I think we're just about ready to get started so let's give it one minute and then we'll go ahead and get started with the media availability for today's 60 more seconds and then I'll come back and we'll kick things off you you all right well it looks like we're ready to roll good afternoon and welcome to northern Lake Health's Cove in nineteen media availability for April 29th as usual we have dr.
Jim Jarvis he's the medical specialist of incident command here at Northern Light Health and we have Paul Mullen senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Northern Light health well Paul and dr.
Javitz will have a few remarks and then we'll jump into questions just a couple of housekeeping issues before we get started I've enabled recording for everybody on zoom' if you have any trouble of getting your recording started just let me know in the chat and we can troubleshoot and as usual we'll have the high quality audio video file available after this session today um usually takes us about an hour to get that done and we'll send it over to you as quickly as you can and so with that we'll get started with Paul Bowen I'll kick off things today infinity go ahead Paul thanks Andy and good afternoon everyone again i'm paul bolin senior vice president and chief human resources officer with our line help just wanted to point out some of the continued community partnerships that northern light health and other healthcare organizations around the country are are finding with new community partners for supply chain intention in herman is one of those partners that has stepped up to partner with northern light health in the fabrication of medical grade procedural masks not to be confused with the n95 respirators which are used in the direct care of Kovac patients but these masks that are used by healthcare workers throughout the facility for non kovat non aspirating treatment are really a lifeline to continued personal protective equipment and partners like intention are emerging throughout the country and we wanted to note that that is a great relationship here right in our own backyard and we continue to see interest and need for additional masking not in the healthcare work environment but out in the community and so consistent with CDC recommendations people are encouraged to provide a face covering scarf a bandana a cloth mask went out in the community and so we can still continue to see interest and support for those quilters and and others who are fabricating masks at home and for their for themselves and family members so that's an ongoing community initiative that we continue to see and and if certainly needed at this time thank you Paul come let me get a couple of highlighted numbers currently northern light health across our system confirmed cases of individuals who we are caring for three of them or at Eastern Maine Medical Center one is at Mercy Hospital and the remaining nine are at being cared for by our home care and hospice workers at individuals homes currently we have eleven patients across our system who are hospitalized who are under investigation for covin 19 and we hope all those tests come back negative so far to date northern light lab has tested four thousand two hundred and fifty-six individuals with a hundred and thirty one of those testing positive when announcing her four-phase plan yesterday the governor mentioned that in phase one healthcare organizations will begin resuming provider health care services that have been delayed due to kovat 19 we support that decision and we know that this needs to be done in a phased in plan across our healthcare facilities as it is being done across the economic spectrum for the state of Maine we want to make sure that we continue to provide adequate and safe care for both our healthcare workers and for those patients and visitors that that come into our facilities with that in mind we are currently requesting that patients and visitors wear face coverings when they enter our facilities and as a Friday morning we will require that to be done we encourage you to bring your own cloth base covering to our facility and that will help expedite the process of getting into our facilities and that's across the spectrum of northern light health we were also going to ensure that we have adequate testing supplies in order to be able to test individuals prior to doing elective or semi elective procedures that would put our healthcare workers and our patients at risk and so we want to minimize that risk by testing people as adequately as possible we do know that we continue to have challenges with the testing the number of individuals that we would like to test but we do feel we can provide that service for the people who we absolutely named to test and so we will continue to do that we will continue to restrict visitation on each member organization across our cost the Health System has their own visitation policy um and you would it's viable that you checked with that member organization prior to visiting one of our health care facilities we don't have an exact timeline as to how we will go about bringing each of these services online and we will continue to remain in contact with our patients the public and utilizing the media where appropriate to make those announcements so please stay tuned but we do expect that at least initially we will be able to provide services to those individuals who we have pushed some of their testing and some of their procedures out knowing that it was safe to do so but also recognizing that the longer we wait the more that it may be challenging to get those procedures done and we want to make sure that we do that at the same time I want to continue to encourage those individuals who need healthcare to seek health care so if you have any emerging emergent conditions please call 9-1-1 and if you have chronic health care conditions or acute care conditions that you have concerns about please reach out to your providers remember that northern light health has many safe opportunities for individuals to interact with their healthcare providers including safely coming to our facilities and then using one of our telehealth services and so I encourage you to do that and with that we'll open it up for questions okay so the order for questions today will be Portland Press Herald abc7 Penobscot Bay press wabi Bangor Daily News and News Center Maine I'll call on each media organization and then I'll unmute you you'll have a chance to ask two questions and if time permits we may be able to take additional questions at the end if your questions directed at Paul or dr.
