to everyone with a mobile device. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, I have witnessed the incredible power of technology to ensure our patients receive quality care when and where they need it. I look forward to the future of digital health as we continue expanding our virtual service offerings, contributing to a happier, healthier community.” Renown will use a portion of the funding to offset expenses incurred to establish the virtual COVID-19 visit screenings for the pandemic. These on-line, virtual visits allowed individuals with signs of respiratory illness across Nevada and California to be screened by a care provider for COVID-19. Previously, a screening was required for patients to receive a test, making this a critical tool to help our region flatten the curve. The grant will also support Renown’s efforts to introduce a dedicated platform to enable all specialists and urgent care providers to deliver virtual care to patients, if their care needs can be met through a virtual platform. These visits have been essential as community members continue to practice physical distancing and many live in rural communities. “We are incredibly thankful for the support of the FCC, as this grant has already played a huge role in the way our community receives the care they need and deserve,” said Renown’s chief development officer, Greg Walaitis. “During the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, it will help us ensure all patients in our area have access to care from their homes or nearby locations.” Furthermore, the grant will support some of the technology and equipment used in Renown’s Alternate Care Site located in its Mill Street Parking structure. “Though we are fortunate our Alternate Care Site remains unused today, the facility is equipped with computers and tablets embedded with telehealth solutions, all supported by the FCC grant,” said Renown’s director of telehealth, Mitchell Fong. “This technology would allow our providers to treat and monitor our patients with COVID-19 without being exposed to the virus, so they can remain healthy and a vital part of the care team where they are needed most.” Renown purchased video conference software licenses to support these virtual programs. Aside from connecting patients to care providers, the technology was used to enhance a patient’s hospital stay and make them feel more emotionally comfortable and connected. “Before initiating our Patient Supporter program, we weren’t allowing visitors in our hospitals due to the pandemic to help keep patients, staff and our community safe,” said Fong. “The purchase of video conferencing licenses helped patients from all hospital units connect with loved ones via videoconferencing calls facilitated by their care providers. We know these interactions are an important aspect of a patient’s healing experience, and the FCC grant made it possible for countless patients to stay in touch with their external support networks.” Finally, the FCC funding will allow Renown to expand and enhance its remote monitoring services, particularly for hospital patients who have recovered from COVID-19. Renown is currently exploring tools for providers to virtually – and seamlessly – monitor and track their patient’s oxygen levels, among other vitals, once they go home. This will aid in smooth and efficient transitional care, as the recovery period after a patient is discharged from the hospital is considered exceptionally critical. ### About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, Renown Children’s Hospital, Renown Rehabilitation Hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org.
Health System Follows Governor’s Announcement to Resume Necessary Surgeries on May 11, Remains Ready for Possible COVID-19 Surge. Renown Health announced today that they will align with the Governor’s Office and the state Medical Advisory Team in adopting a phased-in approach to resume limited medical and surgical procedures under strict guidelines and lift temporary restrictions due to the COVID-19 virus. The decision follows yesterday’s release of Governor Sisolak’s “Nevada United: A Roadmap to Recovery,” a plan designed to move forward to safely restart Nevada under a “new normal.” The health system will begin a phased approach to scheduling non-high risk patients as soon as Monday, May 4 for necessary surgeries beginning on Monday, May 11, 2020. “We’re able to resume some surgical services due to the flattening of the COVID-19 surge curve and the low COVID-19 transmission rate within our community due to the implementation of strong social distancing practices,” said Tony Slonim, MD, D.Ph., President and CEO, Renown Health. He added, “Our primary concern will always be the health and safety of our patients, physicians, healthcare employees and community members. We continue to monitor the surge curve and our current situation. Until a vaccine or cure is found, Renown Health remains prepared at all times to handle a surge and continues to care for those across northern Nevada.” “Elective-optional” procedural cases were temporarily postponed at Renown hospitals on March 17, to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to preserve critical resources. Christopher P. Demers, MD, FAANS, Managing Partner at Sierra Neurosurgery Group and Medical Director of Neurosurgery at Renown, said, “I know how important surgery is to enhancing a patient’s quality of life. I am privileged to have the opportunity to perform surgeries that help people get back to doing the activities they love. We are guided by a simple and important principle: the patient always comes first.” “This is excellent news for so many patients who may have placed their surgeries and care plans on hold due to COVID-19,” said Christos Galanopoulos, MD, chair, department of surgery for Renown Medical Group, and a specialist in oncologic surgery. “Renown’s expert team is ready to deliver safe and effective care to all patients and has earned recognition as the region’s leader in patient safety, technology and specialized care,” said Galanopoulos. “We are proud of the incredibly detailed health and safety measures in place at Renown.” Health and safety protocols in place at Renown facilities include: All individuals entering Renown sites, including team members, are screened for COVID-19 symptoms; Patients scheduled for elective procedures will be tested for COVID-19 up to 5 days prior to scheduled procedure date. Patients will remain in isolation following the test, up to the time of surgery. Positive COVID-19 patients and symptomatic patients will not be scheduled for elective surgery. All individuals entering Renown sites are asked to don a cloth mask. Patients may bring their own mask or may opt to wear one supplied by Renown. All care team members wear surgical masks and protective eye wear, as well as other necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), at all times when caring for patients. Visitor restrictions are still in place. A support person is still encouraged for surgical patients, delivering OB mothers; children under the age of 18; patients with confusion, altered mental status or developmental delays; and end-of-life patients. Six-foot social distances have been established in public areas such as waiting rooms, elevators, cafeterias. Extra cleaning and disinfection is in place for all high-touch, public surface areas. Erik Olson, MHA, Chief Executive Officer of Renown Regional Medical Center adds, “Renown’s mission is to make a genuine difference in the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve. We deliver on this promise by collaborating with expert surgeons to offer general and specialized surgical interventions to alleviate disabilities and reduce the risk of death from traumatic injuries, cancers, cardiovascular disease and other conditions. Together we are dedicated to delivering safe, high-quality, compassionate, personalized health care.” Patients who wish to schedule their elective surgery or outpatient procedure should first contact their appropriate ordering provider. -END- Those interested in supporting Renown’s healthcare heroes are invited to visit www.renown.org/give for more ways on how to help. For up-to-date information on Renown’s approach to keeping our community safe, visit our website at www.renown.org/covid-19/. About Renown Health Renown Health is a locally governed and locally owned, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of more than 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to continually improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org.