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CCMH Statement on Accountability, Benefit and Respect for Volunteers

06/01/15

At Crawford County Memorial Hospital, "We Care For Life”.

This means our first priority is to the care, safety and privacy of the patients we serve. Our second priority is to the people who provide this service; our employees and volunteers. As an organization we continually evaluate and balance the needs of both priorities.

CCMH works with over 300 volunteers providing service in connection with the CCMH Auxiliary, Local Emergency Care First Responders, Hospice, Blood Donation and CCMH Patient Transportation Services. Our volunteers are typically long-time Crawford County residents who, through their own personal charity, have chosen to dedicate their time, talent and/or treasure in service to the citizens of our area. Many of our volunteers also serve in volunteer roles with other public and private organizations including military veteran’s organizations, religious groups of varying denominations, nursing homes, schools and the elderly. The volunteers are personally known to many in our community and come with the full recommendation of others including church members, co-workers, charitable organizations, and other volunteers. Each volunteer is reviewed with a full criminal and driver’s license background check.

We respect their individual commitment and support the “neighbors caring for neighbors” approach our community is known for.

That said, our world has rapidly changed in our protection of privacy. Our society has widely adopted the “internet of things” through the use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Meerkat, Snapchat, Ello, LinkedIn and others which have effectively left many with personal risk, confusion and concern over the ability to have individual privacy of their person, and their personal information. For many who wish to volunteer there are very real concerns about identity theft, personal threat and disparagement and even disrespect for the time, talent and treasure used to benefit local communities.

As an organization, CCMH carries the responsibility to respect the privacy of volunteers.

Recently, the volunteers of the CCMH transportation services have been forced into the public conversation with a request that everyone’s names be published, without regard to volunteer privacy or permission.

While this request seems innocent, it is not.

For any volunteer who wishes to be a great citizen and does so without the expectation of personal identity exposure, the threat is real and present. To protect the individual choice of a volunteer whether to disclose personal information, CCMH filed an injunction to prevent that disclosure. This was done in Crawford County since it is felt this is very much a local issue.

With respect to our volunteer transportation services we have put in place many elements to protect the patients who receive the benefit of this service. Key facts regarding the CCMH Patient Transportation Services to assure the public’s safety and security:

  • The transportation service is fully insured by CCMH. This includes liability, property and casualty. This insurance provides for individual protection in the event of an accident or occurrence while riding in the CCMH bus. 
  • Each bus is equipped with both GPS tracking and Cell phone service capability. 
  • In compliance with operational policies: 

                o    Each individual volunteer has a criminal background check completed. Those wishing to volunteer may not have any criminal convictions, other than traffic violations, within the past 10 years are not allowed to volunteer for the Transportation Services in any capacity.             

                o Each individual volunteer who drives the vehicle cannot have more than 3 moving violations within the past two years and must complete a driver orientation with paid CCMH staff.

                o Drivers must:  

                             - Possess a minimum of a valid Class DIII Chauffer’s Driver’s License and keep the license with them at all times while driving. 

                             - Show proof of an eye examination with vision corrected to enable operating a motor vehicle within the past two years.

                o Each volunteer is asked to complete a free, non-invasive Health Assessment and TB Titer. Drivers, hosts and hostesses are asked to update their immunization status.

                o Because this service transports patients each volunteer is educated to the need for patient privacy. This includes: 

                            - Volunteers are required to comply generally with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). 

                            - Volunteer—Patient communication cannot address personal health information of any patient. 

                            - Should a patient share personal health information volunteers are required to keep all information confidential and not shared with other volunteers, family members, friends, etc. 

  • Detailed Operational Directives for the CCMH Transportation Services include:

                  o Volunteers are required to adhere to the following basic vehicle operation principles: 

                            - Before driving the bus, a safety check is made. This includes inspection of tires, lights and reflectors the wheelchair lift, windshield wipers, fans, steering mechanism, brakes, and rear view mirrors are operable with damage reported to CCMH designated employees. 

                             - Check the bus to ensure that any items are stored properly. Volunteers should help patients with any extra equipment including oxygen tanks. No hazardous materials are allowed on the bus. 

                             - Smoking and alcohol consumption are not allowed on the bus. Patients are discouraged from bringing food or drinks onto the bus. 

                             - Always use seat belts. Remember that wheel chair patients are in the back of the bus. Go slowly around curves and corners. The bus must stop at all train crossings before proceeding. 

                             - Drive defensively. Always anticipate what other drivers on the road might do wrong and plan your mode of escape. Never move through traffic aggressively. 

