COVID Updates

Thursday, March 25, 2021
UPDATES: COVID-19 VACCINATION ACIVITY ACROSS UNITY


Vaccination Event at DC Convention Center: What better way to promote #CommunityImmunity than with a vaccination event?! On Saturday, April 3, Unity, partnered with DC Health, will host a mass vaccination event at the DC Convention Center.

Through vaccination clinics in Unity Health Centers, we have effectively reached and prioritized Unity patients interested in being immunized for COVID-19; however, we know the demand and need for COVID-19 vaccinations goes far beyond health center capacity. DC Health recognizes Unity’s important role as a trusted community partner, and the upcoming vaccination events and others like them allow Unity to extend outreach beyond our patient base and directly into the communities we serve.

We are looing for volunteersThe coordinators of the April 3 event are looking for non-clinical volunteers to serve as way-finders for folks seeking vaccinations! Interested in serving as a non-clinical volunteer? Contact Joanne Cameron. Providers interested in signing up as clinical volunteers can contact Nicole Davis for more information.

Vaccinations for ALL Unity Staff: ALL UNITY EMPLOYEES interested in being vaccinated can still receive a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through the Staff Vaccination Sign-Up Form. If you marked “not ready, but maybe later,” or previously marked that you were not interested, and have changed your mind, you can complete the survey again to update your response. Interested employees will be contacted to sign up for an appointment slot when they are eligible. Please note, this sign-up method is only available to Unity employees. Anyone who is not a Unity employee or contractor cannot be accommodated through this tool and should be directed to the health department in the jurisdiction in which they live or the preregistration form on the Unity website.
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What You Need to Know | Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine: On Feb. 27, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued Emergency Use Authorization for a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Unity Health Centers do not yet have stock of the J&J vaccine, but we expect to be able to offer it as an option to our patients soon. Below are key facts about the J&J vaccine to share with patients and loved ones. Click here to learn more.

  • In clinical trials, the J&J vaccine was 66.3% effective at preventing confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who had no evidence of prior infection, with recipients showing the most protection 2 weeks after getting vaccinated.
  • The J&J vaccine had high efficacy at preventing hospitalization and death in people who did get sick. No one who got COVID-19 at least 4 weeks after receiving the J&J vaccine had to be hospitalized.
  • Because the J&J vaccine is single-dose, it eases the process of becoming fully vaccinated by eliminating the need for a follow-up appointment. Through this simplified process Unity could smoothly immunize more people, particularly our most vulnerable patients experiencing homelessness or residing at the DOC.
  • Gathering stock of the J&J vaccine can allow Unity to offer patients a choice to select a vaccine that works best for their lifestyle and circumstances. If a patient wants the J&J vaccine, they can ask for it, and our providers can help them make an informed choice.

Pre-RegisterPatient Eligibility and Pre-Registration: Unity patients 45+ years of age with qualifying medical conditions are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through our clinics. PLEASE continue pre-registering all patients 18+ years of age through the easy-to-find spot on the Unity website shown here OR follow these steps to pre-register your patients straight through a progress note or a telephone encounter in eCW.

gender of vaccined DC ResidentsSpecial Note: In DC, and across the country, fewer men are getting the COVID-19 vaccination, despite experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 mortality. Let’s take initiative to get male patients registered for a vaccination appointment so we can reduce this disparity. In the community, reach out to the men in your life, and encourage them to get vaccinated!

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


Colorectal Awareness Month - MarchCOVID-19 Vaccine Pop-Up and 5k at Parkside: This Saturday, March 27, beginning at 10 a.m., Parkside Health Center is hosting its inaugural Wakanda Forever Colon Cancer Awareness 5k and a CoVax-Fit Clinic! The health center will be rocking with vendors, raffles, and opportunities for same day colon cancer screenings with FIT testing and COVID-19 vaccines for those that qualify.

African Americans have the highest incidence and mortality rates of colorectal cancer of any ethnic group in the U.S., and according to a 2019 study, DC had the highest disparities in the country. Wear Blue or your favorite Black Panther gear, and join your Parkside colleagues to honor the late Chadwick Boseman and bring awareness to the community for this preventable, treatable, and beatable cancer. Can't wait to see you there!

Protect Our PeopleThis month, we launched the Protect Our People campaign by creating and utilizing messages that will educate and encourage our patients and community in preventing the spread of COVID-19 through both increased testing and vaccination awareness. Recently Dr. Jessica Boyd-Henderson promoted the POP campaign in a WJLA interview discussing the critical importance of staying safe during the pandemic and getting vaccinated.


REMINDERS


Patient Safety Awareness Week: Patient Safety Awareness Week may be over, but you can still help us track Unity’s progress in promoting patient safety by completing the 2021 AHRQ Medical Office Patient Safety Culture Survey. If you look carefully, there could be a prize in it for you!

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to recovery programs in the area. Click the following links for more on the MedStar COVID Recovery Program and the GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.


MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Infusions: Providers can complete this form to refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria.

Quick Links: COVID-19 Vaccine Patient Education Materials



Quick Links


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Supporting the Asian American Pacific Islander Community


We stand with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) AAPI community in the aftermath of the senseless shooting in Atlanta that resulted in the deaths of 8 people, including six Asian American women, and has left us heartbroken. While we are still learning the details, this incident is the tipping point among a year’s worth of devastating hateful speech and actions targeting the Asian American community since the start of the pandemic. As an organization we stand up and speak out, together, strongly against hate, discrimination and violence in any form. Hate instead of science has percolated at all levels of this conversation and has an impact on our community’s physical and emotional health. Be an ally - we can use our voices to speak out, and we can stand up in solidarity in support of our patients, colleagues, and neighbors in the AAPI community. We are committed to provide a space for healing during this difficult time and to make our community a safer place for all people.

Unity Vaccine Priorities: Additional Eligible Groups


We continue to make a strong push to vaccinate our frontline staff and patients most vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infection - including patients 65+, patients without housing, and patients in congregate housing settings, we’re also preparing to expand our vaccination services to additional groups and through new access points.

Starting Friday, March 19th, Unity patients ages 45 years and older with qualifying medical conditions* are now eligible to receive the vaccine. While we are prioritizing this group along with patients age 65+, those who are ages 18 – 64 with medical conditions are strongly encouraged to pre-register as they may be able to get appointments as capacity allows.

COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization and Timeline


Qualified Medical Conditions

*Qualified Medical Conditions:
To ensure consistency on qualified medical conditions, we are following DC Health guidance for vaccine eligibility.





10,000 Shots Administered!


Unity has officially administered more than 10,000 combined first and second dose shots of the Moderna vaccine to staff, healthcare workers, and patients! This is a collective effort that all members of Unity staff play a vital role. Thank you all for your hard work as we remain dedicated to stopping the spread of COVID-19.

COVID Vaccine Dashboard 3-18-21

10000 Shot Administered












ADDITIONAL UPDATES


HPI Created in eCW: Please continue to pre-register your patients so they can be notified when appointments are available in our vaccine clinics! This can either be done via the link on the website or now straight from eCW. Click Here for screenshots of how to get your patient pre-registered without ever leaving eCW, through a progress note or a telephone encounter. Each day we will run a report for patients who have indicated that they are interested in receiving the vaccine and add the names to the pre-registration list.

Updated Homepage with Pre-Registration Link: We heard you! Based on feedback, we have updated the website to easily find and complete the vaccine pre-registration form. You can also direct patients to learn more about the vaccine and our services by visiting https://www.unityhealthcare.org/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine.

After Hours Update: We’re happy to share a more efficient way for patients to access medical advice after-hours. Previously, patients had to call 301-953-4574 for assistance after regular hours. We’ve now updated the system for patients to call our main number at 202-469-4699 and press option 2 to get in contact with the nurse advice line to connect with the on-call provider after 5 pm Monday - Thursday and 5pm Friday until 8am Monday

Healow | Mobile Check-In: Good News! On March 8th, we launched a new check-in feature as part of the New Patient Registration Experience. This feature allows for patients to confirm their appointment and complete the check-in process to notify Unity staff that they have arrived at their health center from the convenience of their mobile device. Since the launch, 50% of patient appointments used this feature!

2021 Patient Safety Week Awareness 3-18-21

Patient Safety Awareness Week
is in full swing! Help us track Unity’s progress in promoting patient safety by completing the 2021 AHRQ Medical Office Patient Safety Culture Survey. If you look carefully, there could be a prize in it for you!

Tell us what patient safety means to YOU by sharing a picture or phrase on social media. Tag Unity Health Care and use #PSAW21 to make sure we see it!

Protect Our People: Recently Dr. Jessica Boyd-Henderson was interviewed as a part of the Protect Our People campaign on the critical importance of continuing the conversation of staying safe during the pandemic and getting the vaccine. Click here to view the entire interview!

Lunch & Learns with Johns Hopkins Kimmel Center at Sibley: The Johns Hopkins Cancer Center at Sibley is hosting a 5-part series of Zoom sessions covering screening guidelines, health equity, and more, related to cancer care. The series will kick off Friday, March 12, at 1 p.m. with a discussion on colorectal cancer. Click here to learn more.

REMINDERS


Unity Staff Vaccination Sign-Up: Eligible employees can still receive a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through Unity's Staff Vaccination Sign-Up Form. If you marked “not ready, but maybe later,” or previously marked that you were not interested, and have changed your mind, you can complete the form again to update your response. Interested employees will be contacted to sign up for an appointment slot when they are eligible.

MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Infusions: Providers can complete this form to refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to recovery programs in the area. Click the following links for more on the MedStar COVID Recovery Program and the GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

 

Quick Links: COVID-19 Vaccine Patient Education Materials


 

Quick Links


 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Accelerating Pre-Registration for Vaccination Appointments


Pre-registering Unity patients for COVID-19 vaccination is essential to keeping our vaccine rollout efficient and ensuring we reach our most vulnerable patients first. Through our pre-registration list, we have contacted more than 1,000 eligible patients interested in vaccination. The pre-registration form has been revised to include the full list of qualifying health conditions, an option to select a preferred site, and need for various communication methods. We are committed to continuing and improving on the pre-registration process, but we need your help to get our patients vaccinated!

ANY Unity Patient Can Pre-Register

We have a growing stock of vaccine doses, and we want to utilize it all. This helps to ensure we continue to have vaccine in the future, particularly as confidence in the vaccine builds in our community. Vaccination appointments will continue to be scheduled for our prioritized groups first, but pre-registering as many Unity patients through pre-registration form as possible will allow us to smoothly expand our outreach and distribution to other groups as supply and demand grows! Patients can register while they are in the health centers, or anywhere with internet access.

ANY Unity Staff Member Can Help

vax-register QR codeAny Unity staff member can add patients to our list through the pre-registration form. The form is designed to be accessed easily and completed quickly. Any staff member interacting with patients can (and should!) ask if they are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine. If a patient is interested, they can use their mobile device to pull up this easy-to-remember link, rebrand.ly/unity-covid-vax-register, or the QR code shown here and they will be brought straight to the form. Patients can also access the form whenever they like through the COVID-19 Vaccine button on the Unity website.

If a patient is interested but struggles with technology, any Unity staff member can take a few minutes to pull up the form through these methods and register the patient themselves! Thank you for taking time to help someone get signed up. It could save their life!

Patient Isn't Sure If They’ve Already Pre-Registered? Sign Them Up Again!

It's better to pre-register a patient twice than not at all. We are able to filter duplicates out of the list, but we can't smoothly reach out to a patient that hasn’t been pre-registered.

