Good morning, TeamUHN!

It is a pleasure to connect with you across care, research, and education through this weekly CEO update – all in service of A Healthier World.

Key reminders and updates

  • UHN’s Mandatory Vaccination Policy went into effect last Friday, October 22. I want to sincerely thank every member of TeamUHN for your commitment to keeping yourself, patients, and colleagues safe by being double-vaccinated against COVID-19. Last week,153 of our colleagues chose to leave UHN rather than get vaccinated. Though I am deeply sorry to see them choose to leave the organization, I respect the choice they made. We are now working to ensure that everyone who has attested to vaccination has provided Health Services with their receipt of vaccination as required under Directive #6 from the Ministry of Health.
  • Mandatory Vaccination of Essential Care Partners (ECPs). As of Friday, October 22, 2021, all ECPs currently approved to accompany a patient to an appointment or visit an inpatient unit must show proof of full vaccination prior to entering any UHN site – rare exceptions to the vaccination policy will be made on compassionate grounds (see the full policy for details). ECPs who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and meet the exception criteria must instead provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, received within 48 hours before the visit, in order to gain entry to UHN. ECPs are expected to get their test in the community, at designated COVID-19 testing locations. Only ECPs who meet the exemption criteria and are in an emergency situation will be provided with a rapid test at a UHN entrance.
  • UHN’s Annual Flu Campaign launches this Wednesday, October 27 and runs until Monday, November 18. Here are the three ways you can get your flu shot:
    • Book an individual flu vaccine appointment at Health Services here. Note: booking is only accessible using the Chrome browser.
    • Managers/Leaders at TG, PM, TW and TR can book a flu cart to be stationed in their units/area for 2 hours. There is a minimum requirement of 10 staff to be vaccinated when booking these carts. Note: bookings will only be done on-site. Booking information was provided last week in a separate communication.
    • During flu season, you can also get a free flu shot from: your primary care provider, participating pharmacies, or some public health units. If you get your flu shot from outside UHN, please upload your proof of vaccination to https://tinyurl.com/FluVaccineReporting.
    • For questions about booking an appointment, call 416 979 4441. Thank you for keeping yourself, TeamUHN, and patients healthy this flu season.

What happened at the Executive COVID-19 IMS Table

In response to COVID-19, UHN activated its Executive COVID-19 IMS (Incident Management System) table. Membership includes our Executive Leadership Forum and other members of COVID-19 work streams. The group meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a snapshot of the discussion.

Patients from Saskatchewan

  • Background: The intensive care units (ICUs) in the province of Saskatchewan’s hospitals are over capacity. As a result, they have reached out to Ontario to help alleviate the pressure. The transfer of patients is being managed by the same provincial table that worked to move patients within Ontario during Wave 3. At present, UHN is not scheduled to receive patients from Saskatchewan.
  • Who presented? Kevin Smith (President & CEO, UHN, and Co-Chair of Ontario’s Critical Care table)
  • What do I need to know? The capacity at UHN is being preserved at this time for patients who may require Extra Corporeal Lung Support (ECLS) which is more likely to be an Ontarian than a patient from Saskatchewan. Patients from Saskatchewan are being placed in ICUs across the Province of Ontario so that the care of these patients is shared among several hospitals.

COVID-19 Update

  • Background: The number of cases this week in Ontario continues to be encouraging and demonstrates that vaccination and continued public health measures are working. There are some pockets of the city where vaccination rates are low and the hospitals are seeing large volumes of cases. Community partners are working within those areas to provide vaccinations.
  • Who presented? Susy Hota (Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control)
  • What do I need to know? The low case counts are very encouraging, but letting our guard down is dangerous as we are seeing very high volumes of patients coming to our hospitals for reasons other than COVID-19. There are also staffing shortages in hospitals across the Province, including at UHN, so it is critically important that we continue to advocate for vaccination, protect ourselves with recommended public health measures and encourage others to do so as well.

What happened at the Executive Leadership Forum meeting

UHN’s Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) represents a broad range of voices and skill sets from across the organization and provides direction and oversight in service of patients, TeamUHN and our vision of A Healthier World. See the full membership on UHN.ca. The last ELF meeting was held on October 21, 2021.