Jarvis let us know beforehand and we'll make sure to get them zoomed in as quickly as possible so with that let's begin the first question is yours Joe Lawler yes hi thanks for taking my questions I'm just whoever feels like they could answer this can you give us some idea of I know you said things that have been delayed will be some of the first teachers to be reopened can you like at least give some examples of some of the healthcare services that will be reopened are we talking elective surgeries are we talking and you mentioned testing like what types of testing if you could just give some more details about that and then my second question is I heard you talking about testing people who come in do you mean like people who are coming in for elective surgeries would be tested for coded or could you sure so answer the first question which was what type of services do we think will be started up sooner rather than later and the best example I can give of that would be surveillance screening for say individuals who are being treated for certain cancers where we have felt that it was safe for us to delay getting repeat cat skin or something along those lines and now feeling that we have the ability to ensure safety and being able to bring those individuals in in a safe fashion to get that kind of surveillance kind of testing done in addition we would say the same thing about certain procedures so if we felt that we could delay a biopsy or a certain kind of surgery for a period of time we did that in the interest of Public Safety but now feel that we have the ability to make sure and ensure that we are providing safe care for both our patients and our healthcare workers and so those are the kind of things that we would that we will be starting off with and again all those will be addressed on a case-by-case basis second question was about the kind of testing that we would need to do in order to ensure that safety when it comes to Cova 19 and that would be that right now we are testing certain individuals who are undergoing particular procedures that generate that aerosolized particles that may may be infectious to other people and so we would continue that process and expand it as we expand out the kind of procedures that we will be entering into for those truly elective and when I say elective from a clinical standpoint those will be those will we continue to be delayed as we assess both the safety of having larger numbers within our facilities and be able to test those patients B prior to being able to do those procedures and that would be things you know like hip replacements or other things that well are necessary can be delayed safely for somebody's long-term health okay next we have ABC 7 Fox 22 T Jane go ahead Thank You dr.
Jarvis several weeks ago there were predictions and projections about what you would be dealing with as you went along through those several weeks that we just gone through not trying to be convoluted my question is how surprised are you at what we have today compared with what the projections were so the question was is how surprised in my by by what our actual numbers of cases are versus what the initial projections were so I will say that I was one of those people that when looking at both China and Italy's data expected us to see far more cases but that was also prior to the governor's stay-at-home order as well as our social distancing as a community and I will say that Mainers did a fantastic job the reason why our curve is flattened is because of the great work that everyone has done to protect themselves and more importantly to protect the community at large and so and that is incredibly important that we continue to do that so even as we open up hairdressers and other businesses as the governor phases those in it is not the time for us to let up in fact it is the time for us to be much more engaged in the process of keeping each other safe that's why the governor recommended and is going to require face coverings when out in public and you cannot maintain social distancing and that all new businesses that are opening up must have the ability to have social distancing within the confines of their enterprise that is extremely important and that's the reason why our curve is flat I will remind people though that as we flatten the curve we extend the curve and so if we were not to have put any of those things in places we would have seen a larger number of infected people we would have seen four more people hospitalized and unfortunately more deaths but what we will see because we did such a good job is that the tail end of this epidemic will probably be longer but it will be longer with less people having severe illness and certainly less deaths and that's important we do not want to see a second surge and the only way for us to prevent that second surge is to keep doing the things that we are doing now thank you for the questions thank you sure okay next we cause stop Scott Bay press Leslie sorry I had to unmute my my microphone I'm not sure who this question is is directed to but I'm wondering what are you hearing from the state about testing let's say I'm not quite sure what you mean by that for that question well is the state asking you to do anything in order to be able to test more people is the state making you know are they communicating with you about the availability of tests so the question is are we I think the test is borrow we cook coordinating with the state regarding testing for Kobe 19 and the answer that is absolutely since the very very beginning of this epidemic on the state has coordinated very well with the hospital systems across the state and with the independent hospitals as well personally I sit on several of the state guidance committees in several of these areas and have at least one meeting every day if not several meetings every day on testing is usually a topic at every single one of those and so we are coordinating our efforts as the state has increased its ability to do testing so have many of the private companies including northern light health and we will continue to do that and continue to monitor we also need to monitor what will be the most effective tests for us so right now the most of