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COVID-19 CEO Letters

CEO Letter 7.29.2020

CEO Letter 8.3.2020

As we continue to test potential COVID-19 patients at our Rural Health Clinic and care for patients in our ER and COVID Units; the safety of all our patients and employees is a number one priority.

With the help of STRAC and San Antonio hospitals, we are able to transfer critically ill COVID-19 patients to help alleviate pressure in our nursing units. This allows us to continue treating and caring for patients with other medical conditions in our ER and Medical Surgical Unit. We are still delivering babies in our women’s center, which is isolated for the COVID Units, and we have established protocols to ensure the wellbeing of our mons and babies.

We continue to be very focused on safety. Our employees are constantly receiving training on working in a COVID environment. They learn to protect themselves from exposure and how to appropriately use PPE (personal protective equipment). Our Environmental Services team is working diligently to ensure all high touched areas are wiped down daily. Routine cleanings are conducted throughout the hospital/clinics, terminal cleanings are done in the COVID units and departments are fogged with disinfectant. All departments are provided disinfectant and hand sanitizer, clinic departments are stocked with gloves, N-95 masks, face shields, gowns and all the needed PPE. Non-clinical employees also have access to masks, face shields and can request additional PPE to feel safe in their work environment.

We have also designated zones, cold, warm and hot, in the hospital to ensure our staff knows the proper PPE and precautions to take when entering a specific area. We are using floor markers to promote 6 feet social distancing, have installed plexiglass shields in key areas and we continue to screen employees and patients when they enter our hospital and clinics. As you can see, we are doing everything possible to an environment that is as safe and healthy as possible.

Thank you for your continued support. By working together, we can help win the fight against COVID-19.

Linda S. Walker

CEO

CEO Letter 8.10.2020

COVID-19 continues to be an issue at VVRMC and in our community. By now, we all know how to keep ourselves and others from getting the virus while we are outside our homes. We remain vigilant about wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing.

At VVRMC, we continue to transfer our most critically ill COVID-19 patients to San Antonio while providing quality care for our COVID-19 patients in specialized units here. We are in the process of decompressing and planning for an eventual return to having fewer COVID-19 units. But, in the meantime, we are providing excellent care to all of our patients.

There may be a lot of you who are feeling helpless at this point. You are asking yourselves, “What can I safely do to help my community during this health crisis?” There is an easy way you can help save lives – donate blood. Blood is desperately needed in Texas. A community blood drive is taking place on Friday, August 21st at Esperanza First Fellowship Hall. You MUST make an appointment to donate. Please, go to southtexasblood.org and make an appointment to donate blood. Help your community. Save some lives.

Thank you for your continued support,

Linda Walker, CEO

CEO Letter 8.24.2020

We are all mourning the loss of loved ones as COVID-19 impacts our community. We all feel the pain of the losses being suffered. The toll has been a big hit to all of us. At VVRMC, we continue to support one another with love and kindness as we navigate this pandemic. We continue to do everything we can to ensure the safety of staff and the community. We continue to provide services both COVID-19 related and the “normal” health services our community counts on at all our facilities.

We have an Emergency Operating Center (EOC) which monitors and reports data on COVID-19 through multiple avenues via the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC). STRAC is designated by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to develop plans in crisis situations. The EOC also supports VVRMC with obtaining what they need to fight COVID-19.

Our Rural Health Clinic has a COVID-19 Monitoring Team contacting COVID-19 positive people who are quarantined and recovering at home. Depending on the severity of their illness, they are contacted daily or weekly to make sure they are improving and have what they need.

Both of these teams have been working non-stop to fight COVID-19. All of us at VVRMC continue working to win against this virus.

Thank you for your continued support,

Linda Walker, CEO

CEO Letter 8.31.2020

COVID-19 continues to be a primary focus at VVRMC as it continues to affect our community. Our numbers are improving which allows us to re-open up additional services. One of these services is Cardiac Rehab. Visit our website, www.vvrmc.org, to learn more about the program.

