• West Florida Healthcare has protocols in place to care for patients with infectious diseases and we are prepared for potential issues related to COVID-19. As part of HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare, we are uniquely positioned to leverage our resources to provide support and solutions to our patients, colleagues and communities to meet the demands of this rapidly evolving situation.
  • West Florida Healthcare is a safe place to seek care, no matter what your health need. Since well before the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, our facilities have taken measures to create a safe environment. Now, as ever, we have strong protocols in place and are following all guidelines set forth by the CDC. The safety of our patients is and always has been our first priority and we will continue to provide safe, effective, patient-centered care.
  • Our facilities began procuring additional personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gowns, face shields, N-95 respirators and linens months ago. Colleagues responsible for care have been provided training on the safe, effective and responsible use of PPE. Our hospitals have prioritized negative pressure rooms equipped to handle patients with airborne and droplet precautions consistent with CDC guidelines.
  • West Florida Healthcare partners with experts in the field of hospital cleanliness for our environmental service needs. We stay ahead of the COVID-19 curve, ensuring that our hospital and Perdido Bay ER are clean, disinfected and environmentally safe for all patients, visitors and staff members. Our housekeeping staff are fully trained on the proper use of PPE to ensure that nothing is transmitted throughout the hospital during the cleaning process. West Florida Healthcare performs daily cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch surfaces in all rooms. Once a patient is discharged from that room, a terminal clean is performed. These cleaning steps are in compliance with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control.
  • West Florida Healthcare and its facilities continually monitor emergency preparedness and surge plans to meet potential need. We continue to work in partnership with county health departments, the Florida Department of Health and the CDC for the health and safety of all those we serve. Our team of exceptional physicians, experienced nurses and staff continue to care for every type of medical need in our community, including potential or positive COVID-19 cases. We don’t panic, we prepare.

Visitor access

  • Visitors and patients are encouraged to check the West Florida Healthcare website before they visit, as visiting hours and the number of visitors allowed may change.
  • Visitors under the age of 18, and those with respiratory symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath are asked to refrain from visiting the hospital during this heightened focus on wellness. Additionally, any visitor who has had contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or visited an affected area should not visit the hospital.
  • Pediatric visitors are limited to parents only
  • Patients and visitors are being directed to use specific entrances to enable screening of everyone who enters the hospital.
  • Only one visitor per patient will be allowed. Exceptions will be made for labor and delivery, pediatric and end of life visits.
  • We encourage loved ones to consider using technology—like FaceTime and other apps—to keep in close contact with patients while they are in the hospital instead of visiting in person.

Protecting our colleagues today and tomorrow

  • West Florida Hospital and all HCA Healthcare hospitals, are doing everything they can to equip their patient care teams to provide safe, effective care to the people we serve, unwavering in our dedication despite the unique challenges presented by COVID-19. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our goal has been to protect our frontline clinicians and caregivers so they are able to continue to care for our patients and community. The pandemic has strained the worldwide supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, face shields, and gowns, a challenge that is not unique to our hospitals or any other hospital or health system in the United States. While our HCA Healthcare hospitals are doing everything in our power to secure additional supplies, and we are following CDC protocols for using and conserving PPE, the worldwide shortage is a reality that we are addressing with realistic, workable solutions. The steps we have taken include:
    • Enacting universal masking for all of our employees; all staff and providers in all patient care areas wear masks; there are three types of masks deployed, depending on the clinical role, the type of care the patient is receiving, and the level of suspicion for infection with COVID
    • Appointing a PPE Steward to oversee priority deployment of PPE effective for COVID-19 where and when it is needed most
    • Creating strategically located PPE distribution centers across our campus to quickly deliver equipment
  • We also have taken steps to help protect the financial security of our frontline caregivers and their support colleagues, including a “pandemic pay continuation” policy even as other health care systems have announced layoffs. For colleagues with reduced hours, the company will seek to redeploy them to other opportunities so they can continue working. Those who cannot be redeployed will continue to receive 70 percent of base pay for up to seven weeks. For colleagues working in patient care facilities who are quarantined per CDC guidelines, we will pay 100 percent of base pay for scheduled hours regardless of where the exposure took place.
  • In addition, we will offer scrub laundering for colleagues who care for COVID-19 patients. In addition, we are working with major hotel chains to provide housing for caregivers who provide care to COVID-19 patients and prefer not to go home to their loved ones after their shift. The COVID-19 pandemic is unique, and our colleagues’ concerns are real; we’re here to support them as the care for our community.
  • All West Florida Healthcare colleagues are monitoring their health and have attested to follow the HCA Healthcare policy on Communicable Disease Preparation which attests that colleagues that report to work, by entering the facility, attest that they do not have symptoms of a contagious illness.

Safety tips

We all can play a part in protecting our own health as well as the health of family members, vital healthcare providers and the community by remembering to practice good hygiene, including these measures:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue
  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands often, using either soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel for at least 20 seconds
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Avoid large crowds and practice social distancing
  • Check the CDC website: for updated information

HIPAA and patient condition updates

As caregivers, we have a responsibility to protect patient and colleague privacy and are bound by HIPAA regulations regarding the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI).