Baptist Medical Center Nassau nationally recognized with ‘A’ rating for dedication to patient safety
Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade ranks Baptist Nassau as one of only 867 hospitals in U.S. to receive highest grade
Baptist Medical Center Nassau received an ‘A’ rating in the spring 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, a national distinction recognizing achievements in providing the safest health care for patients. Baptist Nassau has received an A rating for five consecutive times.
“Our community has relied on us to provide the safest, highest quality health care for more than 25 years,” said Ed Hubel, FACHE, hospital president of Baptist Nassau. “This public recognition shows that we are delivering on that promise every day. Our team members and physicians are extremely dedicated to making sure we continue to meet these high standards.”
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade assigns an A, B, C, D or F grade to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms among patients in their care. Developed under the guidance of a national expert panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 2,600 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. The Hospital Safety Grade’s methodology is peer-reviewed and fully transparent, and the results are free to the public.
Baptist South, Baptist Beaches and Baptist Jacksonville also received A safety ratings.
“Our ‘A’ ratings show that we are committed to providing safe, high-quality patient care in all situations,” said David Rice, MD, senior vice president and chief quality officer for Baptist Health. “Our health care teams are dedicated to collaboration and open communication – two keys to success in achieving the highest quality standards in our hospitals.”
Baptist Health’s safety and quality protocols have been further enhanced during the COVID-19 crisis through a number of additional measures. Separate respiratory care units for COVID-19 patients, designated staff and equipment for COVID-19 rooms, and the use of advanced UV technology for decontamination are among the many safety reinforcements the health system has implemented.
“Patients can have peace of mind that their safety always comes first, especially as we move toward resuming all of our regular medical services,” said Dr. Rice.
“As the nation copes with a challenging pandemic, our gratitude extends to hospital leadership and health care workers everywhere for their tremendous dedication,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We hope this ‘A’ helps to thank the people who work and volunteer for Baptist Health. They are role models in putting patients first, and their service has been extraordinary in our country’s time of need.”
The Leapfrog Group is an independent national watchdog organization committed to health care quality and safety. The Safety Grade is a letter grade assigned to all general hospitals across the country and updated every six months, assessing how well the hospital prevents medical errors and other harms to patients.
Baptist Nassau is also rated a 5-star hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and is designated a Top General Hospital in the nation by The Leapfrog Group.
Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple ways, including providing telehealth appointments for those who need help with mental illness, a mental health crisis, or overuse of substances. To help fund these outreach programs for our community, Starting Point is joining the Giving Tuesday Now initiative and asking community members to support our agency on Tuesday, May 5.
#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 – in addition to the regularly scheduled Dec 1, 2020 #GivingTuesday – as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.The day is designed to drive an influx of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world.
At a time when we are all experiencing the pandemic, generosity is what brings people of all races, faiths, and political views together across the globe. Generosity gives everyone power to make a positive change in the lives of others and is a fundamental value anyone can act on. It’s a day for everyone around the world to stand together and give back in all ways, no matter who or where we are.
You can donate online at https://www.spbh.org/support-us/.
North Florida Land Trust and Nassau County Leaders are Hosting a Public Webinar on Conservation Efforts
The public workshop will be an opportunity for citizens to give input on the environmental future of Nassau County.
North Florida Land Trust and Nassau County Leadership are hosting an online public workshop on Tuesday, May 5 at 1 p.m. to discuss land conservation efforts within the county. NFLT’s Director of Strategic Conservation will be leading the webinar to discuss Nassau County’s Conservation Lands Acquisition and Management program, also known as CLAM.
Board of County Commissioners Chairman, Daniel B. Leeper, stated, “Nassau County is committed to conserving environmentally sensitive land and wildlife and to ensuring our wetlands and floodplains remain functional. We know this is important to many of the residents as well. We look forward to hearing from those individuals and working with them to develop this conservation plan to protect our natural habitat areas.”
Nassau County Commissioners voted last year to place a $30 million bond referendum on the November ballot that would be restricted to the purchase of conservation lands. The county is interested in acquiring these lands on their own or with partners and is working with NFLT to create the conservation plan. NFLT is asking the public for their input on what is most important to protect in Nassau County under the CLAM program.