Unity Vaccine Priorities: 65+ Patient Outreach, Preparing for Additional Groups

We continue to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations for Unity patients age 65 and older. If demand in this group slows, we will extend our outreach to other groups at highest risk of morbidity and mortality, starting with those in Phase 3 of our rollout - Unity patients 45 and older with qualifying conditions - as supply and capacity allow. Through the next two weeks, we will be making a strong push to reach Unity patients 65 and older through direct mail, phone calls, text messaging, and other methods to make sure they know they are eligible to request an appointment through Unity.

Please Note: Since we have reached the majority of 65+ patients on the registration list, any Unity patient age 65 and older can be added into to the schedule of our COVID-19 vaccination clinics for an appointment. We are only scheduling 2 weeks out at this time. Scheduling any further out may result in patient rescheduling in the case of a supply issue.

COVID 19 Prioritization and Timeline

Coming Soon: New Vaccine Access Points


Over the next 2-3 weeks, we will be adding vaccine distribution sites, likely at Minnesota Avenue and Anacostia Health Centers, and possibly East of the River. We also plan to hold vaccine events as an opportunity to increase capacity when supply is available.

While primary care remains our focus, offering COVID-19 vaccines through these sites increases vaccine accessibility and provides the opportunity for Unity patients to receive the vaccine in a familiar environment through providers they know and trust.

There are many organizations - pharmacies, grocery stores, health departments - that will serve as mass vaccination sites in the months to come. Though this is not the specific role Unity will fill in the broader vaccination picture, we are uniquely positioned as a community partner to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to our patients who have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic and may not be able to navigate other access points for vaccination.

We know that adding these additional COVID-19 vaccine distribution clinics will be huge lift for all of the teams involved, but this effort is so important to building #CommunityImmunity against COVID-19 and bringing an end to the pandemic.

ADDITIONAL UPDATES


Thank you Dental AssistantMonday, March 7 marked the beginning of Dental Assistants Recognition Week. On behalf of Unity’s Dental Department, Dr. Cassandra Wright shared these words of gratitude:

“We want to recognize the versatile and multi-talented dental assistants that enhance patient satisfaction and provide quality dental care year-round. They are a key part to our dental team, and we appreciate all that they do!”

2021 Patient Safety Awareness

We’re days away from Patient Safety Awareness Week! One of Unity’s 2021 goals is improving patient identification practices across the organization.
Next week, you’ll see tips and useful info related to this effort, but you can kickoff the festivities early by completing the 2021 AHRQ Medical Office Patient Safety Culture Survey. Look carefully, there could be a prize in it for you! 

Tell us what patient safety means to YOU by sharing a picture or phrase on social media. Tag Unity Health Care and use #PSAW21 to make sure we see it!

Lunch & Learns with Johns Hopkins Kimmel Center at Sibley: The Johns Hopkins Cancer Center at Sibley is hosting a 5-part series of Zoom sessions covering screening guidelines, health equity, and more, related to cancer care. The series will kick off Friday, March 12, at 1 p.m. with a discussion on colorectal cancer. Click here to learn more.

REMINDERS


Unity Staff Vaccination Sign-Up: Eligible employees can still receive a COVID-19 vaccination appointment through Unity's Staff Vaccination Sign-Up Form. If you marked “not ready, but maybe later,” or previously marked that you were not interested, and have changed your mind, you can complete the form again to update your response. Interested employees will be contacted to sign up for an appointment slot when they are eligible.

MedStar Health Monoclonal Antibody Infusions: Providers can complete this form to refer eligible patients for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. Click here to view eligibility criteria.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: Patients suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection may be eligible for referral to recovery programs in the area. Click the following links for more on the MedStar COVID Recovery Program and the GW COVID-19 Recovery Clinic.

 

Quick Links: COVID-19 Vaccine Patient Education Materials



 

Quick Links


 



Friday, March 5, 2021

Unity Vaccine Priorities


Vaccinating Unity patients to protect them from COVID-19 is one of our highest clinical priorities. We are proud to have started vaccinating our community in late December, and our process of COVID-19 vaccine distribution continues to evolve to best meet their needs. Early on, we were able to maintain close alignment with DC’s Phased Vaccination Rollout Program. In the current phase of vaccination, we have been able to shift our priorities to place Unity patients at the forefront, particularly those at highest risk of morbidity and mortality.

We are currently vaccinating Unity patients ages 65+ and will soon begin vaccinating those with chronic conditions. We are stocked with an increased supply of vaccine doses, so please pre-register any patients interested in receiving the vaccine through our COVID-19 Vaccine Request Form to ensure they can be scheduled for appointments appropriately.

While we may be the only access point to vaccination for some, patients are encouraged to explore all avenues to receive vaccination. It is important for health center staff to stay up-to-date on the DC-wide rollout phases to direct our patients to all available resources.

COVID 19 Prioritization and Timeline

ADDITIONAL UPDATES




Employess Exposure Trend 3-5-21UPDATE to Infection Control Guidance: In the past two weeks, 6 Unity staff members have been placed on isolation or quarantine, and 3 known staff members have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Do your part to maintain a safe environment in our health centers and preserve our important PPE stock by adhering to updated Infection Control guidance measures related to proper masking.

  • We prefer for healthcare personnel (those with direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious material) to wear a KN95 mask.
  • Healthcare personnel who choose to wear a surgical mask should maximize protection by improving the fit and filtration of their surgical mask by either wearing a cloth mask over the surgical mask, or by using the “knot and tuck” method detailed below.
  • Patients and visitors who have a cloth mask or face covering will be given a surgical mask to wear either by itself or underneath their cloth face covering.
  • N95 respirators should continue to be reserved only for those interacting directly with patients in our COVID-19 rapid evaluation clinics.
  • With the spread of COVID-19 variants on the rise, many experts are encouraging double masking and other methods to create a tighter seal around your face. Double masking is not required at Unity locations, but is recommended when appropriate.
3-15-2021 12-49-05 PM

Click here to access the latest version of IC guidance through the Clinical Resource Library.

Provider Referral for Monoclonal Antibody Infusion: MedStar Health is now offering Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Infusions at three outpatient locations throughout DC and Maryland. Providers can refer eligible patients to the treatment program directly through this form. Click here to view eligibility criteria.

Opening a ChartImproving Patient Identification: 
Opening a chart for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment? Make sure you choose the right patient by doing a 4-point chart check. Being consistent with these checks ensures information is being routed to the right people, helping reduce in-clinic errors and increasing patient safety. At least 2 patient identifiers should be verified any time a new member of the care team touches a chart or t-con.

Improving our patient identification practices is one of Unity’s key messages for this year’s Patient Safety Awareness (PSA) Week. In addition to sticking to the 4-point check, help us kickoff the PSA Week by completing the 2021 AHRQ Medical Office Patient Safety Culture Survey. If you make it all the way to the end, there could be a prize in it for you!

REMINDERS


Not Too Late! Unity Staff Vaccination Sign-Up: Eligible employees can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity! When completing the Staff Vaccination Sign-Up Form, if you marked “not ready, but maybe later,” or previously marked that you were not interested, and have changed your mind, you can complete the form again to update your response. Click here to complete the short internal form again and register for the opportunity to receive a vaccination appointment. Employees that express interest through the form will be contacted to sign up for an appointment slot when they are eligible.

COVID-19 Recovery Program: A growing number of patients are suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection. Referral programs in DC, hosted through GW and Medstar, are offering coordinated access to specialists to support patients through their recovery process. Read more about the programs and the referral process through the links below to assess whether your patients may qualify.

Patient Education & the COVID-19 Vaccine: Many patients are struggling to navigate misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines. Providers and nurses can serve as a trusted voice of expertise. During face-to-face and telehealth interactions with patients, seize the opportunity to ask if they have specific questions, concerns, or barriers related to the vaccine. Directly address their concerns, provide answers when possible, and direct them towards available resources for more information.


Quick Links




Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Recognizing Black History Month


As February comes to an end, we reflect on Black History Month, a time to celebrate the many great achievements of the African American community and honor the significance of their contributions to all facets of life and society throughout history.

Amanda Gorman QuoteFor nearly a year, we have witnessed COVID-19 disproportionately affect these, and other, communities of color. This pandemic continues to highlight the disproportionate impact of race on health and mortality, but alongside hardships, we bear witness to incredible feats of Black Excellence - from the diligence of frontline workers that have kept our country moving, to the leadership of immunologist, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, in the development of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Let us remember that Black History is American History and should be recognized, celebrated, and fought for this month, and every month.


Unity Vaccine Update


Last week, we received a large shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses. We expect to receive additional shipments in the upcoming weeks, including a large number of federally granted doses. With these supplies, we will resume regular operations in our COVID-19 vaccine clinics and begin to re-open COVID-19 vaccination appointments to Unity patients ages 65 and up, as well as Unity patients who work in health care facilities.

Please continue to encourage any patients interested in getting the vaccine to register their contact information through the form on the Unity website to be notified as appointments become available and as we begin to expand appointment availability to other eligible groups.

DC-Wide Vaccine Update


As of Feb. 18, individuals that work in manufacturing and/or food packaging are eligible to sign up for vaccination at https://coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccinatedc under DC’s prioritized rollout. DC Health released 2,450 available appointment slots on Feb.19, prioritizing scheduling for several zip codes in Wards 5,7, and 8.

DC is Now Vaccinating

qualifying medical conditionsOn Mar. 1, DC will begin Phase 1C, Tier 1 of the phased rollout, making any DC Residents ages 16-64 years old with qualifying medical conditions eligible to sign up for a vaccination appointment through https://coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccinatedc.

Additionally, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Feb. 18 Situational Update featured a data breakdown of how COVID-19 vaccines have been administered throughout the District. Click here to view the full update.




REMINDERS


COVID-19 Recovery Program: A growing number of patients are suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection. Referral programs in DC, hosted through GW and Medstar, are offering coordinated access to specialists to support patients through their recovery process. Read more about the programs and the referral process through the links below to assess whether your patients may qualify.

Patient Education & the COVID-19 Vaccine: Many patients are struggling to navigate misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines. Providers and nurses can serve as a trusted voice of expertise. During face-to-face and telehealth interactions with patients, seize the opportunity to ask if they have specific questions, concerns, or barriers related to the vaccine. Directly address their concerns, provide answers when possible, and direct them towards available resources for more information.

Answers to COVID-19 Vaccine Submissions, 1/5/21 Q&A

Webinar: COVID-19 + Unity Operations, 1/5/21 Recording

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine: CDC Homepage, CDC

Recipient Education, CDC

8 Things to Know about the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program, CDC

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ, DC Health

Considerations for Persons with Underlying Conditions, CDC

Explaining mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines CheatSheet, CDC

COVID-19: Myths and Facts, CDC


Quick Links





Thursday, February 18, 2021

Weather Alert: Unity Closed Thursday, February 18


Due to expected inclement weather, Unity Health Centers will be closed and will operate via telework and telehealth only to see patients today, Thursday, February 18.

Staff that are not currently teleworking or approved for telework will be off and receive ADMIN Time. ISAQ and Christ House sites will remain open. DOC employees should refer to the DOC Inclement Weather Policy and follow supervisor instructions. Additional questions should be discussed with your direct manager.

Thank you to all who are able to provide care through telemedicine! We are grateful for the access you provide to our patients despite the winter storm. Offering telemedicine visits when our health centers are not able to open is an important way to maintain our patients’ access to care and support the financial health of our organization.

Patients with appointments scheduled for tomorrow have been or will be notified by telephone and through the patient portal that they will be contacted for a telemedicine appointment around the time of their scheduled appointment.

To set themselves up for success, providers should monitor their schedules to be aware of scheduled patient visits and begin efforts to convert patient appointments to telehealth and cancel/reschedule onsite appointments that cannot be converted as appropriate. The Patient Scheduling Center will remain open tomorrow and will be working to schedule patients into open slots throughout the day for providers scheduled to work.

