Safety First

Healing our communities, one patient at a time. 

We are moving forward, in a measured way, to once again serve all patients now that the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. We took a cautious approach to reopening by carefully examining all of our processes and patient touchpoints to ensure the safety of patients, caregivers and visitors. 

CHI instituted the following steps:

  • Every staff member, patient, and visitor is screened and required to wear a mask.
  • COVID-19 testing for patients prior to conducting certain procedures to provide appropriate care and reduce the risk of infection for caregivers.
  • Prioritization of procedures, reduced patient volume for physicians and caregivers, and social distancing guidelines for visitors.
  • Careful monitoring of the number of COVID-19 patients in the community–should the numbers increase again, we will reinstate our COVID-19 response procedures.
  • Enhanced cleanings and disinfection throughout our facilities and in all operating rooms between procedures and at the end of every day.

CHI Memorial Safely Resumes Operations

 

CHI Memorial safely resumed scheduled procedures and clinic operations on May 4, 2020. The health and safety of our patients and caregivers remains our top priority, and we have worked to ensure all safeguards are in place as we follow guidelines set by the Governor and the Department of Health to begin increasing access to elective procedures, imaging services, and clinic and physician office visits so we may provide patients with appropriate care. We know these services are critically important to our patients to help alleviate pain, treat chronic conditions, or prevent a condition from worsening.

Elective surgeries. Patients are screened and vetted for any potential signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or who may have exposure to others with COVID-19. The scheduling surgeon evaluates each case based on surgical and medical risk, and then in consultation with our surgical review committee comprised of surgeons, anesthesia, pathology and infectious disease specialists, guide sthe decision to proceed with surgery. Some surgeries and procedures that deal with the chest and/or upper airway will require a pre-surgical COVID-19 test for an added measure of caution. Patients will be notified if their procedure falls into the pre-test category. The safety of our patients and healthcare workers always comes first.

CHI Memorial Medical Group reopened physician offices using a phased plan that increases patient appointments over a period of several weeks. This allows us to manage the number of people in our waiting areas to meet social distancing guidelines and provides ample time for cleaning and disinfecting between each patient.  Our physician practices will continue using telemedicine and virtual visits which began in March.

The Chattanooga Heart Institute offices at CHI Memorial Hospital Chattanooga, Hospital Hixson, Atrium and offices in Cleveland, Ringgold, Jasper are open. Patient appointments will increase over a period of several weeks. This allows us to manage the number of people in our waiting areas to meet social distancing guidelines and provides ample time for cleaning and disinfecting between each patient.  Our physician practices will continue using telemedicine and virtual visits which began in March.

Outpatient services reopened. Appointments for services will increase over a period of several weeks. This will allow us to manage the number of people in our waiting areas to meet social distancing guidelines and provides ample time for cleaning and disinfecting between each patient. Outpatient services which have resumed operations include: MaryEllen Locher Breast Center, Cardiac Imaging, Imaging Services and Cardiac Rehab.

Hospitals are safe. CHI Memorial has taken every precaution to protect healthcare workers and patients. Any patient with COVID-19 or who is being actively tested to rule out COVID-19 is placed in units separate from other patients. These measures have helped to keep everyone safe; this process of isolating patients in the testing pathway, masking and monitoring, will continue indefinitely. CHI Memorial will continue to obey strict social distancing and will continue to restrict visitors to ensure proper social distancing. The hospitals are very safe and we intend to ensure they remain so.

Serving our communities is our calling, and safely resuming these procedures is one of the best ways we can help our communities heal. We look forward to doing what our mission calls us to do each day and provide the care that our patients and our communities depend on.

For more information about scheduling a procedure or rescheduling a previously scheduled procedure, please contact your physician. 

Our care environment will be different than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are just as dedicated to providing high-quality care that is responsive to the needs of our community and reflective of the dedication of our caregivers. Thank you for your support in creating a safe care environment.

CHI Memorial Visitation Policy - Effective May 18, 2020

In order to protect staff and patients, CHI Memorial has had a restricted visitation policy.  As we continue to see a stabilization in the low number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, we are relaxing our visitation policy. 

General Visitation

  • One designated visitor per 24 hours is welcome per patient. If during the hospital stay, the designated visitor needs to change to a different person, the patient will notify the nurse. If the patient is unable to identify a visitor, the power of attorney will be responsible for identifying the designated visitor.
  • Children under age 14 are not allowed to visit.
  • Visitors will be screened upon entry, every time.
  • Visitors must wash hands upon entry and wear a cloth mask at all times (including when in the patient’s room) or KEEP one loop mask. Gloves may not be worn by visitors.
  • Visitors may exit and reenter the facility until 9 p.m. Reentry is not available after 9 p.m.
  • Visitor must stay in room, leaving only to obtain food from the cafeteria or Subway. Visitors may not use the lobby areas as lounge areas.

