June 11 Message from Ridgeview President and CEO Mike Phelps
I’d like to thank the community for the outpouring of support you have shown toward all my colleagues and teams here across the Ridgeview system during this pandemic period. You have dropped off food, treats, drinks, sent letters and postcards of encouragement, and have sewn masks for patients and support staff at an amazing rate. You have helped care for us when we needed a lift, and it seems you’ve “turned the tables” in that regard, and for that we thank you dearly.
It’s now been three months since Ridgeview tested the second positive case of COVID-19 in the state of Minnesota. It seems like an eternity has passed since that day in early March when our preparations and training met with a traveler returning to our community with COVID-19 symptoms. Since that time, Ridgeview has tested several thousands of individuals in our region for COVID-19, and our daily testing count is climbing as Governor Walz and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) tap local health care systems to perform expanded testing for people with symptoms as well as those without COVID-19 symptoms.
Interestingly enough, over this time not much has changed in terms of the types of patients Ridgeview is treating. While we have tested thousands for COVID-19 in clinics and hospitals across our system, the vast majority of the care we are providing continues to be for people without COVID-19. It’s fair to say Ridgeview is not being overrun by COVID-19 as we regularly have anywhere from zero to a handful of confirmed COVID-19 patients in our hospitals and are “ruling-out” several other patients with COVID-like symptoms – many of which are negative but require the same precautions until proven such.
Meanwhile, Ridgeview remains prepared for any changes in the prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities. Please know that as you consider your health care needs, Ridgeview has taken several steps to keep you and our staff safe, including making physical changes to our buildings, enhanced our already comprehensive cleaning procedures, and implementing universal masking procedures (masks at all times when social distancing is not possible) for staff and patients. We have expanded our Ridgeview eCare E-visit “app” and are offering “video-visits” as alternatives to in-person provider visits, and are testing all patients undergoing certain surgeries or procedures to rule out COVID-19 prior to services. We are screening patients by phone for COVID-like symptoms and directing symptomatic patients to our respiratory clinics or urgent cares to most appropriately cohort care for those with or without COVID. Lastly, following Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, Ridgeview has implemented a strict visitation policy meant to keep your loved ones and our staff the safest possible while in our facilities and I ask for your understanding during this unprecedented time. Please see our current visitor policy.
I want to close by acknowledging the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd, and say that – without exception – EVERYONE, regardless of your race, creed, color, religion, gender or ability to pay, is welcome here at Ridgeview. As an organization whose mission is to enhance the lifelong health of the people we serve, our values will guide our actions and we will serve ALL with dignity and respect. As CEO, it is my commitment to our communities that I – and each and every staff member at Ridgeview – will hold true to our brand promise that You Matter Here. And we do not define these communities, they define us.