Staff that are approved for telework and have signed the telework agreement but are not able to work tomorrow for any reason (e.g., childcare) should notify their supervisor.

COVID-19 Q&A: During this month’s first Tuesday webinars, Drs. Jessica Boyd, Ryan Buchholz, Crysta Chatman, and others collected a wide range of questions from staff related to COVID-19. Click here to check out the full list of answers.

ADDITIONAL UPDATES


COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments: As we receive additional COVID-19 vaccine supplies, we are beginning to resume regular operations in our COVID-19 vaccine clinics. However, our current vaccine stock remains limited.

Appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations will be prioritized for vulnerable groups that meet DC’s vaccine rollout criteria and through our internal registration list. Patients whose first vaccine dose appointments were cancelled due to supply limitations will also be prioritized.

Please continue to encourage any patients interested in getting the vaccine to register their contact information through the form on the Unity website to be notified as appointments become available.

Telehealth Guidance: Since the early days of this pandemic, telehealth visits have been essential to safely connecting patients to care and sustaining Unity’s financial and organizational health. Telehealth is still, and will continue to be, a preferred method of patient care for many types of visits in the foreseeable future.

Providers should use their discretion when determining the most appropriate channel for care, but this Guidance on Scheduling In-Clinic and Telehealth Visits can help all members of the care team direct patients to quality services in the safest, most appropriate setting.

Shout Out: Rapid Evaluation Tents 
Through rain and shine (and several other weather patterns!), the folks staffing and facilitating our rapid respiratory evaluation clinics have been a key piece of the District’s infection control strategy. Below is graph reflecting the past 11 months of our COVID-19 testing data. Thank you for flexibility, endurance, and innovation, and keep up the great work!

11 months of COVID-19 Data


REMINDERS


COVID-19 Recovery Program: A growing number of patients are suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection. Referral programs in DC, hosted through GW and Medstar, are offering coordinated access to specialists to support patients through their recovery process. Read more about the programs and the referral process through the links below to assess whether your patients may qualify.

Unity Staff Vaccination Sign-Up: Unity employees eligible in Phase 1A and 1B that have not yet been vaccinated can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity. Sign-up for the opportunity to receive a vaccination appointment through this short internal survey.

If you previously marked that you were not interested in receiving the vaccine, but have since changed your mind, you can complete the survey again to update your response. Employees that have already completed the survey and marked that they were interested will be contacted to sign up for an appointment slot when their prioritization group is eligible.

Patient Education & the COVID-19 Vaccine: Many patients are struggling to navigate misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines. Providers and nurses can serve as a trusted voice of expertise. During face-to-face and telehealth interactions with patients, seize the opportunity to ask if they have specific questions, concerns, or barriers related to the vaccine. Directly address their concerns, provide answers when possible, and direct them towards available resources for more information.


Quick Links


 



Thursday, February 11, 2021
Guidance on Scheduling COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments



Information from Unity Health Care on COVID-19Due to current limitations on vaccine stock and appointment capacity, staff should not add first dose COVID-19 appointments to schedules at this time. Instead, please encourage any patients interested in getting the vaccine to register their contact information through this link (also available on the Unity website) to receive a notification when more appointments become available. We are assessing how to best accommodate demand while our supply is limited and fluctuating.



Continuing Patient Education on COVID-19 Vaccine: While we temporarily hold on scheduling new COVID-19 vaccine appointments, we should zero in on any opportunities to communicate with patients about vaccine safety and efficacy.

Many patients may be struggling to navigate misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines. Providers and nurses can serve as a trusted voice of expertise. Seize the opportunity to ask patients if they have specific questions, concerns, or barriers related to the vaccine during face-to-face interactions with patients in the clinics for other appointments or accessing care through telemedicine. Directly address their concerns, provide answers when possible, and point them towards available resources for more information.


ADDITIONAL UPDATES


02-11-21 employees expusuresEmployee Exposure and Travel Guidance: We are coming up on the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic taking hold in the U.S. The vaccine rollout provides a light at the end of the tunnel, but the spread of COVID-19 and its new, more contagious, variants continues across the country, and Unity is experiencing higher rates of rates of employees who have been infected or exposed.

Last week, we recorded 5 cases of staff being placed on isolation or quarantine, and 3 known staff members were positively diagnosed with COVID-19. Be smart; be courteous; stay home when you’re sick, and practice appropriate infection control measures – wearing a mask, physically distancing, washing your hands, etc. – both inside and outside of the workplace.

Guidance on International Travel: New guidance from the Biden administration and the CDC requires all air passengers coming into the U.S. after international travel, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight entering the U.S.

We recommend Unity employees traveling internationally allot an additional 37.5-40 hours of leave when planning international travel in the case that they receive a positive COVID-19 test result or experience delays in receiving test results.

Guidance on Domestic Travel: Unity staff traveling domestically should continue to follow local guidance related to travel restrictions and complete the “Travel Information Required” portion of the Application for Leave form whenever traveling outside of the surrounding area.

COVID-19 Recovery Programs: A growing number of patients are suffering from persistent COVID-19 symptoms weeks after initial infection. Referrals programs in DC, hosted through GW and Medstar, are offering coordinated access to specialists to support patients through their recovery process. Read more about the programs and the referral process through the links below to assess whether your patients may qualify.

REMINDERS


Dont Forget Vaccine CardDon’t Forget Your Card: After receiving your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what vaccine you received, the date you received it, where you received it, and when your second dose should be administered. Bring that card to your appointment when receiving your second dose so both doses can be documented on the same card.

Unity Staff Vaccination Sign-Up: Unity employees eligible in Phase 1A and 1B that have not yet been vaccinated can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity. Sign-up for the opportunity to receive a vaccination appointment through this short internal survey.

If you previously marked that you were not interested in receiving the vaccine, but have since changed your mind, you can complete the survey again to update your response. Employees that have already completed the survey and marked that they were interested will be contacted to sign up for an appointment slot when their prioritization group is eligible.

Quick Links




Tuesday, February 9, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine: Unity Situation Update


COVID Vaccine situation update 2-09-21Through snow and ice, our COVID-19 vaccine clinics and distribution programs have been humming along. Since vaccine distribution began in December, we have administered 3,240 doses and counting.

Click here to read
Last week marked the launch of vaccine distribution in the city's PEP-V locations and the DOC. To date, nearly 600 people experiencing homelessness have gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through these efforts, and yesterday 20+ residents at the DOC have received their first dose.




Vaccine doses remain limited throughout the District and Unity has also been affected. We are continuing to assess how we can best accommodate the demand for doses while balancing our current stock and capacity. We have very limited appointment availability over the next two weeks, but interested patients should still register at our website to be contacted when appointments become available. It is important that we continue sharing information about vaccine safety and efficacy throughout this rollout.

When working to schedule patients for COVID-19 vaccination, keep the following in mind

  • Due to the limited number of available doses, patients should not be scheduled for their first vaccine appointment more than two weeks out. Patients should continue to be scheduled for their second appointment 28 days after receiving their first dose.
  • If there are no appointments available in the VAXNURSE resources, the patient’s contact information can be registered at this link, and they will be notified when slots are added.
    • If a patient is not eligible for vaccination during this phase of the rollout, their contact information can also be registered to be notified when they become eligible. 
    • Patients can register their contact information through the Unity website or be registered by any Unity team member.
  • Outreach and scheduling efforts should focus on patients who are District residents. When patients who reside in another state are already in the health center, are in group 1a or 1b, and want to receive the vaccine, they should be able to access the vaccine.

ADDITIONAL UPDATES


Depression Screenings: Depression screenings should be carried out during every patient visit. Mental health struggles have become increasingly prevalent, as many patients face new and difficult circumstances, isolation, or grief related to the ongoing pandemic. Please ensure a PHQ-2 Form is completed with each visit to make certain we are meeting the full spectrum of our patients’ needs.

Re-Launch of Opioid Recovery Groups: Support Groups for patients in recovery from Opioid Use Disorder are available again! These groups are held virtually every Monday through Zoom and led by a mental health clinician. If you are interested in connecting a patient, please send a T-Con to Peer Support Worker, Barbara Jackson.

Dont Forget Vaccine CardDon’t Forget Your Card: After receiving your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what vaccine you received, the date you received it, where you received it, and when your second dose should be administered. Bring that card to your appointment when receiving your second dose so both doses can be documented on the same card.

Unity Staff Vaccination Sign-Up: Unity employees eligible in Phase 1A and 1B that have not yet been vaccinated can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity. Sign-up for the opportunity to receive a vaccination appointment through this short internal survey.

If you previously marked that you were not interested in receiving the vaccine, but have since changed your mind, you can complete the survey again to update your response. Employees that have already completed the survey and marked that they were interested will be contacted to sign up for an appointment slot when their prioritization group is eligible.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources


 

Quick Links


 


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Parkside Opening as COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Site


Effective tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 3, Parkside Health Center will open as Unity’s next COVID-19 vaccine distribution site. The Parkside COVID-19 vaccine clinic will be open 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Monday – Friday. Eligible patients from ANY Unity site can be scheduled for a vaccination appointment at Parkside, Brentwood, or Upper Cardozo Health Centers through the VAXNURSE resources in eCW.

Scheduling Unity Patients 65+ Years of Age for COVID-19 Vaccinations


Outreach tipStaff are strongly encouraged to proactively reach out to Unity patients 65+ years of age using the lists available to them, including lists generated by the Population Health team, and through registries available in Azara to determine if they would like to be scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.


Remember covid appointmentsIf there are no appointments available, patients can register their contact info at this link to be notified when slots are added. Patients can register themselves through the Unity website or be registered by any Unity team member. If patients outside of this prioritized group express interest in getting vaccinated, help them complete the registration form, and they will be contacted when appointments become available.




ADDITIONAL UPDATES


community webinar 2-2-21 reminderCommunity Live Webinar: The next all-staff CommUNITY Live webinar will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 12 p.m. Tune it through this Zoom link to hear the latest information about Unity operations and 2021 Strategic Goals.




Vaccine Distribution: DOC and Healthcare for the Homeless

COVID-19 vaccination events led by Unity’s Healthcare for the Homeless team in partnership with DC Department of Human Services are underway. In addition to vaccinating at the PEP-V sites this week, we will begin patient education townhalls at the low barrier shelters. Patient education events and vaccination clinics will be ongoing for our patients experiencing homelessness.

The DOC will also become a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site for their residents this week. This effort will require coordination and support across the organization to make sure DOC residents re-entering the community get their second doses to complete their vaccination series.

COVID-19 Results Through Text: We are continuing to leverage SMS text messaging as a method to smoothly and directly deliver COVID-19 test results to Unity patients with cell phone numbers listed in eCW.

This feature allows us to quickly reach a broad range of patients, including Spanish-speaking patients and patients that are not web-enabled. Below are example messages of what our patients are receiving through this program:


Patient with positive results

patient with negative results














To help this program run efficiently, staff should ensure patients have a verified and recorded cell phone number in the cell phone field during registration, and staff working in COVID-19 rapid evaluation clinics should remind patients to look out for a text notification when their results are available.

Additionally, please continue to encourage patients to sign up for the Unity portal and recommend the LabCorp portal as well. We want to present all available options for receiving COVID-19 test results to ensure we’re reaching as many patients as possible. Click here to review patient handouts with step-by-step guidance for retrieving results.

Unity Staff Vaccination Sign-Up: Unity employees eligible in Phase 1A and 1B that have not yet been vaccinated can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity. Sign-up for the opportunity to receive a vaccination appointment through this short internal survey.

