News

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Operating Rooms Re-Opened

On February 25, we re-opened our hospital campus operating rooms that were previously closed.

Over the last several months, we have implemented and completed a number of safety improvements which include:

  • Installing a new rooftop air handling system
  • Installing in-room HEPA filtration systems in our ORs; this is the highest level of filtration found in ORs today

During the intermittent closures of our operating rooms, we performed some surgeries at partner hospitals including Harborview, Swedish, UW Medical Center and Mary Bridge. We are grateful for their support.

Rescheduling surgeries

We are taking a thoughtful approach to rescheduling surgeries that were postponed due to the closure, including reviewing surgeries on a daily basis to assess urgency and priority. It will take time to reschedule them all; our scheduling team is contacting families now to begin this work.

How should we refer patients with possible surgical needs?

Please follow our normal referral process.

Findings by CMS and DOH

After we self-reported the air quality issues to the DOH, the DOH conducted site visits, reviewed records, and interviewed staff. The DOH closed its investigation on January 8, 2020 concluding that there were no deficiencies. CMS conducted a site visit on December 10, 2019 from which there were no findings. Seattle Children’s fully cooperated with these reviews and we were encouraged that the investigations were closed with no findings.

For more information, read our complete FAQ for providers.

Providers who would like to speak with Seattle Children’s leadership team directly should contact Dr. Jeff Ojemann, Seattle Children’s surgeon-in-chief (206-987-2544 or Jeffery.Ojemann@seattlechildrens.org).

If you have an urgent clinical concern, please call the Provider-to-Provider Line at 206-987-7777 and ask to speak to the specific surgical service on call.

New Referral Guidelines and Algorithms for Otolaryngology

Seattle Children’s Otolaryngology website now includes a new “Refer a Patient” page with detailed guidelines and resources for PCPs about referring patients to Otolaryngology. It includes information about when to refer patients for conditions such as strep throat, ear infections, sinusitis (nasal drainage/rhinitis) and tonsillar hypertrophy and how to manage these conditions in primary care when that is the appropriate setting for care. Read full post »

New Algorithm Page

Referring providers can now find algorithms created by Seattle Children’s specialists on our website on the new “Algorithms for Referring Providers” page. They are listed A to Z by disease type. They are also found on the “Refer a Patient” pages on the specialty clinic websites. Click here to see a full list. The “Refer a Patient” pages were written specifically for referring providers to offer helpful guidelines on how and when to refer patients to a specialist, what to expect after a referral is made and how to get help with a referral. Read full post »

Managing Tics in Primary Care: New Resource for PCPs

Our Neurosciences Center recently developed a standard of care for tic disorders/Tourette syndrome to assist referring providers (see below). It offers a provider checklist with helpful resources, including a list of local therapy resources in Western Washington and Yakima.

Tic Disorders/Tourette Syndrome Policy

Background

  • Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (Tourette syndrome) is an early childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorder marked by the appearance of multiple involuntary movements and vocalizations, referred to as “tics.”
  • Tourette syndrome is commonly associated with comorbid conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder and other behavioral problems.
  • According to some reports, 80% to 90% of patients with Tourette syndrome have both tics and psychiatric manifestations.
  • These comorbid disorders can cause significant functional impairment and poor self-esteem and can affect the quality of life of patients with Tourette syndrome.

Read full post »

OR Update – Feb. 5

All of Seattle Children’s operating rooms (ORs) have been closed since Jan. 18 for work to install HEPA filtration systems in individual ORs and to install a new air handling system. Four ORs are re-opening Wednesday, Feb. 5 and the remaining ORs are scheduled to re-open in mid- to late February, although dates are subject to change.

To respect our patients and families — and to avoid unnecessary rescheduling of surgeries — we will not start scheduling non-urgent surgeries until we have a full go-live date.

How should we refer patients with possible surgical needs?

Please continue to refer patients by calling our ED Communications Center at 206-987-8899. We will review potential surgical patients on a case-by-case basis with the appropriate surgical specialists and with our surgeon-in-chief. We still expect to have capacity for emergency cases. We will continue to divert some cases to other local hospitals and perform additional surgeries at our Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center.

