AdventHealth reimagines health care experience amid COVID-19 to ensure safety as Florida begins phased reopening

Daryl Tol virtual news conference

ORLANDO, Fla., April 30, 2020 — As Florida embarks on a phased reopening, AdventHealth is unveiling sweeping changes and innovative services that will continue to safeguard patients, visitors, team members and the greater community as the health care system begins to reopen many of its services.

The changes outlined Thursday by AdventHealth leaders will redefine how health care is delivered and experienced throughout one of the nation’s largest health care systems — from hospital inpatients to elective procedures to primary care visits.

“The requirements the governor has set out are effective and appropriate. We are ready to follow those requirements,” said Daryl Tol, president and CEO of AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division. “When historians write the books about this time, they will figure out what we did well and what we could have done better. One thing we know is that this virus is real and people are becoming ill and dying, and that our actions matter.”

To prepare for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients and preserve critical supplies and personal protective equipment, AdventHealth in mid-March took unprecedented measures, including halting elective procedures and visitation.

As the number of COVID-19 cases decreases in Central Florida and the state begins to reopen, those measures are being phased out, and others instituted, at AdventHealth facilities in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Polk, Lake, Volusia and Flagler counties.

“The core tenet of our reopening philosophy has been the safety of our community, the safety of our patients, and the safety of our staff and physicians,” said Dr. Neil Finkler, chief medical officer of acute care services at AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division.

Among the new measures announced Thursday:

  • All AdventHealth team members and physicians are being tested for COVID-19.
  • Every patient being admitted or in an observation status, as well as patients undergoing a procedure, will be tested for COVID-19. Only COVID-negative patients will undergo elective procedures at AdventHealth hospitals.
  • All team members and visitors must wear a surgical/loop mask when in an AdventHealth facility and will be temperature checked when they enter our buildings.
  • We will resume elective procedures beginning May 4, with time-sensitive cases taking precedence.
  • Beginning May 4, each patient will be allowed one visitor per day. Visitors will be given temperature checks and masks to be worn while inside the hospital.
  • Robust cleaning and sterilization/disinfectant processes have been enhanced, and more sanitization stations have been added across the hospitals.
  • Video visits and expanded telehealth services will be available immediately, as they have been during the pandemic, to lessen the burden on facilities and provide additional comfort and convenience for patients.
  • Social distancing, masking, and contactless services will become standard practice at AdventHealth Medical Group and Centra Care locations, as well as other outpatient offices. Instead of waiting in crowded offices, where social distancing may present a challenge, patients will use virtual check-in and wait in their vehicles or outside the practice until a room is ready. Check-out procedures may occur completely on a patient’s mobile device, but sometimes could occur in the exam room if there are extenuating circumstances.

AdventHealth will continue to operate community drive-up testing sites throughout Central Florida, and testing continues in hospitals and Centra Care locations. Altogether, AdventHealth has tested more than 51,000 people in Central Florida for COVID-19.

“Our goal is to create an environment that is very safe,” Tol said. “When you need health care, get health care. We’re here. We will keep you safe.”