If you previously marked that you were not interested in receiving the vaccine, but have since changed your mind, you can complete the survey again to update your response. Employees that have already completed the survey and marked that they were interested will be contacted to sign up for an appointment slot when their prioritization group is eligible.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources




Quick Links




Thursday, January 28, 2021

Prioritized Group Extended to Unity Patients 65+ Years of Age


Staff at ALL Unity locations can register and schedule any Unity patients ages 65 and older for COVID-19 vaccination appointments at our Brentwood or Upper Cardozo Health Centers.

  • Staff are strongly encouraged to proactively reach out to Unity patients in this prioritized group using the lists available to them, including lists generated by the Population Health team and through registries available in Azara, to determine if they would like to be scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Outreach Tip: Let the patient know you are calling on behalf of their regular provider, and use the provider’s name to make it more personal!
  • If there are no appointments available through the VAXNURSE resources in eCW, patients can register their contact info at this link to be notified when slots are added. Patients can register themselves or be registered by any Unity team member. If patients outside of the prioritized group express interest in the vaccine, help them complete this registration form, and they will be contacted when appointments become available.

The Importance of Reaching Out: COVID-19 vaccination appointments available through the DC Health portal have been filling up extremely quickly. While the communities Unity serves have been disproportionately impacted by this virus, the bulk of DC's vaccine appointments have so far gone to residents of Wards 3 and 1. Patients in this prioritized age group may also have trouble navigating the online vaccine registration process, making appointments more difficult to reserve. By proactively reaching out, registering, and scheduling our patients, we can ensure that some of Unity's most vulnerable patients have access to vaccination opportunities.

Data Snapshot: COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard + DC Situation Update


DC Situational Update 01-28Equitable access to care has been at the heart of our decision making during this pandemic. As we carry on with vaccination, we continue to look for ways to increase access to appointments and vaccine doses for our patients.

By identifying our own prioritized groups and actively reaching out to schedule them for vaccination appointments, we can help increase accessibility for our patients.

We will also be using the vaccine dashboard you see below to monitor the age, gender, and ethnicity of the patients Unity is vaccinating to ensure we’re meeting the needs of all members of our patient community. Huge thanks to our Data team for constructing this tool.

Vaccine accessibility


ADDITIONAL UPDATES


Vax Facts: Considerations for Vaccination

 Vax Facts-Considerations for Vaccination

 

Show Off Your Button and Share Your Why!

I got my COVID Vaccine ButtonThere are many ways we can encourage our patients and community to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by getting vaccinated, but one of the most effective is by sharing your personal account of getting the vaccine and your “why” for deciding to get vaccinated.

If you haven’t already, you should soon receive “I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine!” buttons. Put it on and help spread the word! Pin it on your lanyard, your lapel, or wherever is visible and most comfortable to help us build public trust and continue the conversation about the importance of this vaccine.

Unity Staff Vaccination Sign-Up

Unity employees eligible in Phase 1A and 1B that have not yet been vaccinated can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity. Sign-up for the opportunity to receive a vaccination appointment through this short internal survey

If you previously marked that you were not interested in receiving the vaccine, but have since changed your mind, you can complete the survey again to update your response. Employees that have already completed the survey and marked that they were interested will be contacted to sign up for an appointment slot when their prioritization group is eligible.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources


 

Quick Links


 

 

 

 

Monday, January 25, 2021
UPDATES ON COVID-19 VACCINE + OPERATIONS



Unity Patients 75+: The COVID-19 vaccination appointments available through the DC Health portal have been filling up extremely quickly. While the communities Unity serves have been disproportionately impacted by this virus, the bulk of DC's vaccine appointments have so far gone to residents of Wards 3 and 1.

To ensure our patients have equitable access to vaccination opportunities, we will be reaching out to prioritized groups of Unity patients through text messages and phone calls. This week, we are prioritizing COVID-19 vaccination for the 3000+ Unity patients 75 years of age or older, in addition to health care workers. Outreach for this prioritized group will begin early this week and will be ongoing. Prioritized patients can arrange their vaccination appointment by:

  • Requesting a vaccination appointment on the Patient Portal;
  • Being scheduled for an appointment at one of our vaccine clinics by any health center staff member (across sites)
  • Calling the Patient Scheduling Center to request a vaccination appointment

Scheduling COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments: Team members scheduling patients for COVID-19 vaccination can search for appointments through their site’s VAXNURSE resource in eCW: VAXNURSE Brentwood, VAXNURSE Upper Cardozo, Coming Feb. 1: COVAX Parkside.

Be of Service to Our Patients: If there are no appointments available through the resources above, patients can register their contact info at this link to be notified when slots are added. The patient can register themselves or they can be registered by any Unity team member. As our appointment capacity expands and we continue testing avenues for scheduling appointments, we will broaden eligibility to allow Unity patients ages 65+ and/or those with chronic conditions to register for vaccination appointments. If patients in these groups are expressing interest in getting vaccinated, direct them to complete this registration form and they will be contacted via text message and phone call when appointments become available.

If the VAXNURSE resources are not visible to you, please try to logging out of eCW and logging back in.

Parkside Added as Distribution Site: Parkside Health Center is set to become Unity’s next COVID-19 vaccine distribution site beginning the week of Feb. 1, bringing our number of vaccine distribution sites to three. The Parkside vaccine clinic will be open 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Monday – Friday.

Vaccine Distribution through Healthcare for the Homeless: Unity’s Healthcare for the Homeless program will begin COVID-19 vaccination events at various shelters and sites throughout the District, likely starting next week.

Looking for Volunteers! A series of patient education townhalls are being held to talk through the importance of vaccination for this vulnerable population. Providers interested in staffing these townhalls can sign up here.

Vaccinating DOC Residents: In the upcoming weeks, the DOC will also become a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site for their residents. This effort will require coordination and support across the organization to make sure DOC residents re-entering the community get their second doses to complete their vaccination series.

ADDITIONAL UPDATES


Website Updates: Refreshed Section for All Things COVID-19

Our external website, UnityHealthCare.org, has been updated to highlight all of the COVID-19 information our patients and community need. From updates on testing availability, vaccine appointments, and general FAQs, we’ll know our website visitors have access to accurate information from a trusted source.
Website refresh all things COVID

New Resources: Spanish Translations of Moderna Consent

Spanish translations of the Moderna vaccine consent and additional information sheets are now available in the COVID-19 Vaccine Information folder of the Clinical Resource Library.

Infection Control Reminder: Maintain Infection Control Measures

We’re making headway in our efforts to vaccinate staff and patients, but in order to keep our health centers safe, we must continue to closely follow our Infection Control Guidance. Physical distancing, mandatory masks, and other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are still required at all Unity locations throughout the vaccine rollout process.

Unity Staff: It’s Not Too Late to Sign-Up for Vaccination!

Unity employees eligible in Phase 1A and 1B that have not yet been vaccinated can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity. Sign-up for the opportunity to receive a vaccination appointment through this short internal survey.

If you previously marked that you were not interested in receiving the vaccine, but have since changed your mind, you can complete the survey again to update your response. Employees that have already completed the survey and marked that they were interested will be contacted to sign up for an appointment slot when their prioritization group is eligible.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources



Quick Links

 

 

 

Friday, January 15, 2021

IMPORTANT: Operations for Week of Jan. 18, 2021


As announced yesterday, there will be many safety measures in action throughout the District next week in preparation for the 59th Presidential Inauguration. Please review the highlights below to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest updates to Unity operations.

Unity’s Community Health Centers will be closed on Monday, Jan. 18, (in recognition of MLK Jr. Day) and Wednesday, Jan. 20. Unity staff at the DOC and ISAQ locations will maintain regular operations on those days. CCNV will be closed on Tuesday, Jan. 19, in addition to Monday and Wednesday. Unity staff at CCNV should follow guidance from their leadership.

There will be major disruptions to all methods of transportation in and around the District through at least Thursday, Jan. 21. These include restrictions/closures of major bridges, expressways, WMATA lines, and more. Significant additions to the list of closures include Rock Creek Parkway (Kennedy Center to Virginia Ave NW) and Arlington Memorial Bridge. Anyone taking part in essential travel should review this comprehensive list from DC Gov. and Secret Service and adjust their routes accordingly. Anyone that does not have to engage in essential travel is strongly encouraged to avoid affected areas.

Throughout all of next week, any employees required to attend work in-person should carry their Essential Healthcare Worker Letter and their Unity badge whenever traveling to allow smooth passage through access points or potential traffic stops. Click here to access a PDF of the Essential Healthcare Worker Letter.

Unity employees approved to telework should do so through Jan. 21. Telework employees must have supervisor approval and a telework agreement must be in place.

See Something, Say Something: If you see or hear about suspicious activity in or near a Unity site, they should notify site leadership and access control immediately. If you see suspicious activity outside of the workplace, you should contact 911.

Stay Prepared: As an extra precaution, staff should make sure they are familiar with their site’s lockdown procedures and the nearest evacuation routes. In the event of an active shooter, please remember to practice “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol.

EZ Texting: If there are disruptions to Unity operations, affected staff will receive a text alert through our EZ Texting system. If you do not already receive Unity EZ Texts, sign up at https://tapit.us/WRyUw by entering your first and last name and cell phone number.

Rapid Evaluation Tent Operations Moving Inside


Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 19, COVID-19/Respiratory Evaluation Tent services at Anacostia, Brentwood, Minnesota Ave., Parkside, and Upper Cardozo Health Centers will move indoors until further notice. Similar to when operations were moved indoors during the summer months, Infection Control Guidance should be followed closely.

This means sick and well patients should be separated to the best of our ability; rooms holding patients that screen positive for COVID-19 should be terminally cleaned following the patient encounter (standard cleanings are appropriate for patients that screen negative for COVID-19); and suspected COVID-19 positive patients should be seen in full PPE.

Vaccine Update


Since our start as a distribution center a few short weeks ago, Unity has administered approximately 900 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. And we’re just getting started!

Growing Vaccine Distribution: Rollout of the vaccine at our Health Care for the Homeless locations and the DOC is set to begin as early as Jan. 25. We are also in the process of adding another site to our list of vaccine distribution locations, bringing the number of Unity health centers distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to three. This will likely begin in February, and more information on this project is forthcoming.

Helping Patients Access the Vaccine: DC has officially shifted into Phase 1B of vaccine rollout. Follow these steps to protect our patients and help them access this important care.

If you’re interacting with patients that are eligible under Phase 1B, make sure they know! If they’re eligible and interested, help them register at vaccinate.dc.gov. Patients can also schedule an appointment by calling DC’s coronavirus call center at 855-363-0333 between 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

If a patient is eligible and interested, but the list is full, they can submit their information here to receive email or text notifications when additional slots become available. If a patient is not eligible in Phase 1B, they can submit their information here to receive email or text notifications when the registry opens to additional populations. See a full list of the prioritization tiers here.

Remind patients that the COVID-19 vaccination requires two doses. Patients can only make their first appointment through vaccinate.dc.gov or the call center. Their second appointment must be made on-site when they receive their first dose through the regular follow-up scheduling process.

Frontline Staff: It’s Not Too Late to Sign-Up for Vaccination! Unity employees eligible in Phase 1A and 1B that have not yet been vaccinated can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity. Sign-up for the opportunity to receive a vaccination appointment through this short internal survey.

If you previously marked that you were not interested in receiving the vaccine, but have since changed your mind, you can complete the survey again to update your response. Employees that have already completed the survey and marked that they were interested will be contacted to sign up for an appointment slot when their prioritization group is eligible.

COVID-19 Vax Facts: Will the Vaccine Give Me COVID-19?


As vaccinations continue, we want to provide as much information as possible to reassure our patients and staff and address any questions or concerns. Read answers to staff questions about the vaccine submitted during the Jan. 5 all-staff Q&A here, or review the latest CommUNITY Live Webinar recording covering COVID-19 vaccination. Read CDC answers to more frequently asked COVID-19 vaccine questions here. If you have a question about the COVID-19 vaccination, email it to Communications@UnityHealthCare.org.