“We want to know what the people want for the environmental future of their county as we prepare for what is ahead,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “Part of what we do as a nonprofit land conservation organization is to work with communities to help them find a way to protect their natural spaces. We encourage the public to join us next Tuesday and let us know what you want. This information is vital to us as we move forward to create Nassau County’s conservation plan.”
NFLT will be helping to develop the criteria for what lands should be acquired. They are asking for the public input to help determine what lands will best serve the county’s environmental needs to ensure sustainability, maintain the rural character of the county and provide outdoor recreational opportunities.
Citizens can register for the webinar on the Nassau County website at http://www.nassaucountyfl.com/933/Conservation-Lands. The registration link will also be posted on the county’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nassaucountyfl. For those who cannot attend, the webinar will be recorded and posted on the county’s website.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Provides Reemployment Assistance UPDATE - April 28
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced that last week, the department paid almost $412 million to Floridians, which is an increase of almost 600% over the prior week. As of April 27, DEO has verified 824,412 unique claims and paid 392,051 claimants a total of more than $523 million. You can see daily reemployment assistance updates on the Reemployment Assistance (RA) Claims Dashboard.
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provides unemployment benefits to those that may not otherwise be eligible under Florida’s state Reemployment Assistance program, including independent contractors and individuals who are self-employed. Individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 and believe they may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, can visit www.FloridaJobs.org and select "File a Claim" to apply and be considered for PUA.
DEO will be conducting nightly maintenance to the CONNECT system to process claims and payments faster. CONNECT will be available from 8 a.m. to 7:59 p.m. daily. This schedule does not affect individuals that wish to file a new claim. Individuals can file a new claim 24 hours a day, seven days per week at www.FloridaJobs.org and select "File a Claim."
HOW TO APPLY FOR REEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE:
DEO has a mobile-friendly online application for individuals filing a new Reemployment Assistance claim available here. For a step by step guide on how to apply read more here. For the Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide which includes frequently asked questions, please click here. For additional information about Reemployment Assistance benefits visit www.FloridaJobs.org/COVID-19.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org
Tonight the Nassau County School Board approved the appointments of Christopher Webber as principal of Fernandina Beach High School and Yvon Joinville as principal of Yulee High School for the 2020 – 2021 school year. Mr. Webber will be replacing Dr. John Mazzella, who is retiring after a long and esteemed career as an administrator in Nassau County. Mr. Joinville will be replacing Mrs. Natasha Drake, who has been named the district’s director of secondary education.
Webber began his educational career in the St. Johns County School District as a teacher at Switzerland Point Middle School. After 3 years in St. Johns County, Mr. Webber’s career path led him to work in both the private and public school sectors where he served as a teacher, coach and administrator. He joined the Fernandina Beach High School family in 2013 as the dean of students. In 2016, he accepted the position of assistant principal at FBHS and in 2019 he was awarded the ‘Assistant Principal of the Year’ for the Nassau County School District.
Mr. Webber’s diverse educational background has afforded him the opportunity to recognize and support the different needs and learning styles of students. His passion is working with all students to develop a successful pathway in life after high school. Mr. Webber strongly believes that with continued positive support from teachers, parents and community members, all students will have the opportunity to become a productive member of society after high school.
Mr. Webber is a 1992 graduate of Nease High school in St. Augustine, Florida. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Brewton-Parker College and an Educational Specialist degree from Liberty University. In his spare time, Mr. Webber enjoys fishing and spending time with his wife and three children.
Mr. Joinville began his teaching career in Miami Dade County where he taught intensive reading to reluctant readers at Charles Drew Middle School. During his career, Mr. Joinville taught English as a Second Language to (ELL) English Language Learners. As an advocate for the inclusion model, he helped to design a curriculum map for ELL students in Duval County and provided professional development for teachers and administrators throughout the district.
With a specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, he served as assistant principal at Samuel Wolfson High School in Duval county. In 2013, Mr. Joinville accepted a position at Yulee High School as assistant principal. During this time, he pioneered a (PTO) Parent Teacher Organization as a partnership between YHS and the community. YHS PTO has hosted college fairs and has donated numerous scholarships for postsecondary endeavors since its inception. Recently, he was selected as a panelist to speak about Marzano’s Framework to graduate students in Educational Leadership at the University of North Florida. Mr. Joinville is very honored to serve as the principal of Yulee High School.