Last week we shared a wonderful story on Mr. Val Rodriguez, one of our COVID-19 patients. His wife of 47 years, Cindy Rodriguez, hadn’t seen her husband since he was admitted on August 4th. She waited eagerly in the VVRMC parking lot as nurses brought Val to the window so he could see his wife. But, he had a surprise in store. He asked staff to put a sign in the window that said, “I love you.”

Cindy expressed her gratitude to the nursing staff at VVRMC. “All of the nurses my husband has had have been awesome. You can hear the compassion in them. They are the ones who kept my husband alive.” Our staff of Healthcare Heroes continue to provide awesome care to Val as he recovers. VVRMC wishes all the best to Val and Cindy.

I want to remind everyone to continue to wear your mask, social distance and wash your hands. As the flu season approaches, we need to remain vigilant on staying healthy. VVMRC will be offering flu shots in the near future so contact the Rural Health Clinic to schedule your appointment.

Stay Safe.

Linda Walker, CEO

CEO Letter 9.8.2020

I hope everyone had a fun, safe Labor Day weekend. If we are all careful about keeping ourselves and our family, friends, and neighbors healthy, we can minimize another COVID-19 outbreak.

VVRMC continues to offer COVID-19 testing at our Rural Health Clinic at 1801 Bedell Avenue from 8 am to 4 pm, Monday through Saturday. You can safely get tested without ever leaving your vehicle. Our Walk-In department is open during these hours for health and wellness treatment.

It is very important to keep up with your regular check-ups, vaccinations for your children and other health needs even during the pandemic. I urge you to make an appointment today to take care of your non-COVID related healthcare needs. Our facilities are open and as safe for patients and staff. We continue to require masks and social distancing, we are following health and safety guidelines.

Keep taking care of yourselves and each other,

Linda Walker, CEO

CEO Letter 9.14.2020

At VVRMC we are in the process of decommissioning some of our COVID-19 units. This does not mean we aren’t ready to care for COVID-19 patients, it just means the number of seriously ill people is declining. Proper mask wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene have helped lower the numbers significantly. Keep up the good work!

We said goodbye to the Army and Navy service men and women last week. These trained medical military personnel were sent to VVRMC to help us through the COVID-19 crisis. While they were here, they became part of the VVRMC family. May God bless and keep them safe as they serve our country.

Today we welcome Dr. David Hernandez an experienced obstetric and gynecological physician. Dr. Hernandez will be joining the Healthcare Heroes at VVRMC’s Rural Health Clinic. We are delighted he has joined our medical team. Contact the clinic, 830-282-6020, to schedule an appointment.

At VVRMC we are committed to recruiting and employing qualified health professionals to serve you with compassion, dedication and experience.

Linda Walker

CEO

CEO Letter 9.21.2020

It looks like COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon. We have been battling the flu for many, many years and still have not eradicated it completely. However, at VVRMC we are staying current as more is discovered about COVID-19 and how it is spread. We are taking every precaution and actively conforming to the new normal.

Although things may not be back to the “normal” they were pre-COVID-19, we are navigating a “new normal.” We have expanded telemedicine (appointments by phone) and virtual visits (screen visits with providers). We have shifted workflow to allow for infection control and have revamped our supply chain to be sure we have personal protective equipment for our staff. We are screening all staff and patients entering our facilities and our environmental services team is working hard to keep things clean and disinfected. We are following all new guidelines for our safety and for yours.

Rest assured, you can obtain health services from any of our facilities without concern for your safety. All our services are available and we are ready to provide for your healthcare needs.

Linda Walker,

CEO

CEO Letter 9.28.2020

Fall is here. I’m sure we all welcome it. COVID-19 is still with us but we have systems and processes in place to test for it and take care of any patients who are ill. It is time to get back to taking care of your regular health needs. Time to make sure the kids’ vaccinations are up to date. Time for annual wellness visits for the whole family. Time to take care of all those health issues you have been putting on a back burner because of COVID-19.

We’re ready to safely provide for all your healthcare needs. Take a look at our website www.vvrmc.org to see all of our services. Make an appointment today and take care of your health. We are here for you.