COVID VAX fACT 01-15-21

Free Yoga for Healthcare Workers

Circle Yoga is offering healthcare workers a free “movement and meditation” online yoga class every Saturday for the month of January to show gratitude for their dedication and support. The class will be led by yogi and Johns Hopkins/Sibley Hospital frontline healthcare worker Antoinette Solnik, RN. Click here to register.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources



Quick Links



Tuesday, January 13, 2021

COVID-19 Vax Facts


For several weeks, there have been massive amounts of information shared across the country and throughout the world about COVID-19 vaccines. While news about the development, approval, and distribution of the vaccines is incredibly exciting, it also raises questions among both patients and staff. As the vaccination process continues, we want to provide as much information as possible to reassure our patients and staff and address any questions or concerns. Below is the first in a series of “Vax Facts.”
COVID Vax Facts

Staff can click here revisit answers to staff questions submitted the Jan. 5 all-staff Q&A and review the latest CommUNITY Live Webinar recording covering COVID-19 vaccination. Read CDC answers to more frequently asked COVID-19 vaccine questions here. If you have a question about the COVID-19 vaccination, email it to Communications@UnityHealthCare.org.

Update on Employee Exposure


Exposure trends 01-13-21Last week, 6 known employees were newly diagnosed with COVID-19, the highest weekly number we’ve seen since early May. Additionally, 12 staff members were placed in isolation or quarantine. This spike could be related to holiday travel, but it serves as a reminder that COVID-19 continues to be prevalent throughout our community.

Follow Infection Control Guidance and take precautions inside and outside the workplace.

Frontline Staff: It’s Not Too Late to Sign-Up for COVID-19 Vaccination!


Employees eligible in Phase 1A that have not yet been vaccinated can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine through Unity. We strongly encourage staff to sign up for the opportunity to receive a vaccination appointment through this short internal survey, if they have not already.

If you previously marked that you were not interested in receiving the vaccine, but have since changed your mind, you can complete the survey again to update your response.

Your health and privacy are incredibly important, and it is wise to be cautious when making personal medical decisions. However, with millions of people around the globe having safely received the vaccine, we hope staff will consider the many benefits of COVID-19 vaccination and take advantage of this opportunity to protect themselves, their patients, and their loved ones.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources



Quick Links



Monday, January 11, 2021

DC Enters Phase 1B of COVID-19 Vaccination


In her Situational Update, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the start of Phase 1B of DC's COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Effective today, Monday, January 11, COVID-19 vaccination appointments are available for District residents 65 years of age and older, in addition to those already eligible under Phase 1A. Phase 1B also opens vaccination appointments to individuals in congregate settings (intermediate care facilities, community residential facilities, group homes, homeless shelters) and correctional officers.

    Our Call to Action: All employees at all Unity sites can play a role in helping Unity patients access this important care as they become eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Use the information below to answer patient questions and help eligible, interested patients schedule their vaccination appointment.

Info for Unity Patients


  • Registering through vaccinate.dc.gov is the most effective way for eligible Unity patients to schedule a vaccination appointment. Patients may also schedule an appointment by calling DC’s coronavirus call center at 855-363-0333 between 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
  • Unity patients that are not eligible during Phase 1B (do not work in a healthcare setting/are not a DC resident age 65+), can submit their email address or mobile phone here to receive an email or text message from DC Gov. when the registry opens to additional populations. Click here to review the most up-to-date list of DC’s vaccine rollout phases and tiers.
  • Remind patients that the COVID-19 vaccination requires two doses. Patients can only make their first appointment through vaccinate.dc.gov or the coronavirus call center. Their second appointment will be made on-site when they receive their first dose through the regular follow-up scheduling process.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine is free to patients. Unity is billing insurance companies for vaccine administration; however, patients should not receive a bill for this service. Insured patients must bring their insurance card or have a card on file prior to their vaccine appointment, but they will not be charged a co-pay. Those without insurance will not be charged or turned away.

Info for Unity Staff


  • As DC continues to rollout new phases of vaccine eligibility, Unity will accommodate the increased demand by offering COVID-19 vaccinations at more locations, adding to our current sites at Brentwood and Upper Cardozo Health Centers. More information on new vaccination sites will be provided as it becomes available.
  • Unity frontline staff eligible in Phase 1A that have not been vaccinated can still receive the vaccine. If they have not already, Unity employees should complete this short internal survey to sign up for the opportunity to receive a vaccination appointment. If you previously marked that you were not interested in receiving the vaccine when completing the survey, but have changed your mind, please email Dr. Ryan Buchholz at RBuchholz@UnityHealthCare.org.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources



 

Quick Links


Friday, January 8, 2021

CommUNITY Live Recap: Thank you to everyone that participated in Tuesday’s CommUNITY Live Webinar covering the COVID-19 vaccine and its distribution at Unity. Staff can revisit and reference the important information that was shared and read answers to questions submitted by staff that were not covered during the webinar through the links below.

Unity Administers 500+ Vaccinations (And Counting!): As of yesterday, Unity has administered COVID-19 vaccinations to more than 500 healthcare workers throughout the District, including many of our own employees! Through our partnership with DC Health, Unity will continue to administer COVID-19 vaccinations in accordance with the District’s phased rollout. Big thanks to the teams at our Brentwood and Upper Cardozo Health Centers who have supported Unity's initial vaccine distribution sites, and thank you to staff from all across our organization that have stepped up to play a part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in so many different ways.

ADDITIONAL UPDATES


You're Vaccinated! Now What?! Many Unity staff have received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Below are recommendations and “things to expect” for those who have been or are preparing to be vaccinated.

  • Side Effects: Some people may experience side effects in the days following vaccine administration. The most common side effect is pain in the arm where the injection is received. Recipients may also feel achy, tired, or develop a fever; these are signs that the vaccine is working and your body is building immunity. Symptoms may last a few days and usually resolve within a week.
  • Can I go to work with these side effects? Side effects may overlap with answers on the self-attestation form that are associated with COVID-19; however, because they are attributable to a known cause (receiving the vaccine), it is ok for you to go to work. If you do not feel well enough to work, you may take sick leave.
  • Infection Control: Regardless of vaccination status, it's important to continue all safeguards for infection control. The COVID-19 vaccine is another layer of protection, but all staff, including those that have been vaccinated, must continue to follow Infection Control Guidance, including required measures like wearing mask and eye protection in patient areas, exercising good hand hygiene, and maintaining physical distancing.
  • Two-Doses: The COVID-19 vaccine is administered in two doses. Please schedule an appointment to get your second dose 4 weeks after you receive your first injection!
  • Enroll in V-Safe: v-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and surveys to provide personalized check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you experience side effects. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you. Also, v-safe will remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose. When you are offered the opportunity to sign up for a vaccine slot, you will receive information on how to enroll in v-safe.
Referring Vulnerable Patients to PEP-V Sites: In April of 2020, Unity partnered with DC Dept. of Human Services (DHS) to provide medical assessments and outpatient care to individuals experiencing homelessness through ISAQ (Isolation and Quarantine) and PEP-V (Pandemic Emergency Program for Highly Vulnerable Individuals) sites. These resources remain available to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in especially vulnerable populations. Providers can refer Unity patients to PEP-V sites by completing this DC DHS PEP-V Referral Form. If you encounter families or individuals seeking access or transportation to homeless services, encourage them to call the DC Shelter Hotline at (202) 399-7093 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m., Monday - Sunday, or call 311 at any time of the day or night. More information can be found at https://dhs.dc.gov/page/shelter.


Employee Exposure 01-08-21Update on Employee Exposure:
Last week 9 staff members were placed in isolation or quarantine, and 1 known employee was diagnosed with COVID-19. It is incredibly important to recognize the continued prevalence of COVID-19 in our community. Please follow Infection Control Guidance and take precautions both inside and outside of the workplace.

Correction: Q&A Response on Dental Leadership

In the recap of the Jan. 5 CommUNITY Live Q&A, a response related to dental leadership was unintentionally clipped. See the full submission and answer below. Click here to review responses to all non-COVID-19 Q&A submissions.

Q: When will a new Dental Director be announced, and will there be any structural changes to the dental leadership team?

A: A new Dental Director, Dr. Cassandra Wright, was announced to the department on Jan. 5 at the dental staff meeting. After Dr. Wright has had the opportunity to orient in her new role, we will collectively look at the department’s structure and identify opportunities for change. 

Vaccination Survey Reminder: This short survey serves as the official sign-up for Unity employees wishing to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment based on CDC and DC Health prioritization. Please take advantage of this opportunity and encourage your staff and colleagues to do the same! Remember, this opportunity for immunization is for ALL staff at risk, not just providers. Click here to share your interest in receiving the vaccine and secure the opportunity to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Quick Links



Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Kick Off 2021 by Sharing Your "Why"


Mywhy-part2The beginning of a new year always evokes feelings of excitement and hope, this year more than ever! As we settle into 2021, we carry with us gratitude for the continued rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. 
Click here to watch the next edition in our video series of Unity staff sharing their "whys" for getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

We want to hear yours! Email your "why" to Communications@UnityHealthCare.org or post your vaccination photo and “why” on social media with hashtag #ThisIsOurShot! Tag @UnityHealthCare on Twitter and @UnityHealthCareInc on Facebook and Instagram, and we'll share them with our followers to encourage others to make the most of their “shot.”

First Amendment Demonstrations


First amendment demostrationDC Government is currently aware of multiple “First Amendment” demonstrations scheduled to occur within the District as early as today, Jan. 5, continuing through Wednesday, Jan. 6. These gatherings and possible counter-demonstrations could disrupt traffic and travel through the District.

Unity leadership and DC Health will monitor the situation and provide additional updates as necessary.

Road Closures and Parking Restrictions: DC Metro Police Department (MPD) expects the heaviest impact on transportation to occur today and tomorrow in the downtown corridor and near the Capitol. Additionally, heavy foot traffic is expected along Pennsylvania Avenue and BLM Plaza throughout the day and into the evening. Numerous no-parking restrictions and road closures in these areas went into effect today, Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 6:00 a.m. and will continue Thursday, Jan. 7, at 11:59 p.m. A full list of road closures and parking restrictions can be found on DC MPD’s Traffic Advisory Page. Live updates are available through social medial. If your facility’s operations are impacted by these events, please contact appropriate Unity leadership.

ADDITIONAL UPDATES


Delivering COVID-19 Test Results: Text Message Notifications

COVID Vaccine program workflowPatients with cell phone numbers listed in eCW now receive their COVID-19 test results through SMS or text messaging! This initiative leverages technology to deliver results quickly and directly as we continue to see a high volume of COVID-19 tests being performed. This messaging feature allows us to reach a broad range of patients by enabling simpler test result delivery to patients that are not web-enabled and providing results in Spanish for patients who have Spanish selected as their preferred language. Here are a few quick reminders to help our results delivery program running efficiently:

  • During registration, staff should make sure patients have a cell phone number that is verified and recorded in the cell phone field
  • Staff working in the tents should let patients know they will receive a text notification when their results are available
  • Staff should remind symptomatic patients needing a follow up and patients with positive test results to expect a phone call from a member of the Unity team in addition to the text message with their results
  • Providers should close (or lock) all COVID-19 PCR test results for asymptomatic patients with negative test results within 24 hours of the result becoming available, as the text message serves as notification of the test result
  • If patients connected to the health center by phone are inquiring about a COVID test result, it is likely that they have received a text message instructing them to follow-up. Please make every effort to work within the care teams at your site to connect them to a provider to deliver the test result.
  • Please continue to encourage patients to sign up for the Unity portal and recommend the LabCorp portal as well. We want to present all available options for receiving COVID-19 test results to ensure we’re reaching as many patients as possible. Click here to review patient handouts with step-by-step guidance for retrieving results. (A Spanish language version of this documentation is being developed.)