                             - Respect speed limits and traffic signs. Follow all traffic signals. 

                             - Always lock the vehicle and apply the parking brake when getting out, even if it remains in sight.

                 o Traffic Violations 

                             - Crawford County Memorial Hospital is not responsible for any traffic violations or parking tickets acquired by violation of city ordinance, state or federal laws regarding your driving habits and operation of one of the Patient Transportation Services buses. Any ticket issued is the volunteer’s responsibility, even if the ticket is issued while conducting business for Crawford County Memorial Hospital.

                 o Refueling Guidelines: For your safety when operating a vehicle, follow these guidelines: 

                             - Fueling instructions are found in the 3-ring binder in each bus. 

                             - Turn off the vehicle’s engine while refueling. 

                             - Never smoke, light matches or use lighters while refueling. 

                             - Do not get into the vehicle during refueling, as this presents a flash fire hazard. 

                             - Do not overfill or top off the vehicle’s fuel tank. The fuel dispenser shuts off automatically when the tank is full. 

                             - Never force the hold-open latch on the gasoline pump with any means other than the latch provided.

                 o Distracted Driving: Crawford County Memorial Hospital is committed to volunteer and patient safety, and for this reason firmly prohibits all behavior that distracts a volunteer driver while operating a CCMH Patient Transportation Services vehicle. General guidelines for behavior while driving are as follows. 

                              - Use of personal cellphones while driving is strictly prohibited—this includes all functions of the cellphone including, but not limited to, phone calls, text messaging/SMS, email, MMS, Internet use and camera use. Hosts/hostesses will operate the cell phone on the bus. 

                              - Use of personal electronic devices—including laptops, PDAs, cameras and pagers—while driving is strictly prohibited unless specifically outlined below. Hosts/hostesses will operate the tablet while on the bus. 

                              - Voicemail must handle all personal calls while driving, and calls may only be returned when stopped or pulled off the road. 

                              - Hosts/hostesses making or taking calls for the driver is permissible provided the interaction does not affect the driver’s performance. 

                 o Emergency Calls 

                              - The host or hostess on the bus will make any emergency calls to 911. The only exception to the cellphone use guideline is if the host or hostess has been incapacitated. If the volunteer driver must place or accept an emergency call, the vehicle must be pulled over out of traffic and the transmission placed in “park”. 

                              - GPS Systems: Crawford County Memorial Hospital understands that sometimes, especially when traveling in unfamiliar areas, drivers require assistance with directions. GPS systems are extremely helpful devices, but they can also be distracting if used improperly. 

                 o Volunteer drivers must adhere to the following: 

                              - The host or hostess will utilize the GPS mapping providing with the Patient Transportation Services software placed on the tablet. The host or hostess will assist the driver in navigating to the addresses to pick up patients. 

                              - Drivers may not use the GPS on the tablet while in motion. 

                              - Drivers may not review the programming or otherwise engage with the GPS screen unless while stopped and pulled off the road. 

                  o MP3 and Other Audio Devices: In some cases, worrying about music selection or touching dials and buttons on the radio, MP3 player or other audio device may be just as dangerous as cellphone use. It takes eyes and concentration off the road, which is not permissible under Crawford County Memorial Hospital policy. Crawford County Memorial Hospital allows volunteers use of the radio equipment installed in the buses. However, volunteers must follow these guidelines: 

                              - Volunteer drivers may not take eyes off the road to adjust music settings. 

                              - Programming music settings while stopped or pulled off the road or before departing is permissible behavior.

                              - Volunteer drivers may not, under any circumstances, use MP3 players or other handheld electronic audio devices with headphones—not only is it illegal in most states, it also impedes the driver’s ability to properly hear warning signs, signals or sirens.

                 o Patient Safety: Drivers, hosts and hostesses are in charge of patient safety. 

                               - Volunteers will ensure that patients are wearing seatbelts at all times while the bus is in motion. 

                               - The buses are equipped with seatbelts for each passenger and an electric lift for wheel chair patients. The seatbelts are a three-point system that attaches to the rear wall and floor of the bus. Drivers, hosts and hostesses will be trained in the operation of the seat belts. 

                                - The electric lift is operated by the driver while the host/hostess remains on the bus to assist the wheel chair patient. To enable the electric lift, the driver must put the bus in “park” and fully engage the parking brake. The driver then proceeds to the rear passenger side of the bus and, using the handle, opens the wheel chair lift door. Once the door is open, the driver reaches down on the right side of the life mechanism and flips the life power switch to the “on” position. Once the lift is powered on, the driver removes the operating mechanism from the lift. Stepping back from the lift, the driver can then unfold the lift ramp to floor height before lowing the lift ramp to the ground. 