Emergency Department (ED)

  • One visitor is welcome to accompany patients for assistance.
  • If the waiting area cannot accommodate new visitors, the visitor may be asked to wait outside or in an alternate designated waiting area and be called to come in when patient is taken back to a treatment room.
  • Once in ED, visitor remains with patient until patient is discharged or admitted. Visitors may not leave the room to go outside and return.

Intensive Care Units (ICUs)

  • One designated visitor will be welcome per patient following visitation hours: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Please do not arrive prior to visitation hours for social distancing.
  • Visitors may not stay in between visitation hours or overnight in waiting room areas.

Exceptions

  • End of life patients - those patients not expected to survive a hospital stay - may have two visitors. General visitation rules apply.
  • For emergency surgeries and procedures, one visitor may check in after 9 p.m.

Visitors may not accompany patients who are having a non-invasive outpatient test without sedation unless the patient clearly needs assistance due to issues with physical mobility or mental/verbal comprehension.

No visitors for positive COVID-19 patients or those on the PUI COVID pathway.

Entrances for Visitors

CHI Memorial Hospital Chattanooga 

  • Guerry Heart and Vascular Center patient rooms: Entrance A from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • South tower patient rooms: Entrance B from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon-Fri; 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sat-Sun. 
  • 4 East patient rooms: Entrance F from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Critical Care Unit patient rooms: Entrance A
  • MICU and CVICU patient rooms: Entrance B

CHI Memorial Hospital Hixson 

  • Emergency Department Outpatient Services: 24/7
  • Imaging Entrance: Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

CHI Memorial Hospital Georgia 

  • Main Entrance: 6:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Emergency Department: 24/7

Paused Programs & Services


The following programs and meetings are suspended until further notice:

  • Volunteer program. Many volunteers at CHI Memorial are over age 60 and are particularly vulnerable should they be infected with COVID-19.
  • Center for Cancer Support group meetings
  • Pet therapy program
  • Church meal service
  • Farmer's market   
  • Visiting musician’s program 
  • Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC) meetings

Do you have symptoms of COVID-19?


Are you experiencing fever, cough, and shortness of breath? If you think you may have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or exposure, please stay at home to protect yourself and others. The best first step is one of our remote resources:

  • Engage with our symptom checker chat box. Get your questions answered and be routed to the right care for your unique situation from this page.
  • Start a virtual urgent care visit. We’re offering free video visits with a healthcare provider for people with mild or moderate symptoms using the coupon code COVID19.

What to do to help reduce the spread of illness

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Practice social distancing, by avoiding crowds and remaining 6 feet apart from each other while in public places.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like countertops, door handles, faucets, and phones.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • If you need medical care and have COVID-19 symptoms, please call ahead first.

COVID-19 Testing

For information about COVID-19 testing, please contact the appropriate state screening hotline:

  • Alabama Publc Health: 1-888-264-2256
  • Georgia Department of Public Health: 1-844-442-2681
  • Hamilton County Health Department: 423-209-8383
  • Tennessee Department of Health: 877-857-2945

More information

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) | Alabama Department of Health | Georgia Department of Public Health | Hamilton County Department of Health | Tennessee Department of Health

Fabric face masks

Many members of the community have generously offered to make cloth masks. As we have engaged our teams in planning for a possible surge of COVID-19 patients, we have identified those employees who may wear cloth masks instead of the traditional surgical mask. Therefore, in an effort to preserve our supply of loop masks and to prepare in the event of a surge, we are asking the community for cloth mask donations.  These cloth masks are only used by employees who are working in a non-patient encounter areas. That is, those employees who are not in the vicinity of patients and are working in areas not frequented by patients. In direct patient care areas, employees will continue to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Completed masks should be packaged securely and delivered to one of the following locations:

  • CHI Memorial Hospital Chattanooga Surgical Services Entrance B
  • CHI Memorial Hospital Hixson’s Main Entrance
  • CHI Memorial Hospital Georgia’s Main Entrance

If you have any questions, please email foundation@memorial.org

Ellie Odle, GPS student, sewing masks for CHI Memorial.

Ellie Odle, Girls Preparatory School student, sewing masks for CHI Memorial.