Vaccination Survey Reminder: This short survey serves as the official sign-up for Unity employees wishing to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment based on CDC and DC Health prioritization. Please take advantage of this opportunity and encourage your staff and colleagues to do the same! Remember, this opportunity for immunization is for ALL staff at risk, not just providers. Click here to share your interest in receiving the vaccine and secure the opportunity to schedule a vaccination appointment.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources: Healthcare workers must be both educated and educators on the ins and outs of the COVID-19 vaccination. Below is a curated list of convenient resources to help our staff stay informed for their own enrichment and for the enrichment of our patients.

 Quick Links


 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020
The COVID-19 Vaccine and Unity Health Care



My why image Jessice COVID vaccineSharing our Why: Last week, Unity began the long-anticipated process of immunizing our frontline staff to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To commemorate this moment of hope and to encourage our staff and community to join us in getting vaccinated, we collected personal accounts from staff sharing their motivation for receiving the vaccine and what being immunized against COVID-19 means to them.

For nearly a year, our staff have been fighting to protect the disproportionately impacted patients we serve. We are forever grateful for your compassion and hard work and are so encouraged by this step forward!

My why COVID Vaccine groupWe'll be sharing more stories in the coming days, and we want to hear from you too! Post your vaccination photo and “why” on social media with hashtag #ThisIsOurShot! Tag @UnityHealthCare on Twitter and @UnityHealthCareInc on Facebook and Instagram, and we'll share them with our followers to encourage others to make the most of their “shot.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources: As the immunization process continues across the country, healthcare workers must be both educated and educators on the ins and outs of the COVID-19 vaccination. Below, we have curated a list of convenient resources to help our staff stay informed for their own enrichment and for the enrichment of our patients. In the coming weeks, we will continue to add to and share these resources, as well as other useful pieces of guidance related to the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Vaccination Survey Reminder: This short survey serves as the official sign-up for Unity employees wishing to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment based on CDC and DC Health prioritization. Please take advantage of this opportunity and encourage your staff and colleagues to do the same! Remember, this opportunity for immunization is for ALL staff at risk, not just providers. Click here to share your interest in receiving the vaccine and secure the opportunity to schedule a vaccination appointment.

IMPORTANT UPDATES


Employee Exposure 12-22-20Update on Employee Exposure: While we are seeing a slight downward trend in positive screens and test results among our patients, we will likely begin to experience another spike in the coming weeks following holiday gatherings. Last week we placed 15 employees in isolation or quarantine, and 5 known staff members were diagnosed with COVID-19.

It is incredibly important to remember that COVID-19 remains prevalent in our community. COVID-19 vaccinations have begun for Unity staff and other frontline healthcare workers around the District, but we’re just beginning our long journey to recovery. Please continue to diligently follow Infection Control Guidance and take safety precautions inside and outside of the workplace.

E&M Coding Changes: Beginning in 2021, changes to E&M coding will make the basis for code selection either the level of medical decision-making performed OR the total time spent performing the service on the day of the encounter. Time will be defined as total time spent, including non-face-to-face work done on that day, and will no longer require time to be dominated by counseling. Please review the links below for more information.

Quick Links


 



Tuesday, December 22, 2020

COVID-19 Vaccine: Unity Designated as Vaccine Distribution Site


Over the weekend, the FDA authorized the emergency use of the Moderna vaccine for people ages 18 and up to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are thrilled to have Unity designated as a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site as we continue to play a pivotal role in the fight against COVID-19. Upper Cardozo Health Center and Brentwood Health Center have been identified by the District as the Unity sites to receive the initial shipments of 700 doses each later this week. We are working to stand up vaccine clinics at these sites and will follow the DC Government prioritization framework to vaccinate healthcare workers in our region to include Unity staff.

We know you may have many questions about plans to distribute the vaccine. A COVID-19 vaccine task force has been convened and is working diligently to create workflows, guidance, documentation, and more to prepare for the vaccine clinics' rollout. Over the next few weeks, you will see increased communication regarding this effort as it becomes available.

In the meantime, please take a moment to review guidance shared by the CDC on the critical importance of the COVID-19 vaccine and what it means for you, our patients, and community.

Click here to view a short video on the COVID-19 vaccine produced by PBS on how the vaccines work and more.

COMING SOON: Text Notifications of COVID-19 PCR Test Results


Coming soon, patients who have a cell phone number listed in eCW will receive a text notification with their COVID-19 PCR test results. The goal of this initiative is to leverage technology to communicate test results in a timely fashion, at a time in the pandemic when testing volume is high and staffing shortages have precluded staff at the health centers from being able to promptly notify patients of their lab results. Furthermore, using the SMS or text messaging feature enables test result delivery to patients even if they are not web-enabled, thereby increasing the breadth of patients we are able to reach through this method.

Overview:

Each morning at 8 am, a report will be generated with the results that have returned in the past 24 hours. The patients on this report will receive a text message delivered to their cell phone number around 9 am. Patients whose results returned between Friday at 8 am and Monday at 8 am will receive the text message on Monday around 9 am.

  • Patients with a negative test result will receive the message: “COVID test result for [first name] was NEGATIVE. Please contact 202-469-4699 if you have questions or are experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath.”
  • Patients with a positive or inconclusive test result will receive the message: “COVID test results for [first name] now available. You will receive a call from a member of our team soon, or please contact 202-469-4699 for more information.”

The message will be sent automatically, whether the lab is reviewed or not. Messages will be sent in Spanish for patients who have Spanish selected as their preferred language. All other patients will receive the message in English.

For staff working in the tents, please let patients know they will receive a text once their result is available, and anyone who is symptomatic and needs follow up or has a positive test result should expect to receive a phone call from a member of the Unity team in addition to the text message.

When patients are connected to the health center by phone, and state they are inquiring about a COVID test result, it is likely that they have received a text message instructing them to follow-up. Please make every effort to work within the care teams at your site to connect them to a provider to deliver the test result.

Providers should close (or lock) all COVID-19 PCR test results for asymptomatic patients with negative test results who have a cell phone listed in eCW within 24 hours of the result becoming available, as the text message serves as notification of the test result.

IMPORTANT UPDATES


Public Emergency Extension and Implementation of a Holiday Pause

The Mayor has imposed an extension of the Public Emergency and Implementation of a Holiday Pause on various activities to flatten the curve of increasing COVID-19 cases. Consequently, employees are required to telework with the exception of in-person staff needed to support minimum business operations. The District of Columbia, like the rest of the country, is currently confronting a surge of COVID-19 cases that has worsened dramatically in the past month and will worsen still more, without intervention, as a result of activities over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

The Mayor’s order will be effective 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 and shall continue to be in effect until 5 a.m. on Friday, January 15, 2021. If you have essential staff workers, please remind them to keep the essential employee letter with them at all times.

New Scheduling Policy

Based on strategic priority to improve the patient experience, patient needs to improve access, and staff feedback to improve scheduling and increase scheduling efficiencies, the new scheduling template and policy will become effective January 1, 2021. Click here to read policy.

With the new scheduling procedures in place, we are looking forward to maximizing patient access, reducing patient wait times to an appointment, and decreasing unfilled patient appointment slots on the schedule to increase staff productivity with the new scheduling templates. The scheduling procedure described within this policy has been established to allow patients to have their needs more fully addressed by their care team while onsite within an hour of the patient’s scheduled appointment time and account for potential no-shows. The new scheduling templates for 2021 are now available in eCW.

For more information on using the new scheduling templates:

Click here for a comprehensive listing of all available visit codes.

Click here for general requirements, things to avoid, and a listing of visit types across specialties.

employees exposure 12-29-20Infection Control Update

Last week, we had 15 staff members placed on isolation or quarantine, and 4 known diagnosed with COVID-19. While we are experiencing a slight uptick in exposures, we want to remind all staff to continue following Infection Control guidance by self-attesting to your health daily and staying home if you are experiencing symptoms and contact the IC Team at InfectionControlTeam@UnityHealthCare.org or call 202-715-6592.

Flu Immunizations

Flu season is upon us, and this year it is more important than ever for our patients to get the flu vaccine to protect themselves and their families, reduce the number of febrile illnesses in the community, and the strain on the healthcare system we're already feeling due to COVID-19. The annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and up. During the month of November, just 29% of patients seen across Unity sites had received the flu vaccine for this current flu season. That's down 12% compared to November in 2019. Every encounter with a patient is a chance to check if they've received the vaccine. Let's all roll up our sleeves to work together to get our patients and their families vaccinated!

Flu Inmunization graph

Self-Care Recipe Book

The Behavioral Health team wants to gift you with recipes for your self-care! As the holidays approach and the stress of living under a pandemic, it's important to take time and care for yourself. Click here to find a compilation of recipes, self-care strategies and resources just for you.

“We hope that you and your family are safe, treasured and hopeful this season. Being part of this community, and contributing to the service we provide to the community, is something for which we are grateful.” 

Yours, the Department of Behavioral Health Staff

Quick Links


 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Pilot Program: Outlets Dedicated to Delivering COVID-19 Test Results


We are happy to report the launch of a pilot program to support the timely provision of COVID-19 test results to patients. The primary goal of this pilot is to efficiently deliver test results to patients through a variety of methods, outlined below, while relieving burden on employees hastened by high testing volume and staffing shortages. We recognize this adjustment does not cover every task in the COVID-19 evaluation follow-up process, but it will assist with delivering initial test results. Patients who are symptomatic should still receive their COVID-19 follow-up visits at the time of testing.

  • Patient Portals: We are bolstering efforts to encourage patients to become web-enabled and access their test results through the Unity patient portal and/or the LabCorp patient portal. We have developed a patient handout to distribute to those tested in one of the rapid evaluation sites guiding them through the process, step-by-step.
  • One Unity Number: We added a new prompt to the 202-469-4699 phone line for patients calling to request their COVID-19 test results. Patients who choose this option will be connected to a MA who can facilitate test result delivery.
  • Text Message Notifications: In the coming days, we will begin delivering text message notifications to patients with their test results. Patients with symptoms and/or positive results will be directed to call the 202-469-4699 to schedule an appointment.
  • COVID-19 Call-Back Team: We have assembled a multi-disciplinary team of dedicated staff, including a provider, MA, and PRC to deliver test results. This team is supplementing the work done at the sites by being available to patients inquiring about results, relaying negative test results, conducting Telemedicine visits for positive patients, and coordinating follow-up visits for symptomatic patients.

In order to accommodate the bolus of patients we are currently experiencing, there may be times that patients are scheduled across providers and health centers – thank you for continuing to welcome these patients and connecting them to care.

Reminder: New Guidance for Capacity in COVID-19 Evaluation Tents/Clinics


To ensure our ongoing pandemic response is safe and sustainable for both patients and staff, leadership developed new Guidance on Capacity within Unity COVID-19 and Respiratory Evaluation Tents/Clinics.

This guidance establishes appointment capacity for providers staffing Unity Respiratory and COVID-19 Evaluation Tents/Clinics and provides instruction for when and how patients seeking evaluation and testing should be scheduled.

The District has established accessible sites for those specifically seeking COVID-19 testing, and as a primary care practice, we aim to serve our community as more than a testing site. These parameters will help Unity balance our desire to provide accessible COVID-19 care with our goal of safely providing patients with a full spectrum of quality primary and specialty care services. Click here to access the full guidance document.

IMPORTANT UPDATES


Infection Control Update: QR Codes for Self-Attestation

Employees exposure 11-15-20The “post-Thanksgiving bump” in community spread of COVID-19 throughout the District serves as an important reminder to continue following Infection Control guidance by self-attesting to your health daily and staying home if you are experiencing symptoms.