Opening of County Beaches
The Board of County Commissioners held a Special Meeting yesterday which included a discussion related to the beaches in the unincorporated area (Peters Point south to the State Park).
During the meeting, each member of the Board expressed a desire to have the beach opened as soon as possible to provide residents with additional outdoor space to enjoy and to stimulate the local economy. Many individuals have suggested that the beach just be opened to County residents. However, legal counsel has advised that the Board cannot legally open the beach to some and not others. As a tourist destination, opening the beach will increase tourists to the area and there are still concerns about individuals coming here from areas where COVID-19 is widespread.
After some discussion, the Board determined that they will re-open portions of County beaches beginning Wednesday, May 6, 2020, from 6am-noon to allow for activities such as walking, running, exercising and fishing. No stationary activities such as sunbathing and sitting will be allowed at this time.
The May 6th date was selected to coordinate with the State (Ft. Clinch and south Amelia Island) and the City of Fernandina Beach as to their opening. The County will coordinate with both and install signage with the rules that have been implemented and coordinate deputies needed to monitor activities on the beach.
Additionally, the City of Fernandina Beach has been unable to begin lifeguard training due to social distancing requirements. They have indicated that they can begin training right away and are optimistic that the training will be completed by May 4th. (The City provides lifeguards for County beaches through an interlocal agreement that is in place)
The Board indicated that they would like to see all beaches on the island open simultaneously. Should the City of Fernandina or the State open their beaches prior to May 6th, the Board will consider opening their beaches sooner as well. It’s important to note that should beaches open prior to the lifeguard training being finished, water activities such as swimming and surfing will not be permitted immediately.
The Board realizes that many residents were hoping for a full opening of beaches right away, however they believe that a systematic opening is important to ensure we don’t have a surge of visitors and that social distancing is maintained until COVID-19 cases begin to decline. They trust that having a date set will give residents confidence that things will return to normal soon.
Should you have any questions, please contact the County Manager’s Office at (904) 530-6010.
I, John A. Miller, Mayor, City of Fernandina Beach, hereby order that City flags at all City facilities be lowered to half-staff until 5:00 PM, April 30, 2020, in memory and recognition of MRS. JOAN BEAN.
Mrs. Bean passed away on April 22, 2020, after a lifetime of dedication to the City of Fernandina Beach, which included operating a successful downtown business and, with her husband, Lewis “Red” Bean, raising a large family of nine children: Diane, Mark, Warren, David, Drue, Mason, Gary, Steven, and Aaron, who formerly served as City Commissioner, Mayor, and State Representative and now serves as a State Senator, representing the City of Fernandina Beach. Mrs. Bean was also the grandmother of several grandchildren.
Mrs. Bean’s presence and comments, both witty and insightful, but always polite and respectful, will be missed at City Commission meetings.
On behalf of the City Commission and the entire community, please accept my condolences and support during this time of grief.
As you know, Government offices have been closed to the public since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we can’t serve you in person, we are still here to serve you in other ways. In fact, all of our departments remain very busy with their normal activities. Some have even found time to tackle important projects such as cataloging, scanning in paper files, and updating policies.
Below is information on activities that have been taking place for each Constitutional Office.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONER DEPARTMENTS
Administrative Staff and Shelter Attendants have been scheduled so we can limit the amount of exposure to the employees. Administrative personnel work each day answering the phones, logging complaints, and coordinating veterinary visits. They are also working hard to find foster homes for the animals at the facility. They currently have 81 dogs in foster homes. Shelter Attendants have been divided into shifts to clean up after the animals, feed and medicate them, take them on walks and to medical appointments.
Animal Control Officers continue to work normal schedules since they spend a majority of the day in a truck by themselves. They respond to a variety of calls including bite cases, aggressive animals and calls from the Sheriff’s Office. There have been 120 of these type calls since mid-March.
Though they have a reduced staff, they remain very busy! In the last 30 days, they have performed an abundance of activities including:
Currently, Code Enforcement is not doing on-site inspections unless there is a safety issue. They are still responding to complaints and following-up on existing complaints. Since mid-March, they have received 87 complaints, 24 of which are still active.
