Expanded test processing capabilities is resulting in faster test results, lessening the load on the state lab, and helping keep patients, care providers and the community safe. Renown Health announced today that its in-house laboratory is now able to process up to 500 COVID-19 tests for hospital patients and care providers each day. The organization has invested in expanded test processing capabilities to better serve the community amid the coronavirus pandemic, and to increase testing available across the state. Next month, Renown anticipates continuing to further expand testing capacity and doubling its capacity to be able to provide 1,000 tests per day in preparation for the continued response to the pandemic. “The COVID-19 pandemic is not going away- it is still with us. I am concerned by the number of new cases and hospitalizations we are seeing across northern Nevada. We must do more testing. We need broader capabilities around making sure we have broad-scale surge testing available, so we can help people identify if they have COVID-19 or not,” said Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, Renown’s President & CEO. “If I could test 60,000 people in northern Nevada for COVID-19, like we did for the Healthy Nevada Project, we could better understand with data and facts the proportion of people who actually have COVID-19 versus those that just have the sniffles and a cold.” Launched in 2016, the Healthy Nevada Project https://healthynv.org/ is a community-based population study where free genetic testing is provided to thousands of Nevadans to learn about the health of the community and each person’s genetic risks. As of Tuesday, 2,286 people in northern Nevada have been tested, and positive cases were nearing 700. Seventy four people in northern Nevada have died; 1,526 have recovered. https://www.washoecounty.us/health/programs Dr. Slonim says it would help him and others make important decisions and plans for coronavirus with evidence. He wants to be able to test many more individuals across northern Nevada. “Testing is pivotal upstream, so you can prevent consequences downstream,” said Dawn D. Ahner, DSc, FACHE, Chief Operating Officer – Renown Acute Services. “By processing our own tests, we’ve reduced the turnaround to receive results to just 12-24 hours, which will have a profoundly positive impact on our community, and lightens the load on the State lab. “Testing is an incredibly important tool in our fight against coronavirus,” said Tim Stephens, vice president of ancillary services. “There's no 100% perfect test, however, the PCR tests are so incredibly sensitive, that when done perfectly, have a very low false-positive rate. Certified labs like Renown’s use a number of procedures to reduce the risk of false test results.” “The expansion of our lab’s new testing capabilities during this time is a testament to the innovative and important work being done here at Renown,” said Erik Olson, CEO of Renown Regional Medical Center. “Throughout the pandemic, our ancillary team, which includes services like laboratory, radiology and pharmacy, has been quick to adapt to the needs of our patients and our community. I am pleased that we are able to generate critical test results for patients and providers as we continue the fight against COVID-19 and go the extra mile for safety.” Going the extra mile for safety As an added safety measure, acute hospital patients; patients preparing for surgery, and care providers who may have come into contact with those positive for COVID-19, are among those that receive mandatory PCR testing from Renown at this time. For patients receiving hospital care, these tests help determine if patients should be placed in a designated area of the hospital to mitigate the risk of transmission to those not infected. Furthermore, all surgery patients are tested ahead of their surgery and self-quarantine prior to their surgical procedure at Renown Regional Medical Center and Renown South Meadows Medical Center. How do PCR tests work? PCR tests use a sample of mucus typically taken from a person's nose or throat. The test looks for the genetic material of the coronavirus, using a technology called PCR to detect if the viral genetic material is present. Those actively infected with the virus will show the existence of that material. Individuals who think they should be tested for COVID-19 are encouraged to call their medical provider or contact the Washoe County Health District at 775-328-2427 for a risk assessment. For up-to-date information on Renown’s approach to keeping our community safe, visit our website at renown.org/covid-19/. Please see b-roll for this story here. 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.
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.
Three Los Angeles teens rallied their high school classmates to raise funds and donate more than 1,300 face masks for Renown Health employees. While many teens reflected on missed milestones like prom and graduation that didn’t happen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, three high school seniors from Los Angeles felt inspired to make a difference. Friends Jessica Gestetner, Amanda Rosenthal and Katherine Konvitz organized a fundraising campaign with their classmates and purchased over 1,300 face masks for staff at Renown Health. “My friends and I wanted to help our doctors and nurses because they are out saving lives while we are all fortunate enough to remain at home and healthy,” said Gestetner “We raised over $3,500 and spent it buying KN-95 masks for the heroes at Renown. This was our way of thanking all the healthcare workers for their selfless service.” Why did these LA teens choose Renown Health for this donation? Katherine Konvitz has a family friend who works at Renown, which is how the teens first learned about the organization’s call for community support to gather face masks and other personal protective equipment. Thanks to this significant donation, Renown exceeded its goal of securing 10,000 community-donated face masks to benefit employees working on the frontline to help keep the community safe. “I can only imagine how difficult these times are for our youth, as they’re unable to go to school, spend time with their friends and experience all the activities that are seen as a rite of passage to many,” said Tony Slonim, MD, D.Ph., president and CEO of Renown Health. “I applaud the incredible act of kindness displayed by Jessica, Amanda and Katherine to give back to our staff, despite the challenging circumstances. We are extremely fortunate to have the generosity and support of northern Nevadans and people across the country as we work to improve the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve.” Aside from their face mask contribution, Ms. Gestetner, Rosenthal and Konvitz also made a financial donation to Renown’s Healthcare Workers Greatest Needs fund, where donations are directed to address the highest needs our healthcare teams are currently facing as they continue to screen, diagnose and care for patients with respiratory illness, including COVID-19. For others interested in making a tax-deductible donation of Personal Protective Equipment, Meals, Financial Donations or Thank You notes, you can go to renown.org/donations-covid-19/ or contact Renown Health Foundation, 245 E Liberty St #400, Reno, NV 89501. Phone: (775) 982-5545 Renown continues to welcome donations of masks, gowns and surgical caps and appreciates the support of our community. Donations are accepted through the main entrance at the Tahoe Tower of Renown Regional Medical Center. Please let the security staff know you are dropping off donations for the mask donation drive and these items will be marked accordingly. All handcrafted masks, gowns and surgical caps are laundered and sanitized before distribution to appropriate areas. In addition to the personal protective equipment Renown has received during these unprecedented times, people have thanked care providers through hundreds of notes and cards, as well as numerous generous meal donations for frontline staff. These donations have a tremendous impact on Renown’s ability to continue to provide quality care in northern Nevada despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.