As you heard last week, our Infection Control team developed QR codes that activate each site’s attestation form to make the mandatory process of self-attestation even easier! Employees will be able to scan these QR codes on their smart phones through their cameras or an app (like a “fast pass,” or a mobile concert ticket) when entering their health centers to quickly and smoothly attest to the health. Click here to access the full list of QR codes for Unity health centers. Click here for more information on how to use this technology.
printing QR code

Daily attestation of health is required for all staff entering our health centers, including contractors, leadership, and/or staff that float between locations. Any employees unable to access the attestation form online or through the QR codes provided here, should go through the standard screening process carried out at the front desk. Remember, self-monitoring for symptoms and staying home if you are experiencing symptoms is our first line of defense for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our health centers.

Inclement Weather in the District: Are You Signed Up for EZ Texting?

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Wednesday, Dec. 16, for portions of north central and northeast Maryland. Snow or a wintry mix could take place across the rest of the DMV as well. Pre-treating/snow-removal are being assessed for potentially impacted Unity health centers. Access Control and EVS should assess and treat entrances as needed.

If there is a disruption to Unity operations, affected staff will receive a text alert through our EZ Texting system. If you do NOT already receive Unity EZ Text messages, please sign up by visiting https://tapit.us/WRyUw and entering your first and last name and cell phone number. If you previously signed up and are not receiving Unity EZ Texts, you may need to contact your cell phone carrier and request that the block be removed for short code 313131 to receive these messages. If you receive Unity EZ Texts, you do not need to sign up again.

Seeking Provider Feedback on Unity Pharmacies

Provider feedback is an essential aspect of our Community Specialty Pharmacy accreditation. Please click on the links below to complete the survey(s) by Friday, Dec. 18. If you work across multiple sites and/or directly with patients utilizing Unity pharmacy services, please complete surveys for any sites applicable to your work. This year’s pharmacy surveys contain just 3 questions and will only take a moment of your time. Thank you for your contributions!

Quick Links


 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Patient Handout: Obtaining COVID-19 Test Results


In recent weeks, Unity has experienced a steady increase in the number of patients seeking COVID-19 testing. We created a handout to guide patients through the process of obtaining their COVID-19 test results. This handout provides step-by-step instructions on how patients can access their results directly through LabCorp.com and through the Unity patient portal to help reduce burden on clinical and support staff and ensure our patients get access to their results as quickly and efficiently as possible. Click here to access the handout. (Spanish translation coming soon.)

Infection Control Update: Employee Exposure Trends + Self-Attestation


Employees Exposure Trends 12.8.20With COVID-19 cases on the rise in DC and across the country, it’s as important as it ever has been to follow and enforce the latest Infection Control guidance in our health centers and take appropriate precautions outside of work. Last week, our Infection Control team recorded 11 staff placed in isolation and/or quarantine and were made aware of 5 employees diagnosed with COVID-19.

This “post-Thanksgiving bump” aligns with an increase in community spread following holiday gatherings around the District and serves as an important reminder to continue self-attestation and stay home if you are experiencing symptoms.

Self-monitoring for symptoms and completing the self-attestation form before entering the work place are two of the most effective actions we can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our health centers. Daily attestation of health is also required for all staff entering our health centers, including contractors, leadership, and/or staff that float between locations. Any employees unable to access the attestation form online should go through the standard screening process carried out at the front desk.

IC QR CodeWe heard your feedback, and we're taking steps to make this important and mandatory process even easier! Our Infection Control team has developed QR codes that employees will be able to scan on their smart phones (like a fast pass, or a mobile concert ticket) when entering their health centers to quickly and smoothly attest to the health. Stay tuned for details and click here for more information on how to use this technology.

Remember, it is critical that employees with fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or other flu-like symptoms (e.g., body aches, fatigue) STAY AT HOME. Sick employees should first notify their direct supervisor, then the Unity Infection Control team at 202-7156592 or InfectionControlTeam@UnityHealthCare.org.

IMPORTANT UPDATES


Seeking Provider Feedback on Unity Pharmacies

Provider feedback is an essential aspect of our Community Specialty Pharmacy accreditation. Please click on the links below to complete the survey(s) by Friday, Dec. 18. If you work across multiple sites and/or directly with patients utilizing Unity pharmacy services, please complete surveys for any sites applicable to your work. This year’s pharmacy surveys contain just 3 questions and will only take a moment of your time. Thank you for your contributions!

Keeping MCO Conversations Compliant

As DC Health Care Finance (DHCF) continues to transition beneficiary care to selected MCOs, please remember that Unity employees are prohibited from engaging in conversations that encourage our patients to switch or transfer from one DC Medicaid Health plan to another.

Communicating about the MCO transition with affected patients is an important part of ensuring continuity of care, but in order to remain compliant with DC Medicaid Health Plan contracts, Unity employees must not engage in communication practices that deceive or mislead the public or disparage a competing DC Medicaid Health Plan contractor (C.5.8.1) or make any comparisons with other DC Medicaid Health Plan contractors (C.5.8.5.1.5.1). Please adhere to these guidelines to ensure we are compliant with the regulations set by DHCF.

Upcoming Deadline: Mandatory Staff Trainings Due Dec. 15

ALL of the courses listed below must be completed by Dec. 15 and should be located in your MyNetLearning profile. Click here to access the MyNetLearning login guide. If the courses do not appear in MyNetLearning, please contact Mia Harper at MHarper@unityhealthcare.org. Please note, employees hired between Apr. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020, are excluded from the trainings listed below as these courses were completed during your onboarding process. However, these employees are still required to complete the Privacy and Security Training by Dec. 15.

Conflict Management v 1.0

Fire Safety

Patient Portal & E-Messaging

UHC Employee Handbook Review

Diversity in Health Care v 1.3

Health Care Safety and Injury Prevention

PPE 2020

Workplace Violence

Emergency Management Planning

Health Care Security

Sexual Harassment Prevention for Employees

 

Quick Links


 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Holiday Planning During COVID-19 Pandemic


employees Exposure trend 11-17-20Holiday season is around the corner! This year has been full of unexpected challenges, and it’s important that we take time to reflect and connect. However, as flu season approaches and rates of COVID-19 rise across the country, we must do so safely.

Per Unity Infection Control Guidance, gatherings of more than 10 people in a room are not permitted in our Health Centers. Additionally, masks should be worn in all shared spaces and physical distancing of at least 6 feet is encouraged whenever possible. These important restrictions can make traditional office potlucks very difficult. This year, instead of a potluck, try...

Show and Tell: In this twist on a potluck, instead of a food item, everyone “brings” something else to contribute – like a brief toast, favorite staff photo to share virtually or while physically distanced.

Recipe Swap: We may not be able to share food at the workplace, but we can certainly share recipes! Print out copies of your favorite holiday potluck dish, and pass them out to your colleagues during your holiday celebration. They can think of you while they cook it up at home.

Gratitude Bowl: Each team/employee can write something they’re grateful for on a slip of paper and add it to a bowl. During your virtual or physically distanced event, take turns reading slips of gratitude aloud.

Click here to read suggestions for safe celebrations with loved ones outside of the work environment, including virtual toasts, ordering/sending treats, scaled back gatherings, and more.

Reminder: LabCorp Flu + COVID-19 + RSV Swab


LabCorp recently launched the first testing method to simultaneously detect COVID-19, influenza A/B, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). These single-panel tests can help Unity providers efficiently diagnose patients and make decisions about treatment options. Both the COVID-19+Influenza A/B (Test Code: 140147 - CPT: 87636) and COVID-19+Influenza A/B+RSV Virus, NAA (Test Code: 140140 - CPT: 87637) tests can be found in eCW.

IMPORTANT UPDATES


Upcoming Deadline: TB Screening Forms Due Nov. 30

In alignment with the updated recommendations from the CDC, all Unity employees must complete this Annual Tuberculosis (TB) Symptom Screening Form. For 2020, these forms are due by Nov. 30. If an employee screens positive or works in a facility that experiences known exposure or high risk for transmission, employees will undergo testing through other methods. In the years to come, this form will be due annually in June, and communication will be sent out at that time. Click here to view the new policy in full.

Upcoming Deadline: Mandatory Staff Trainings Due Dec. 15

ALL of the courses listed below must be completed by Dec. 15 and should be located in your MyNetLearning profile. Click here to access the MyNetLearning login guide. If the courses do not appear in MyNetLearning, please contact Mia Harper at MHarper@unityhealthcare.org. Please note, employees hired between Apr. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020, are excluded from the trainings listed below as these courses were completed during your onboarding process. However, these employees are still required to complete the Privacy and Security Training by Dec. 15.

Conflict Management v 1.0

Fire Safety

Patient Portal & E-Messaging

UHC Employee Handbook Review

Diversity in Health Care v 1.3

Health Care Safety and Injury Prevention

PPE 2020

Workplace Violence

Emergency Management Planning

Health Care Security

Sexual Harassment Prevention for Employees

 

Quick Links


 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


Staff
Flu Shots Due THIS WEEK


All Unity employees must receive a documented influenza (flu) vaccine by Saturday, Oct. 31. With only 5 days before the deadline, we're still waiting on a large number of staff to submit documentation for their flu vaccinations. Follow the lead of Upper Cardozo, HIMS, and our School-Based Health Centers whose staff are 83.3%, 100%, and 80%, respectively are already immunized with proper documentation!

Where to Get Vaccinated?

Free vaccines are available for staff at all Unity locations as coordinated by nurse managers. Staff are welcome to receive their vaccine elsewhere, but all employees MUST provide documentation by the Oct. 31 deadline to be compliant with this requirement.

Where to Send Documentation?

Health Center staff should provide documentation of vaccination to their site’s nurse manager. Staff based out of New Jersey Avenue and employees that received their vaccine at a non-Unity location should send documentation to the Infection Control Team at InfectionControlTeam@unityhealthcare.org

In the rare case of specific medical or religious exceptions, a declination form with appropriate documentation from your primary care provider or religious leader must be completed and submitted to the Infection Control Team at InfectionControlTeam@unityhealthcare.org by Oct. 31.

IMPORTANT UPDATES


Keys to Infection Control Success: Freshening Up on the Old, Sharpening Up on the New

Now 7 months into our COVID-19 response, we ’re all familiar with our tenets for Infection Control: self-attestation, hand hygiene, everyone in masks, physical distancing, and wearing appropriate PPE when seeing suspected COVID positive patients. Today, we’re breaking down 3 of these tenets to keep us on our toes.

Workplace Hygiene

workplace hygineWhile diligent hand hygiene continues to be a crucial weapon in our battle against COVID-19, the work doesn’t stop there. Environmental Services plays a primary role in maintaining cleanliness across our sites, but we all share a collective responsibility to keep our workplaces safe and clean throughout the day, especially in personal work spaces and areas where patients receive care. Click here for easy-to-read charts breaking down EVS responsibilities and areas where non-EVS staff are expected to monitor cleanliness independently.

Masks on Everyone

Mask on EveryoneWe increased signage across our health centers to help enforce our “all patients and visitors in masks” policy, but making sure everyone is wearing a face covering correctly can still be tricky. Keep our health centers safe by adopting the “see something, say something” perspective. If you see a patient or visitor without their nose and mouth covered or wearing a non-compliant mask (neck gaiters, t-shirts, sleep masks, etc.), direct them to our signage and offer a surgical mask. Patients are welcome to wear the surgical mask over their own personal mask to be compliant with our mask policy.


PPE + Eye Protection

PPE and Eye protectionIn addition to universal masking, all staff must wear eye protection (face shield or goggles) in all settings where patient care services are provided and where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. Guidance for sanitizing and reusing face shields and goggles are located in the in the Optimization of PPE portion of Infection Control Guidance documentation.