County Attorney/County Manager:
Though the number of administrative staff has been reduced, these departments continue to do their day-to-day activities including answering phones, coordinating meetings, preparing meeting agendas, fulfilling public records requests, responding to inquiries from the public and the press, providing legal advice to the Board, drafting Ordinances, and managing the department heads that report to the County Manager. During a declared emergency, the Emergency Management Director reports to the County Manager. The office holds phone conferences numerous times per day with the Health Director and Emergency Management Director to discuss issues related to COVID-19 including directives from the Governor, COVID-19 testing, beach closures, and more.
County Extension Office:
The Extension Office continues to diagnose plant and insect issues through photos, emails and phone calls. They have continued their meetings and trainings virtually to keep volunteers involved and to provide advanced training.
Engineering has continued to perform all duties assigned to the department including but not limited to:
With the closing of beach parking lots and community centers, Facilities Maintenance has been able to complete numerous facility improvements including deep cleaning and painting of all community centers, lighting upgrades, and waxing all floors. The parking lots at Burney Park and Peters Point have been completely restriped and the lighting has been upgraded. Staff is also aerating and spraying turf as needed on the multi-purpose fields to give them much needed care during the break from organized youth sports.
The Fire Rescue Department remains ready and able to respond to 911 calls, including COVID-19 calls. Routine fire inspections have been temporarily suspended in an effort to reduce exposure, however the inspectors continue to assist with building department inspections. They are also assisting with delivery of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all the fire stations. Administrative staff has been reduced however they continue to process invoices, payroll, and prepare the upcoming budget.
HR is working with a reduced staff, however they remain busy creating COVID-19 policies and tracking hours dedicated to COVID-19 activities to submit to FEMA for reimbursement when the time comes. They continue to handle employee issues and workers compensation claims, process insurance payments, updating job descriptions, and assisting employees with FMLA matters.
I.T. has been implementing strategies to accommodate remote meetings, setting up equipment for remote users, cleaning shared equipment and printing badges for essential personnel. This is in addition to regular department duties such as monitoring the County’s computer system, backup servers, and assisting employees with I.T. related issues.
Library staff has implemented a new way to issue library cards electronically so residents can take advantage of e-books, audio books, and more. They are cataloging and processing new library materials, clearing out damaged items, shifting collections to make room for new items, creating new spaces for summer programs, and more! The library has also created a new e-Newsletter to keep residents informed about available services during the pandemic.
Nassau Amelia Utilities:
Employees have been broken into shifts to reduce exposure, however the department continues to function as normal. Since mid-March, they have completed 3,500+ meter readings, 118 service calls and 23 meter replacements. They are also working on several big projects including clarifier rehabilitation, replacement of 4 lift stations, and rehabilitation of two additional lift stations.
Office of Management & Budget:
OMB is in the early stages of developing the FY 20/21 budget, despite the challenges of not being able to hold in-person meetings with the departments. They continue to process invoices while monitoring emergency spending related to COVID-19, assisting the Emergency Operations Center as needed, and working with the Information Technology Department on implementation of remote meetings. They also waived late fees and utility cut-offs for Nassau Amelia Utility customers unable to pay their bill on time.
Planning & Economic Opportunity:
Though they are not currently accepting applications for projects requiring a quasi or non-quasi public hearings, they have many projects and items to review including but not limited to: zoning certifications, lot split applications, final development plans, planned unit development applications, rezoning applications, site plans, and landscape review, just to name a few. They are also working on several large regulatory updates including plan review procedure updates, tree ordinance revisions, and roadway and drainage standards updates.
The Road Department has moved to a seven-day work schedule to minimize the number of employees working together at one time. They continue to respond to safety issues such as pothole maintenance and downed trees. This is in addition to their regular duties including cleaning culverts, roadway striping, and driveway repairs. However, their biggest focus has been catching up on mowing throughout the County.
The Solid Waste continues to operate as normal, however they are doing their best to maintain social distancing from individuals bringing items to the recycle and convenience center. All other recycling sites are being maintained as usual.
OTHER CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICES:
Though their lobby is closed, they are working as normal either in the office or remotely. Employees are still working at producing the tax roll in accordance with Florida Statutes. They are also actively re-appraising every parcel in the county and processing thousands of exemption applications.