Linda Walker,

CEO

CEO Letter 10.5.2020

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Think pink and make an appointment! We offer both screening mammograms and breast MRI services for early detection. The American Cancer Society suggests women at high risk for breast cancer (women who have a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer) have a yearly breast MRI. For normal risk women (women with no close relative who has had breast cancer) a yearly mammogram is suggested from age 44 to age 54. At 55 years of age or older, you may switch to every other year if you choose. Early detection is the best way to fight breast cancer so call 830-703-1743 today to make an appointment. We also offer support for anyone fighting breast cancer (or any other type of cancer) at the Mary L. Pierce HOPE Cancer Resource Room. Call Stacey at 830-778-3852 for information. October is a good time to see an OB-GYN for an overall wellness visit. Dr. David Hernandez is taking appointments at 830-768-9200.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still a concern. However, VVRMC is following all the Center for Disease Control guidelines to keep you and our staff as safe as possible from infection. We are here to provide quality health services for you in a safe environment.

Linda Walker,

CEO

CEO Letter 10.12.2020

It may seem like the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. But, make no mistake, there will in all likelihood be a resurgence in cases as the weather gets colder and people become more complacent. Please, wear your masks if you are around anyone you don’t live with, maintain at least 6 feet between you and other people, keep washing your hands, and be sure to get your flu shot. If we all continue to practice COVID-19 safety measures, we can greatly reduce the risk of another surge in cases.

Take precautions but don’t neglect your regular healthcare. We are doing everything possible to provide a safe environment for you at all of our locations. Since it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I urge every woman who reads this to schedule a mammogram. If you are uninsured, we’ve got you covered. Thanks to the generosity of our community, we can offer vouchers for screening mammograms for uninsured women having their first mammogram. Call Stacey in our Mary L. Pierce HOPE Cancer Resource Room at 830-778-3852. Early detection is the key to beating breast cancer so, please, schedule an appointment today.

Linda Walker

CEO

CEO Letter 10.26.2020

Our COVID-19 cases are creeping up. The positivity rate and the fatality rate are on the rise. Health officials are predicting another surge in the coming weeks. Now is the time to be extra vigilant with safety procedures. Wash your hands frequently, wear your mask around anyone you don’t live with, social distance at least 6 feet whenever possible and avoid gathering in groups; especially indoors. With the holidays quickly approaching, we will all want to gather together. Please, consider creative ways to celebrate. We will be offering some suggestions for you in the coming weeks.

We are as ready. VVRMC has an inpatient COVID unit and we can quickly add more if needed. We have a plan in place in the event of a surge in COVID-19 infections. We have also moved our drive-thru COVID-19 testing and Walk-In Clinic from the Rural Health Clinic to 1200 Bedell. There are 3 bays behind the clinic to keep you and our staff out of the elements while being screened for Walk-In services or tested for COVID-19. We’re here for you.

Linda Walker

CEO

CEO Letter 11.2.2020

Fall has arrived along with unpredictable weather and a rise in COVID-19 cases as people spend more time together inside. VVRMC is prepared for another COVID-19 surge but it would be a lot better if everyone stayed healthy and safe. It’s the same three focuses since the beginning of the pandemic – wash or sanitize your hands, wear your mask around anyone you don’t live with and maintain social distancing – at least six feet.

It is important to keep up with your regular health and wellness needs. We have a full range of clinics that offer face to face visits, telephone and virtual visits. Contact our clinics by calling 830-282-6020. Our Walk-In Clinic, located at 1200 Bedell Ave, is also doing drive-thru COVID-19 testing and health and wellness care. All our clinics are open and providing a full range of services with COVID-19 protocols in place to keep you safe.

Stay safe and healthy,

Linda Walker

CEO

CEO Letter 11.9.2020

Flu season is here. On top of the surge in COVID-19 infections in our community, this could be a very challenging and potentially dangerous flu season. Please, get flu vaccinations for the whole family. Read more about it below or go to https://www.vvrmc.org/education-and-resources/covid-19/.

As we prepare for the holidays, remember to wash your hands, wear your mask around anyone you don’t live with and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others. For more information, visit www.vvrmc.org. You will find helpful safety tips and creative suggestions for our “New Normal.”