For more information, read our complete FAQ for providers.

Providers who would like to speak with Seattle Children’s leadership team directly should contact Dr. Jeff Ojemann, Seattle Children’s surgeon-in-chief (206-987-2544 or Jeffery.Ojemann@seattlechildrens.org).

If you have an urgent clinical concern, please call the Provider-to-Provider Line at 206-987-7777 and ask to speak to the specific surgical service on call.

An Update on Seattle Children’s Precautions and Instructions for 2019-nCoV

We want to provide an update on how Seattle Children’s is preparing for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). To date, no Children’s patients have tested positive for 2019-nCoV.

PCPs who are caring for a patient with suspected 2019-nCoV should first contact Public Health-Seattle & King County. If, after discussing with Public Health, the decision is made to send the patient to Children’s, the PCP should first notify the ED Communications Center at 206-987-8899.

The viral respiratory panel used at Seattle Children’s does not detect this virus. If the panel detects coronavirus it is due to a different strain.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They usually cause mild respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. 2019-nCoV is a new coronavirus that was not seen in humans prior to December 2019. For more information, please review the coronavirus information sheet. Read full post »

Three Operating Rooms Reopened; Next Closure Planned for Mid-January

Following installation of a new air handling system in December that required a temporary shutdown of all operating rooms (ORs), Seattle Children’s has reopened the three ORs that already had in-room HEPA filtration.

These three ORs will be closed again for a couple of weeks beginning Jan. 18 to allow for commissioning of the new air handling system.

Ten other ORs remain closed to allow for installation of new HEPA filtration systems in each of those rooms. We expect that work to be complete no sooner than mid- to late- February; however, all dates are subject to change. To respect our patients and families — and to avoid unnecessary rescheduling of surgeries — we will not start scheduling non-urgent surgeries until we have a full go-live date.

We are continuing our extended operating hours at the hospital (until Jan. 18) and Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center and are performing some surgeries at partner hospitals.

For your convenience in fielding inquiries from concerned patient families, we’ve created flyers in English and Spanish about air quality in our operating rooms. Please feel free to print and share them with patient families as needed. Read full post »

GI Limits Referrals for Constipation, Abdominal Pain and Gastroesophageal Reflux; Offers PCP Resources

Seattle Children’s Gastroenterology program is notifying referring providers that patients referred for functional abdominal pain, functional constipation or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are not being scheduled unless they are showing alarm signs or red flags.* They are instead re-directed to their referring provider for care. Patients on GI’s waitlist also are being notified, as are their referring providers.

The decision is intended to provide better access to timely care for those children who most need GI’s specialty care. It is driven by sustained high demand for GI specialty care and the departure in 2019 of several GI team members for other opportunities. GI is actively recruiting new providers and hopes to be able to resume seeing patients for these conditions again in late 2020. Read full post »

Urgent Care Clinics Now Open One Hour Earlier, at 4 p.m.

To better serve our patients and families, Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Clinics in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Federal Way are now open an hour earlier on weekdays, at 4 p.m.

As a reminder, all Seattle Children’s Urgent Care locations are open seven days a week, including holidays. Hours are from 4 to 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends. Appointments can be made online the same day starting at midnight or by calling 206-987-2211. Limited walk-in appointments are also available.

Urgent care and ED hours and locations are found in the Emergency or Urgent Care Referral Guide. Read full post »

Autism Center Is Changing Its Medication Management Program; Returning Stabilized Patients to PCPs and Community Psychiatrists

Seattle Children’s Autism Center is beginning to restructure its psychiatric medication management program with the goal of reducing long wait times for appointments and improving overall access to care. Wait times for a first-time appointment are currently one year or more. The medication management program is also actively recruiting new providers to fill gaps left by several staff departures last year.

The new medication management program will no longer see patients year after year for ongoing medication management, but will instead aim to provide a short-term, consultative model that helps patients get stabilized and on the right medication program, then return to their primary care provider or a community psychiatrist to receive ongoing medication management. In most cases, patients would require 3 to 5 visits, although patients needing more time to find the right regimen and stabilize would be seen longer. Read full post »