                                 - A patient seatbelt is installed on the lift ramp. Whenever patients are on the lift, the patient seat belt must be in use to prevent patient injuries. 

                                 - To raise and secure the lift ramp, the driver operates the lift in the opposite steps. Once the lift is fully folded into its original starting position, the driver replaces the operating mechanism back on the lift, turns off the power to the lift, and secures the door with the handle.

                 o Accident Investigation Procedures: Crawford County Memorial Hospital realizes some accidents are not preventable. Drivers should seek medical attention immediately, if necessary. Supervisors and drivers will be trained in post-accident procedures to secure the details of the accident and document the damage. Providing detailed facts of the accident will help our insurance carrier deter fraudulent third-party insurance schemes. 

                                 - All vehicles will be supplied with a smart phone equipped with a camera, accident claims kit, and a pen. Drivers are required to document all details of the accident: traffic flow, speed limits, stop lights/signs, weather conditions, citations issued, etc. Pictures should be taken to document the extent of damage to all vehicles involved. 

                                 - Once this information is secured, the driver is to report all accidents immediately to the CCMH Information Desk at 712-263-7433. 

  • Prohibited Behavior: 

                 o Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol 

                 o Hit and run 

                 o Operating a vehicle with a suspended license. 

                 o Two or more major traffic violations (while driving the CCMH bus).  

                 o Reckless driving 

                 o More than two preventable accidents involving personal injury or property damage in any three-year period 

  • Volunteers are required to sign the following acknowledgement: 

                 o Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related fatalities. The environment in which these accidents occur involves numerous complex factors, many uncontrollable. The purpose of Crawford County Memorial Hospital’s Driver Safety policy is to provide the means to reduce such factors to eliminate unnecessary injuries and fatal circumstances. We value our volunteers as human beings crucial to the success of their families, the local community and Crawford County Memorial Hospital. 

                 o Crawford County Memorial Hospital encourages its volunteers to take a proactive approach in identifying potential hazards by promptly reporting them to the Information Desk. Volunteers are also reminded to follow HIPPA guidelines in maintaining confidentiality regarding any patient information disclosed to them during the course of participating in the Patient Transportation Services program.  MVRs will be requested periodically at a minimum of at least once per year. CCMH reserves the right to use its discretion in determining an unsatisfactory MVR. As a guideline, two violations in the past three years will be grounds for an unsatisfactory MVR. 

                  o All vehicles will be supplied with a smart phone equipped with a camera, an accident claims kit, and a pen. Drivers are required to document all details of the accident: traffic flow, speed limits, stop lights/signs, weather conditions, citations issued, etc. Pictures should be taken to document the extent of damage to all vehicles involved. REPORT ALL ACCIDENTS IMMEDIATELY TO THE CCMH INFORMATION DESK. 

                   o Personal use of company vehicles is prohibited. 

                   o I have read, understand, and agree to abide by Crawford County Memorial Hospital’s Volunteer Safety Policy, and its requirements and expectations of me as a volunteer. I also understand and agree to abide by CCMH’s code of conduct.

In summary, the Patient Transportation Program staffed with volunteers is truly a unique and valuable benefit to the patients served by CCMH. This is a free service and fully in the control of each individual patient to request. It has been shown in several studies that if we can get our patients in need of routine medical and/or rehabilitative care sooner the course of illness or rehabilitation to health is much faster. Since inception on March 16, 2015 the CCMH Transportation Services has provided rides to over 130 patients. This is truly a service that is needed and desired by many of the patients we serve. Further, this service is not routinely funded through any commercial insurance, Medicare or Medicaid program.

Broadly, CCMH volunteers provide tremendous benefit within our community, and county, by serving people in need of medical care, and by raising funds to support the healthcare services offered by CCMH and other entities. In various ways, hundreds of hours are dedicated by CCMH volunteers to improve the lives of our local citizens.

CCMH holds its volunteers as private citizens worthy of great respect for their willingness to serve others. We hold our volunteers in great esteem. We respect their right to privacy, including the right not to be intimidated, disparaged, or ridiculed by any one nor be subject to identity disclosure without their individual permission. As we move forward with this program we will continue our accountability commitment to review program policies and procedures to protect and serve patients who entrust us with their care, and transportation.

Regards,

Bill Bruce, CEO