the tests being done in our state are direct tests that's the nasal swab where we're looking specifically for the virus itself on we do know that there will be a phase when we switch over to serologic testing which is blood tests that look for specific things there are two specific categories there one is looking for the antigen which is viral particles and the lat the other is to look for antibodies which is the human beings own body the mechanism it uses to protect itself from infections currently there is not widespread serologic testing in the state of Maine and its utility is questionable right now but we continue to work with the Maine CDC as well as with our partners across the state evaluating that and will continue to do so thank you for the question if I if I could just could I just follow up with one more question that's quite different with the staggering unemployment are you anticipating increased numbers of uninsured patients and how will that affect you I don't think we can answer that question at this time certainly employment is the number one way that people get health insurance and all might want to comment a little bit on that um but we are prepared and Northern Light has always been a health care agency that sees the patients first and discusses monetary considerations afterwards and we will continue to do that do that we have an obligation to our communities to certainly help out people in in urgent needs and emergent care and I'll let Paul comment Jarvis mentioned certainly unemployment people who are laid off or furloughed from their jobs have different circumstances with regard to their benefits some employers are extending health benefits during furloughs others are not anyone who loses health coverage has the option of electing COBRA coverage at their own expense and so displaced workers across the state and throughout the country have a number of different options some of them will continue to have insurance for those reasons I mentioned others may not but then may then become eligible for Maine care or other other options as well so it really depends on the specifics certainly you know losing employment and hat will have an impact on benefits but it's really too early to say what that would do in terms of the payer mix for health care in the state of Maine at this point we're at this point we enter paid much of the unemployment to be a short-term phenomenon as they as the economy is cue to start reopening as early as Friday thank you welcome okay next we have wabi wob I've F floor is yours I think I might my questions have actually been answered so you can go ahead and wrong okay so next we have Bangor Daily News charlie yep hiya dr.
Jarvis and mister boland I appreciate your time as I wait I guess my questions are for dr.
Jarvis the first one I have one about testing in a minute but the first one is sort of following up from Joe Wohlers question about the examples of types of services that will come back online I was wondering are there any types of I guess my question is more about less kind of urgent stuff like maybe physicals or colonoscopies as I car there do you have any sense sort of I assume they're sort of some backlogs of people who have had that work put off and who now need to get it done sort of how long it could take northern light to work through those backlogs and kind of get back to an even keel on getting people in for that stuff do we know that there's a backlog for things like screening tests like colonoscopies mammography and and the like and how soon we can get through that backlog the the truthful answer is we just don't know those certainly will be things that we continue to delay because they are screening tests and not things that need to be done urgently on that doesn't mean that they are not important they are important but we also want to make sure that we are doing things in a safe and effective manner so we'll have to continue to monitor just like every other industry is going to monitor as they open up what they can do in a safe way and so really what we need to do is first take care of those people who have more urgent needs where it affects their day-to-day health and then we will start looking at whether we can safely and conveniently open up the of those including things like screening tests such as mammography or or colonoscopy again it will also talk about where the regional spread is of the disease if we see one area of the state having an increase in cases as we slowly open up the economy then that may put a pause on all of our efforts and so we need to be do this doing this cautiously but optimistically okay pick yet another question yeah so um this is about testing and one of my colleagues asked it she wanted to know what is the specific type of test that northern light is doing to detect Kovan 19and and do you have any sense how accurate it has been for example with producing false positives or false negatives and and you know the rate of false negatives if you know as part of that question the question is what type of test is Northern Light lab use and and what what is its sensitivity so the type of test that we do is called a PCR or polymerase chain reaction test it is a very accurate test and is the the standard really for doing this kind of testing so not just for kovat 19 but for other infectious diseases and and other agent entities that we test for and so it is it is very accurate we have had a few cases where we wondered whether we had false negative or false positive tests but thankfully on the test that we use is a little bit different than the test the state uses and the state has been able to validate our tests as well there's always that chance of a false positive or false negative there is no hundred-percent test out there but we feel that ours is very accurate um and and believe that it is it is meeting our clinical needs it looks like we may have time at the end today for another question or two so before we move on to new center main until I you know that if you do have additional questions please note them in the chat and we'll get through as many of them as we can before 1:30 so last but not least today we have new center Maine Dana Europe good afternoon everybody dr.