The Sheriff’s Office continues to operate as normal, 24 hours per day/7 days per week. Daily activities include monitoring roadways, assisting in traffic accidents, using the marine unit to patrol and monitor activity on the water, and fulfilling public records requests. Detectives are actively looking for individuals who may be committing crimes of opportunity, so they have increased patrol to neighborhoods and businesses that have been temporarily closed.
SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS
The SOE Office is busying processing judicial candidate qualifying papers, updating election timelines for primary and general elections, holding online training for election workers and having preventative maintenance done on voting equipment. Since late March, they have also processed:
CLERK OF COURTS
Although the courthouses are closed to most public traffic, they are still operating to serve the citizens of Nassau County. Citizens are using e-filing and e-recording systems and employees are processing those filings daily, in addition to online and phone payments for fines, fees and other citations.
Due to statewide and local suspensions of some court proceedings, staff has been busy rescheduling court cases and notifying defendant and attorneys of those changes. Staff members are also in the Chambers with the Judges for court appearances being done through ZOOM (virtual).
The Clerk’s Office has made special arrangements to process Notice of Commencements in order to keep the local economy stimulated and have kept the civil department open for essential matters including domestic violence injunction and child support functions.
TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE
Though lobbies are closed to the public, staff is available to assist by phone. They are continuing their regular services which includes processing of tax bill payments and issuing of driver licenses. The Governor has extended the expiration date of identification cards and driver licenses because new photographs must be taken. They are hoping to reopen the first week of May (pending orders from the Governor).
Meridian Waste, an integrated, non-hazardous solid waste services company, is announcing the winners of their Earth Day-themed children’s coloring contest, “Brightening the World.”
The purpose of the “Brightening the World” coloring contest was to introduce the concept of Earth Day and how waste management plays a major role in the health and safety of communities throughout the U.S. and even the world. Now, more than ever, the concept of being clean & green is at the forefront of society as our essential workers, including environmental services workers, keep our communities safe by removing potentially harmful COVID-19 contaminated waste.
Entrants downloaded the coloring sheets from the Meridian Waste website and were free to create their art with any non-electronic medium.
The contest was open to all children categories across the country within the age categories, and it was not a requirement to be a customer of Meridian Waste. Entries came in from four states: Missouri, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
In the age category of 5-7, the winner is Jasoda Miles of Jacksonville, Fla., and in the age category of 7-10, the winner is Neora Varghese, of St. Johns, Fla.
“The imagination and fearless use of color and creativity by children never ceases to amaze me,” stated Wally Hall, CEO of Meridian Waste. “The selection process was fun, but certainly not easy, and I am pleased to announce the winners of Meridian Waste’s inaugural Earth Day Coloring Contest: Congratulations to Jasoda and Neora, we’re so happy that you participated in and enjoyed the contest, and we hope you practice Earth Day Every Day!”
The young artists’ work is proudly displayed at MeridianWaste.com/EarthDayWinners. They have both won a grand prize that will be mailed out in late-April.
These efforts reinforce Meridian Waste’s commitment to a clean and green community by proving the simple joy of children coloring while utilizing technology to save paper and postage with the electronic download of the coloring sheets and the upload of the artist’s submission.
Barnabas Receives Support From the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
As the major nonprofit safety net provider in Nassau County, Barnabas Center is responding to the needs of individuals and families in crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this crisis, Barnabas Center is on the front lines for providing food to people in need in Nassau County. Many of our neighbors are being disproportionately affected by this crisis, especially those who are lower income, disabled, elderly, or unable to work due to business closures or layoffs.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Family nutrition program supports access to food for people in need. UF/IFAS will help support Barnabas Center with donations of needed supplies for its food distribution sites.
With recent business closures and job losses, the services that Barnabas provides to the community are more important than ever. Barnabas thanks UF/IFAS and other community partners for their support during these uncertain times. Through its food pantry, mobile food distributions, crisis assistance and medical services, Barnabas will strive to help those in crisis to help them remain healthy and stable.
For information about available assistance and eligibility, contact Barnabas at (904) 261-7000, or visit www.BarnabasNassau.org. For information about how to help or to make a donation, visit the website or contact Tania Yount, Chief Development Officer at (904) 261-7000 ext. 107 or email@example.com.
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