Voluntary COVID-19 testing for employees continues to expand throughout health system
On May 15, Tamara Hawkins, RN, YNHH Transplantation and Liver Unit (right), was among those tested for COVID-19 during the first phase of a healthcare worker testing program that is being rolled out throughout Yale New Haven Health System. Twila Balint, RN, assistant manager of clinical operations, Occupational Health, oversaw sample collections that day.
Less than a month after Yale New Haven Health launched an employee COVID-19 testing program, voluntary testing has become widespread and continues to expand.
The testing, which started on Yale New Haven Hospital’s Transplantation and Liver unit (WP 9), is for employees without COVID-19 symptoms. Testing is not mandatory at this time and will be phased in gradually over the next several weeks across YNHHS. The goal is to test more than 10,000 healthcare workers, including direct-care providers, all affiliated medical staff, clinical ancillary staff and those in support departments.
Appointments are required for testing, but no approvals are needed. Visit the landing page of the YNHHS employee intranet to learn more. To make an appointment, visit https://ocucovidtesting.ynhhs.org/.
“We are working to ensure the safest environment for our patients and staff,” said Scott Sussman, MD, YNHHS physician executive director of Clinical Redesign. “Since people can sometimes be contagious despite not having COVID-19 signs or symptoms, we started this testing program as part of a comprehensive approach to infection prevention. In addition to mask use, identifying those individuals through testing may help keep our patients and colleagues safer.”
Initially, WP 9 testing was performed on the unit; plans called for setting up testing stations outside the unit and having healthcare workers make appointments. All healthcare workers coming to the unit – including those from other departments – can be tested.
“We’re pleased to participate in the first phase of employee testing,” said Tami Chomicz, RN, WP 9 patient services manager. “This is important to our transplantation patients, who are at increased risk for COVID-19 and other infections. They’ll know they’re coming back to a safe environment.” Widespread healthcare worker testing is a key component of YNHHS’ COVID-19 transformation plans, which address how the health system can continue to care for COVID-19 patients while performing more procedures and reopening some treatment areas and offices to other patients.
“The transformation process is complex, and will take time and planning,” said Richard Lisitano, YNHH vice president, Clinical Services. “Our focus is on keeping everyone safe, while ensuring the people in the communities we serve have access to the care they need.”