Jarvis you mentioned economic spectrum what can you tell us about the Northern Line hospitals as businesses are some of your facilities in economic or operational distress thankfully northern light health feels that we have the financial reserve and wherewithal to weather through this storm certainly we are we are happy that the federal government has passed some legislation that will assist all healthcare agencies but ours in particular currently we have not had any required furloughs or layoffs or anything like that and I'll let Paul talk a little bit about that when I'm done and right now we think that that we are in in a situation where we will get through this and be able to keep our entities intact one of the the benefits of working for such a large healthcare system is is that we can rely on one another and so if one of our agencies or institutions is struggling we have the other ones to help pick them up and buffer them at the same time we work with those independent hospitals in and around the state to see what we can offer them in terms of assistance for for whatever reason that might be and I will tell you it's been one of the blessings about working here in the state of Maine is how collaboratively we work together and try to keep all of us afloat and and doing the things that we need to do to keep our community safe and not let Paul comment further if you'd like service I totally agree in terms of the collaboration certainly within within our system as well as with other agencies and with the state government as well Northern Light a prime example of why Northern Light is doing some of the things that it's doing and has been able to not have layoffs or involuntary furloughs or pay cuts I think was captioned well in a recent article regarding northern light mayo hospital in Dover Foxcroft talking to providers and leaders and staff there about collaborating with colleagues throughout the system and enhancing resources that wouldn't have otherwise been available to them as they as an individual Hospital would be whether Inc Ovid just a few weeks prior to our our merger with them so I think really it is it really boils down to us leaning on each other to support one another it's difficult work there's there are oftentimes things that are changing very quickly and certainly as we saw at the early stages of the COBIT pandemic but but really it's it's relying on one another supporting one another whether it's you know behavioral health and other types of support or support in the direct workplace so all of those things I think can allow us to weather this as well as we have and so we feel certainly fortunate given the circumstances okay now you have a second question sure thing what can either of you tell us about any changes in the kovat situation at Bangor's hope host Arthur Jarvis reports in the media about their positive cases and certainly we talked with novice about community health centers who oversees Hope House on a regular basis and have offered our support there but right now I don't have anything new to add them what's been reported in the news before okay and final question for today's in the chat Joe Lawler asks was published for you dr.
Jeffers he says I know you mentioned hip replacements as something that could be delayed further but just to be clear some of the joint replacements would be prioritized and could potentially get in earlier is that correct maybe a patient yeah let me finish maybe a patient who has a deteriorating condition and lots of pain waiting for surgery or almost all joint replacements going to continue to be delayed now as I said so the question was would we delay any other procedures that are though that truly are elective that would we would prioritize and the answer that is yes again all cases we'll be done on a case-by-case basis so there will not be an announcement that says we're just doing this today and everybody who needs this done come in today everything will be done on a clinical basis as we have done through this entire crisis we evaluate patients on Iran every day for for what needs to be done urgently emergently and then can be done in a delayed fashion so we will continue to do that and and you are correct there will be some individuals who on what we consider to be a more elective surgery may need to be higher up on the priority due to the person's particular condition so yes we will be doing that all right well that's the last question for David today let's wrap it up there and a little bit we'll send you over the clean audio video file from today I appreciate everyone attending and have a great day [Music] [Music] you.