Synapse Update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: ELF receives regular updates on the progress of Synapse with a view to being fully prepared for ‘go live’ on June 4, 2022.
  • Who presented? Robert Slepin (Senior Project Director, HIS) and Sarah Muttitt (Vice President & Chief Information Officer)
  • What do I need to know? ELF is working with Synapse management to ensure front-line managers and staff across TeamUHN have sufficient time to invest in Synapse readiness activities, along with accreditation, clinical reopening and day-to-day patient care. ELF members will work with their Directors and Managers to identify the other projects and activities currently underway across UHN so that a list of activities can form the basis of discussion at ELF. The goal will be to pause or fully stop some projects in order to focus resources on the implementation of Synapse.

Accreditation Update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: Accreditation kicks off on December 6, 2021 and is focused on an assessment of our acute care and imaging clinical programs. The week starts with a virtual meeting inclusive of the surveyors and ELF. The meeting will offer the surveyors an overview of the organization including strategic and operational priorities, notable successes and challenges, and any other information the surveyors should be aware of when meeting with the clinical teams. ELF will participate in a dry run followed by a mock Q&A session on November 18 in preparation for this meeting.
  • Who presented? Emily Musing (Vice President, Clinical; Chief Patient Safety Officer) and Elisa Chimonides (Manager, Quality and Safety)
  • What do I need to know? If your area is involved in Accreditation this year, you will be involved in the preparation activities which are taking place leading up to Accreditation Week which occurs December 6 to 10, 2021.

Altum Health

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: Altum Health at UHN offers "outpatient" rehabilitation support in a variety of areas which are not covered by OHIP, but are covered by individual insurance plans. Altum Health is made up of a team 600 working at 11 sites across Ontario, serving an average of 10,000 patients per year. The revenue generated by Altum Health is part of UHN's budget contributing an average of $10M yearly.
  • Who presented? Shiran Isaacksz (Vice President, Altum & Connected Care)
  • What do I need to know? The services of Altum Health are available to all members of TeamUHN and can be found here: https://www.uhn.ca/Altum. Benefit plans pay for some or all of the services available depending on an individual's need.

Overview of last week

Mandatory Vaccination Policy

  • Background: On Friday, October 22 UHN’s Mandatory Vaccination Policy went into effect for all members of TeamUHN, all Essential Care Partners (ECPs) and anyone visiting the site to conduct business with UHN.
  • What happened last week? Last week 17,000 members of TeamUHN are vaccinated and 153 individuals made the decision to leave UHN, choosing not to comply with the organization’s Mandatory Vaccination Policy. We will continue to work to ensure that all who have attested to vaccination have uploaded their proof of vaccination (both doses) and work with staff who received their first dose at a date that prevented them from being double vaccinated by October 22. Those individuals, may either take vacation until they receive their second shot, or be on unpaid leave. They will return to work after their second dose with rapid testing provided by Health Services until they reach 14 days from their second shot.
  • What do I need to know? I am proud that nearly everyone at UHN chose to be vaccinated to protect yourselves, patients and fellow colleagues. I am sorry that a very few people chose to leave UHN because they would not be vaccinated but I respect their choice, thank them for their contributions to UHN, and wish them well in the future.

Closing notes

The Michener Institute of Education at UHN is now accepting applications for programs of particular interest to members of TeamUHN looking to advance their careers. Michener created a new Diploma program in Digital Health and Data Analytics earlier this year, designed for current healthcare practitioners, IT professionals and university graduates who are interested in digital solutions in the healthcare and consulting fields. Many members of TeamUHN have advanced their careers over the years through Michener's full-time Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Technology program and part-time Anesthesia Assistant and Magnetic Resonance Imaging programs. TeamUHN can also access Michener's leading-edge Continuing Education aimed at supporting healthcare professionals pursuing advanced practice and leadership opportunities.

October 25 is Canadian Intensive Care Week. Thank you to our colleagues across UHN's Sprott Surgery and our four ICUs (MSICU, CVICU, CICU, and MSNICU). In the midst of the pandemic these teams have personified the values of this organization. Critical Care patients at UHN require everything from advanced ventilation, technological and hemodynamic support to overcome the complex challenges of transplantation, complex medical and surgical conditions, shock syndrome, and multisystem organ failure. In addition, UHN is a regional resource for ECLS (extracorporeal life support) which means our teams have cared for some of the sickest patients in the country. Our highly skilled interdisciplinary team of nurses, physicians, and respirologists among others, have demonstrated their ability to collaborate across our ICUs and innovate unique solutions in order to provide life-saving interventions.

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome and valued. Please reply directly to me or leave anonymous feedback here.

Have a good week,
Kevin​

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