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, please go to our Walk-In clinic at 1200 Bedell for Drive-Thru testing. Hours are Monday – Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm. You can call 830-768-9200.

Stay Safe and Healthy,

Linda Walker, CEO

CEO Letter 11.16.2020

The holidays are going to be here before we know it. Thanksgiving is next week. It is a time when we all reflect on why we are thankful. I am thankful for a wonderful team at VVRMC. A team that has weathered the first surge of COVID-19 and continues to provide compassionate, quality care to the community while supporting one another through the stress of a pandemic. I am thankful to be a part of a community that is so supportive of VVRMC and each other.

Texas COVID-19 numbers are on the rise. To date, there are 1,000,000 people in the state have been infected. Please, really think about it before you gather. The CDC recommends small Thanksgiving gatherings. The lowest risk is sharing a Thanksgiving meal with the people you live with. If you want to include others outside your household, potlucks are best. This means people aren’t gathered closely together in the kitchen. Eating outside is the safest and we’re lucky in Del Rio to be experiencing some very mild weather. And, as always, wash, mask and distance.

We’re here for your healthcare needs,

Linda Walker, CEO

CEO Letter 11. 23.2020

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m sure you are all excited about having a delicious Thanksgiving meal and sharing your blessings with one another. I am counting my blessings and I am grateful for my family, my VVRMC team and this supportive community.

Linda Walker

CEO

CEO Letter 11.30.2020

Linda Post

11/30/2020

I can’t believe December is tomorrow. We will all need to be creative this year to have a safe, healthy holiday. We have a suggestion that is fun for the entire family. Decorating the outside of your home is 100% COVID-19 free. Put all your energy into making a truly remarkable holiday display. Then, Zoom with family, friends and neighbors and share your holiday display.

Do you have any COVID-19 free creative ideas for the holidays? I urge you to share them in the comments section. We can all help one another with ideas to have a happy, healthy Christmas.

We’re here for your healthcare needs.

Linda Walker

CEO

CEO LEtter 12.7.2020

COVID-19

LINDA POST

12/7/2020

This week, I would like to share with you a message we received from a patient. They asked that their name not be used because they do not want to share their health information publicly.

“I was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. I decided to leave and go to a city because I was worried about the level of care I would receive here in my small rural town. Could my hospital handle my symptoms? I didn’t know but I wanted to be prepared just in case and made the trip.

My decision was unfortunately founded upon rumors and negative experiences that I had heard about or had with my local hospital so staying in Del Rio made me nervous about the quality of care I would receive. While in the city, I sought help 3 times at the ER. Each time I went I was told to go home and take Tylenol. I knew better! My body was shutting down and I wouldn’t make it much longer without medical intervention.

I drove back to Del Rio with my oxygen saturation level at 61 (normal is at least 95). As soon as I made it to the VVRMC Emergency Department, I knew I was in good hands. The level of care and compassion I have received has been mind blowing. I can honestly say I am alive because of VVRMC and the wonderful staff. From nurses, orderlies, CNAs, respiratory therapists, cafeteria staff, and doctors everyone has been crucial to my recovery. There has been nothing they haven’t done for me and my recovery. I left thinking I would get better care in the city but what I found was that everything I needed was already here at home. Thank you for everything you are doing for our town.

I want to express my sincere appreciation for everything. I will never again doubt the level of care you are sustaining in Del Rio for our citizens.”

We are here to provide for your healthcare needs.

Linda Walker, CEO

CEO Letter 12.14.2020

COVID COMMS

LINDA POST

12/14/2020

It has been a tough year for all of us. But, we continue to provide our community with the health services needed to get well and stay healthy.

Christmas and Kwanzaa are almost here. Hanukkah has already begun so a very Happy Hanukkah! We will be ringing in 2021 before we know it.

As we prepare for holiday celebrations with the pandemic still an issue, we need to get creative. We have technology available allowing us to gather without any risk of spreading COVID-19. If your family is feeling isolated, come up with some holiday traditions for the new normal! There are thousands of ideas online to make the celebrations special without risk to anyone.

