Considering the complex nature of the healthcare industry through the COVID-19 pandemic, the scope of hospital procedures and guidelines have changed frequently.
Sierra View Medical Center stated it wants to be as transparent as possible when it comes to those guidelines
Sierra View is required to comply with several guidelines and procedure requirements. “These are put into place to ensure and maintain a safe environment for patients, staff, and visitors,” the hospital stated. “Additional procedures are put into place in order to reduce the spread of infectious diseases and viruses such as during flu season or the current pandemic.
“Adding industry-wide and ever-changing pandemic related procedures that were recommended on a national, state, and county level, have been put into place for the safety of patients, staff and communities for the duration of the pandemic, but have also presented much reason to further communicate out to the community.”
Sierra View's guidelines include:
Sierra View follows a procedure where patients are tested based on their conditions. The protocol has also been to acquire a confirmatory PCR test from Tulare County Public Health when a patient presents any signs or symptoms of COVID. The test performed at SVMC is a polymerase chain reaction test but in the case of symptoms and a negative test at SVMC, it's sent to Tulare Public Health and Human Services for a more sensitive PCR test.
The hospital has had to follow strict visitation guidelines that are provided by Tulare County Health and Human Services, California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control. At the start of the pandemic, Sierra View had a no visitor policy that didn’t allow visitors other than for end-of-life patients — allowing one designated family member who had no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and weren't in the process of being tested for COVID-19 to visit. In the event a COVID positive or a patient suspected to have COVID-19 (those who were awaiting their test results) was determined to be at the end-of-life, one visitor was allowed to visit, but not allowed in the room. Currently, any patient who has COVID symptoms is tested and that patient is cared for in a designated area for suspected COVID-19 patients. Following the guidance from the state and county, Sierra View follows the same COVID positive protocols for suspect COVID cases which include the visitation policy.
At the time of no visitation, to assist in updating a patient’s family or loved one on their status, Sierra View worked with the designated person chosen by the patient for all communications. In the event a COVID positive or COVID suspect patient is determined to be at the end of life, current procedure allows for two visitors. As of late March, the current policy changed in alignment with CDPH to have up to two visitors for end-of-life and for several areas of the hospital. All recent visitation guidelines can be found by visiting sierra-view.com and searching “visiting guidelines.”
Per Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ guidelines, Sierra View has 30 days to complete an investigation once a complaint is brought forth. This is to ensure a thorough investigation is completed.
Any patient who has encountered an issue while at Sierra View facilities may file their complaint using the patient grievance process. Information about filing a complaint or grievance is posted throughout Sierra View or is available by calling the hospital’s Risk Department, (559) 788-6191. At that point, further discussion regarding the details of their visit can be discussed.
“Sierra View’s policies and procedures are comprehensive guidelines to ensure the organization is complying with rules and regulations,” the hospital stated. “While COVID-19 safety measures and guidelines are from the county or state, they provide information to support individual health care facilities or health system operations. They do not replace the judgment of operational management medical directors, legal advisors, or clinical staff.”