SafetyZone Downtime

The SafetyZone®, Unity’s incidence reporting system, will be unavailable Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 11:45 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. EST due to server maintenance. Please ensure all individuals at your site that may be impacted by this downtime are aware. Contact Cindy Campbell at CCCampbell@UnityHealthCare.org with any questions.

 


 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

NEW POLICY: Tuberculosis (TB) Screening for Unity Employees

In alignment with updated recommendations from the CDC, Unity is modifying our employee screening approach for TB. Previously, most Unity employees were required to get a purified protein derivative (PPD) skin test annually. Moving forward, all Unity employees will complete an annual TB symptom screening form. If an employee screens positive or works in a facility that experiences known exposure or high risk for transmission, employees will undergo testing through other methods. Click here to view the new policy in full, and click here to review additional resources in the TB Prevention and Control folder of the Clinical Resource Library. 

Updated Guidance on Scheduling In-Clinic and Telehealth Visits

Unity leadership worked with specialty directors and others to simplify the Guidance on Scheduling In-Clinic and Telehealth visits. Revisions include a change in visit categories to: In-Clinic Only; Telehealth Preferred and In-Person as Indicated; Patient Preference; and Not Currently Scheduling.

Telehealth continues to be preferred when possible; however, as our pandemic response continues, more patients will require and seek in-clinic services, and it is crucial we do all that we can to encourage patients not to delay care. Providers can use their discretion when determining the most appropriate channel for care, but this guidance can help all members of the care team to direct patients to quality services in the safest, most appropriate setting. 

IMPORTANT UPDATES


Take a (Flu) Shot, Do a TikTok

Take a flu ShotAll Unity staff must get their mandatory flu vaccine by Oct. 31! Have you gotten yours? Ishan Arvin, Kent Campbell, and Silifat Mustapha joined Drs. Boyd and Buchholz in the latest Unity Feature Film...a TikTok dance-inspired PSA! (Yes, you read that correctly! Click here to check out their moves.) 





Flu vaccines are available to all staff at Unity locations free of charge as coordinated by nurse managers. Health Center staff should provide documentation to their site’s nurse manager. Staff based out of New Jersey Avenue should send documentation to the Infection Control Team at InfectionControlTeam@unityhealthcare.org. In the rare case of specific medical or religious exceptions, a declination form with appropriate documentation from your primary care provider or religious leader must be completed and submitted by Oct. 31. Click here to see the official memo on this requirement.

Resources for Working Parents

Being a parent isn't easy, and balancing a career during the ongoing pandemic makes it even more challenging. Unity has partnered with Corporate Perks to provide our staff with supplemental educational resources, activities, social circles for kids, discounts on services, and more. Click here to check it out! Additionally, Unity’s INOVA Employee Assistance Program (EAP) has a Child Care Provider Locator and checklists for parents navigating virtual learning.

Resources for Parents

Infection Control Reminder: Eye Protection 

In addition to universal masking, all staff must wear eye protection (face shield or goggles) in all settings where patient care services are provided and where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. Guidance for sanitizing and reusing face shields and goggles are located in the in the Optimization of PPE portion of Infection Control Guidance documentation


 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Updates to Infection Control Guidance

Eye Protection: In addition to universal masking, all staff must wear eye protection (face shield or goggles) in all settings where patient care services are provided and where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. Guidance for sanitizing and reusing face shields and goggles are located in the in the Optimization of PPE portion of Infection Control Guidance documentation

Temperature Checks: Effective immediately, Health Centers should actively measure the temperature of patients and visitors entering their sites. A temperature of 100.0F or greater should be considered a fever. Additionally, a “yes” answer to the fever question on the patient screening form should be considered a positive screen. To prevent bottlenecks at the start of shifts, Unity staff continue to self-attest to their health daily and self-monitor their temperatures rather than active temperature measurement when entering the health centers. 

It is critical that employees with fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or other flu-like symptoms (e.g., body aches, fatigue) STAY AT HOME. Sick employees should notify their direct supervisor and Infection Control at 202-7156592 or InfectionControlTeam@UnityHealthCare.org. If employees get sick at work, they should isolate themselves immediately, notify their direct supervisor and Infection Control, and go home. Employees who report to work while sick or do not self-attest will be sent home.  

Employees Exposure Trent 10-6-20Update on Employee Exposure: Last week, our Infection Control team recorded 2 staff placed in isolation and/or quarantine and no employees diagnosed with COVID-19. Please review the latest revisions to the Infection Control Guidance in full and continue to closely adhere to this guidance to protect yourself and others. 



IMPORTANT UPDATES


Wonderful Wizards of WCCs: FINAL LEADERBOARDS  

Congratulations to our category winners! On our journey down the yellow brick road, we reached and delivered essential care to thousands of pediatric patients across the District. Our competition has come to a close, but our work continues! Keep pushing towards our organizational goal of providing 80% of our child and adolescent patients with well-child checks. There's no place like a Patient-Centered Medical Home!  

Well Child Check Winners 10-6-20

Well Child Big Improvement

Completed Vaccines 10-6-20

Preventative Dental

Hours of Operation
Clarification

Below are updated hours of operation across Unity locations. Please note, Columbia Road’s Saturday hours are currently 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. but will eventually shift to an 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday schedule. Additionally, rapid COVID-19 evaluation tents at Anacostia, Minnesota Ave., and Upper Cardozo Health Centers will remain open after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Health Centers Hours 10.06.20


 

 

 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

DC Situation Update: On Monday, Sept. 28, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser provided a situation update on the District’s current COVID-19 data, a new application to aide in contact tracing efforts, a pilot program for in-person learning and more. We’ve summarized the highlights below. Click here to access the full presentation. 

Virtual Assistant COVIDLink: The new Virtual Assistant, DC CovidLINK, is an optional service that allows positive cases and notified close contacts to share information about their symptoms and health status with the DC Contact Trace Force via text messages and phone calls. This tool is being utilized in addition to regular public health screening.

COVIDLink


full-schools-inpersonIn-Person Learning:
Starting this week and throughout the month of October, select DCPS schools will begin opening for Student Support Center and Career and Technical Education programming. DCPS leaders and partners have designed specialized in-person programming opportunities for small groups of students to supplement at-home learning.
Programming is customized at each site and activities will vary from tutoring and social emotional support to physical education and outdoor learning experiences. Bowser said there would be a more comprehensive announcement about next steps for DCPS next week. 



Grocery Distribution:
New schedule for grocery distribution sites listed below. Recipients are encouraged to bring a cart and/or tote bag to transport their groceries. Find a full list of community grocery distribution sites, student meal sites, and other food-related resources at coronavirus.dc.gov/food.

Grocery distribution

Staying Active: On Tuesday, Oct. 13, 29 recreation centers and 6 indoor aquatic centers will reopen to host fall programming and other limited services through a new reservation system. If you interact with patients seeking ways to stay active, direct them to dpr.dc.gov to learn more.

Recreation centers reopening


IMPORTANT UPDATES



Wonderful Wizards of WCCs: Week 7 Leaderboards 

Our competition concludes tomorrow and we STILL have ties! Keep pushing through the finish line and beyond, so we can meet our organizational goal of providing 80% of our child and adolescent patients with well-child checks. Need a little pick-me-up to keep the energy going? Check out Drs. Amira El-Sharif, Jessica Boyd, Andy Robie, Ryan Buchholz, and James Huang on the Unity Silver Screen! Click here to give it a watch.

Week 7 leaderboard


Update on Employee Exposure

Employees Exposure trend 9.29.20Last week, our Infection Control team recorded 3 staff placed in isolation and/or quarantine and 1 employee diagnosed with COVID-19. The previous week (Sept. 13 – 19), we had zero employees placed in isolation and/or quarantine and no new staff diagnosed with COVID-19. Make sure you're doing all you can to get us back to double zeros by continuing to adhere to our tenets for Infection Control below. 

COVID trend process




Tuesday, September 22, 2020

ALL THINGS FLU: Flu season is around the corner! As we continue to battle COVID-19, it is important for us to reduce the spread of all viral infections that cause fever. One of the most important things we can do to protect Unity staff, patients, and the community at large is to immunize ourselves and our patients against the flu. The updates below have been implemented to keep our workforce healthy and streamline vaccine delivery for patients. 

Influenza (Flu) Vaccination Required for Unity Employees

All Unity staff are required to receive the flu vaccine by Oct. 31, 2020. Click here to see the full memo on this requirement developed by VP of Employee Experience and Engagement, Jeronica Goodwin and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jessica Boyd. Flu vaccines are available to all Unity staff at Unity locations free of charge, coordinated by nurse managers. Staff are welcome to receive the vaccine elsewhere, but documentation must be submitted to their site nurse manager or the Infection Control Team by the Oct. 31 deadline. 

A declination form with appropriate documentation from your primary care provider or religious leader must be completed and submitted by Oct. 31 in the rare case of specific medical or religious exceptions. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about seasonal flu vaccination for Unity employees can be found here. The full policy and other supporting documents can be found through this link in the Clinical Resource Library. 

For Clinical Teams: Supporting Documentation for Flu Administration for Patients & Staff The updated version of CL4012, Seasonal Influenza Vaccination is available here. Access accompanying documentation through the links below. 

Which Flu Vaccine to Order 

  • Unity employees should be immunized with vaccines from the Unity private stock. Paper records will be collected by nursing leadership.
  • Adults with public insurance (e.g., Medicaid or Alliance or Medicare): Influenza (IIV4) Adult Stock DOH (preferred), or Influenza (IIV4) Unity Private if no DOH influenza vaccine is available
  • Adult with private insurance: Influenza (IIV4) Unity Private (6 mo and older) 
  • Child with public insurance (e.g., Medicaid) or uninsured: Influenza (IIV4) 6 mo and older (VFC) (single or multi-dose)
  • Child with public insurance (e.g., Medicaid) 2-18yo without contraindications: FluMist Quadrivalent 
  • Child with private insurance: Influenza (IIV4) Unity Private (6 mo and older)  
Flu

IMPORTANT UPDATES


 

Wonderful WizardWonderful Wizards of WCCs: Week 6 Leaderboards
We’re in the final stretch! With 8 days left, the  competition is still tight. To encourage you through that final push, we’re sharing another Unity Film featuring debut performances from Drs. Amira El-Sharif and James Huang! We just missed the cut for the 2020 Emmy Awards, but trust us, Vince’s interpretation of the Wizard would have swept in all categories. Click here to give it a watch! 

Well child check 9.22.20Well Child Checks: Percentage of children ages 0 – 21 at each health center who have had well child check visits between 10/1/19 and 9/30/20, and have had at least one primary medical visit onsite in the past year. Measured by using billing codes 99381-99395 and/or ICD-10 Z00.129 ICD-10 or code Z00.121.

Vaccines percentage 9.22.20Vaccines: Combined percentage of children that have received vaccines at these ages: Children who turn 1 between 10/1/19 and 9/30/20 with 3 Hep B, 3 Rotavirus, 3 Dtap, 3 HIB, 3 IPV, 1 Hep A, 4 PCV 13, 1 MMR, 1 Varicella; ages 4 – 6 between 10/1/19 and 9/30/20 with 2 MMR, 2 Varicella, 5 Dtap, 4 IPV; ages 11 – 13 between 10/1/19 and 9/30/20 with 1 Tdap, 1 Meningococcal vaccine, 1 HPV vaccine. 

Dental Percentage 9.22.20Dental: Percentage of children ages 0 – 18 with at least one dental visit at Unity during the reporting period who have had a preventive dental visit between 10/1/19 and 9/30/20. Measured using the billing codes D0145 (new exam for patients under age 3); D0150 (new patient exam); D0120 (periodic exam); D1120 (child cleaning (under age 13); D1208 (fluoride placement); D1351 (dental sealant placement); D0190 (school exam assessment).