We need to consider the health of our friends, family and neighbors. Remember, you can have no COVID-19 symptoms and still spread the disease. This is especially true of children. 40 to 45% of cases are spread by people with absolutely no signs of the infection. The guidelines remain the same, wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay at least 6 feet away from anyone you don’t live with. Being safe now will allow us to celebrate with our loved ones for many years to come.

We are here for all of you healthcare needs.

Linda Walker

CEO

CEO Letter 12.21.2020

COVID COMMS

LINDA POST

12/21/2020

Merry Christmas everyone. It’s pretty much here. Hope you have done all your online shopping and are ready to have some FaceTime interaction with friends and families. Maybe you used some of that pent up energy for decorating your home and yard. Share some photos with us! We would love to see what you have been up to.

Let’s all hope and pray that 2021 brings a reliable, safe vaccine and an end to COVID-19. Be safe and stay well. The VVRMC Family wishes you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

We are here to provide for all your health needs.

Linda Walker

CEO

CEO Letter 12.28.2020

COVID COMMS

LINDA POST

12/28/2020

With 2021 just days away, we tend to reflect on what has happened in 2020. It has been quite a year! We at VVRMC have been challenged to continue providing quality healthcare to our community as we battle a pandemic. It has been a trial by fire but we have done our utmost by expanding COVID units at the hospital and providing virtual visits and telemedicine at our clinics.

We continue to evolve as the pandemic ebbs and flows. We are looking forward to vaccines against the disease and a return to some normalcy. But make no mistake, we have learned a great deal from 2020. We have all learned just how strong we are, how we come together in our community during a crisis, and how fortunate we are to have one another for support and guidance.

VVRMC would like to thank everyone who provided us with food, drink, and notes of support as we battled with COVID-19 this year. We truly appreciate your kindness.

We are here to provide for your healthcare needs.

Linda Walker

CEO

CEO Letter 1.11.21

We realize our community is eager for information about the COVID-19 vaccination. As you probably know, VVRMC has received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. We are currently in phase 1a for vaccine distribution. This means, healthcare workers and first responders.

As of noon, Friday, January 8, VVRMC has immunized 1,054 Val Verde County residents. We vaccinated people until we ran out of the vaccine. We have vaccinated employees, providers and other citizens from over 31 entities within the county to include: VVRMC direct care staff, EMS, 911, Home Health, Provider Clinic Staff, ER/Urgent Care, Pharmacists, Last Responders, School Nurses and Teachers, Air Evac, Dental Providers, City/County COVID-19 Tracers, Fire and Police Department, Border Patrol, LAFB Medical Group and others. This is by no means a comprehensive list.

At present, we do not know when our next allocation will come in. We check the website every morning because when we see our allocation, we have to accept it. Then, we know the date of arrival. As of this morning, there is no allocation pending. However, the next 500 doses are earmarked for the second round being given to the first 500 people who received the vaccine. The next 500, will be for the second group.

VVRMC staff have worked very hard to get as many phase 1a people vaccinated as possible. We are working with the city and county to be part of a collaboration to distribute the vaccinations as soon as we get them.

We ask for your patience. You will find the latest local vaccination information on our Facebook page. In the meantime, please, continue to wear your mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing.

Linda Walker, CEO

CEO Letter 1.25.21

Linda Post

1/25/21

A MESSAGE FROM CEO, LINDA WALKER

On Saturday, January 23rd, a collaboration between VVRMC, the City of Del Rio and Val Verde County made the area’s first COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic a huge success. 1,136 vaccinations were provided to local citizens. Thanks to training and pre-clinic preparations, everything ran smoothly and effectively. Every vaccination given gets us closer to winning the battle against COVID-19.

This vaccination clinic was only the first in many more to come. But it wouldn’t be possible without everyone working together for the benefit of the entire community. I would like to give a shout out to all the volunteers, nursing students, nurses from around the city, first responders, city and county employees, and the VVRMC team. They all came together to make this event a success. Details of upcoming vaccines will be posted on the hospital, city and county’s Facebook pages.

I would also like to personally thank my team. They have worked tirelessly for the past two weeks to determine the most efficient way to register so many community members and to administer the vaccinations. Our clinical team is led by Jess Nuutinen, CNO, Falan Durbin, Tara Vets-Windle, and Janice Herrera along with the many nurses who administered the vaccine, the pharmacy team who managed the Pfizer vaccine, the registration team led by Jorge Jurado, Practice Management Administrator of the Clinics and his team of registration clerks, LVNs and Medical Assistants. They provided not only a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic but hope to our community.

VVRMC’s goal is to continue to partner with the city and county until all community members, who want to be vaccinated, are vaccinated. Continue to wear your mask, social distance, and wash your hands. Together we can begin to manage and reduce the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

As always, VVRMC is here for your health care needs both inpatient and through our Rural Health and specialty clinics.

Linda Walker, CEO

CEO Letter 2.1.21

2/1/2021

Happy Heart Health Month! February is National Heart Health Month. Keep an eye on this page for “Matters of the Heart.” We will be sharing heart related information to assist you in keeping your heart healthy.

Saturday, VVRMC along with the City of Del Rio and Val Verde County held a second COVID-19 vaccination clinic. 1,224 more local residents received the vaccine. Keep checking our Facebook page for information on future clinics.

In the meantime, continue to wear your mask, wash your hands and physically distance at least 6 feet from people you do not live with. These actions, along with the vaccine, will help put an end to COVID-19 and its variants.

As always, VVRMC is here for your health care needs both inpatient and through our Rural Health and specialty clinics.

Linda Walker, CEO

CEO Letter 2.22.21

The weather certainly did not do any of us here in Del Rio or the entire state of Texas any favors last week. The severe winter storm took out power and water for so many people. Del Rio and Val Verde County were very hard hit. We hope all of you have your water and power restored today and are getting back to normal.

The hospital experienced the same impact as local residents. We had to close down our clinics and revise some of our services to compensate and make sure we were handling the weather emergency safely and by continuing to offer essential care to our community.

We are grateful to the many people who stepped up to help us. The Del Rio Firefighters worked continuously to service our water system so we had water pressure to care for our patients. On Thursday, they worked in the freezing temperatures to help. Without them, we could not have continued to provide care to our patients.

VVRMC’s Laundry team came in late at night to wash sheets, blankets, towels and more so the water use wouldn’t impact the hospital during the day when the pressure was needed to care for patients.

Our Food and Nutrition Services team showed up every day during the storm to ensure our patients had a hot meal. They did this without having a single food delivery last week. Our Food and Nutrition Services director, Chef, and the rest of the team were creative with menus and provided delicious meals to both patients and employees. Our Emergency Medical Services crew braved the weather to answer 911 calls as well as to transfer patients to San Antonio.

I would also like to thank the Mayor Lozano from the City of Del Rio, Judge Owens from the county and Fire Chief Knowles for their support and assistance.

Our leadership team showed up every day and participated in our daily emergency management meeting to ensure patients would get proper care and staff would be safe. It takes a team to run VVRMC and I am thankful for our team.

We are fortunate to have dedicated, caring, community minded employees who showed up even while despite the problems they faced dealing with the weather. Your compassion and care are definitely worthy of gratitude.

Let’s all hope we can get back to a normal this week where we are only dealing with a pandemic and not with the double pressure of COVID-19 and a debilitating weather emergency.

Linda Walker, CEO

CEO Letter 3.3.21

A Message from CEO Linda Walker

In light of Governor Abbott’s recent announcement removing mask mandates in the state, I feel it is important to inform you about what VVRMC will be doing in this regard. Governor Abbott emphasized personal responsibility for stopping the spread of COVID-19. Because VVRMC still has COVID-19 patients, we will be requiring all employees and anyone coming into any of our facilities to wear a mask. We believe as a healthcare facility, it is our responsibility to make sure no one who spends any time here is in danger of becoming infected.

We realize there is some divisiveness around this issue but ask that the community respect our decision to wear masks. We also urge you to wear masks in public, wash your hands frequently, and continue to maintain physical distance from others.

Thank you,

Linda Walker, CEO