Snow, heavy winds and ice are all part of the unpredictable winter weather our region has come to know—and sometimes love. Whatever Old Man Winter throws our way this year, be sure you know your organization’s weather emergency policies to ensure you stay safe and our patients continue to receive quality care.
Before you have to pull out the ice melt, shovels and warm winter wear, read this special weather issue of Hopkins Insider, which has all the information you need if you work for The Johns Hopkins Hospital, other Johns Hopkins Health System member organizations, any outpatient facility or the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Supervisors in each facility or department define their own staffing requirements and procedures, so be sure to check with your manager about your specific responsibilities.
Johns Hopkins Health System
All our hospitals must continue to meet patient care responsibilities during winter weather emergencies. Now is the time to think about ways you can improve the likelihood that winter weather will not hinder your ability to work when scheduled. Plan for the amount of time needed to arrive at work, and consider using the support—such as sleeping arrangements and comfort kits—that is available from your hospital during challenging weather events. Staff members who are already on-site during inclement weather should plan to remain on duty until other staff members can safely arrive. Know where to find the latest polices and other accurate information during a winter weather event. Together we can improve our resiliency to winter weather.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
All inclement weather guidelines are in the Johns Hopkins Hospital Business Continuity Access and Emergency Preparedness Manual at https://hpo.johnshopkins.edu/hopkins/policies/851/1196/policy_1196.pdf?_=0.899758539457. Managers are encouraged to call their human resources business partner with questions regarding attendance and tardiness issues during weather emergencies.
For up-to-date winter weather emergency information visit intranet.insidehopkinsmedicine.org/emergency/weather. You can also call the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital weather hotline at 410-516-7781, or 800-548-9004 from outside the Baltimore area.
Howard County General Hospital
All employees are expected to make every effort to report to work on time. Employees should refer to policy HR C-12, which outlines expectations and methods of communication during bad weather. For the latest information during a weather event, please visit the Employee Portal at hcgh.net or call 410-740-SNOW (7669).
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
During inclement weather, each employee is expected to report to work and arrange for transportation that will ensure arrival on time. See Inclement Weather Policy Number EMPRE503 at https://hpo.johnshopkins.edu/bayview/policies/164/11695/policy_11695.pdf?_=0.862011255276. We appreciate your best efforts to arrive in a timely manner to care for our patients and assist your co-workers during emergency situations. We also understand that circumstances may delay your arrival. If this occurs, please make every effort to inform your manager that you are on your way.
Johns Hopkins Community Physicians
Weather conditions can differ across our organization, so decisions are made practice by practice. Employees are notified about late openings and site closures through protocols specific to department and practice. Central administrative employees at our Keswick and Mount Washington offices can call the weather line at 410-338-3777 for updates.
Johns Hopkins HealthCare
When weather conditions are severe, staff members can call the Employee Communications Line by phoning the main number at 410-424-4679 and entering extension 4000. A message indicates if Johns Hopkins HealthCare is closed (which happens only in exceptionally hazardous conditions) or opening late, or if it has enacted liberal leave. If the facility is closed, employees’ paid time off (PTO) is deducted for the scheduled hours of closure. For more information, employees should consult the Johns Hopkins HealthCare HR 005 weather policy.
Johns Hopkins Home Care Group
The Home Care Group does not close during a weather emergency. Employees should refer to policy ESEQ601, which outlines expectations and methods of communication during weather events. Updated messages are available on the emergency communication line at 410-288-8002.
Sibley Memorial Hospital
Employees should refer to Human Resources Policy HURE-POL025 for inclement weather procedures. Emergency communications are published at https://hpo.johnshopkins.edu/sibley/policies/815/34960/policy_34960.pdf?_=0.466477772759.
Employees should refer to the Severe Weather Policy (HR-211) in the human resources policy manual on SHIP. The policy outlines employee expectations and methods of communication during weather events.
The following guidelines and clinical operations work rules apply to all clinic employees of the hospital and health system at these facilities:
Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center
Johns Hopkins Hospital clinics
Johns Hopkins Bayview medical offices
Johns Hopkins Health Care & Surgery Center at Green Spring Station
Johns Hopkins Health Care & Surgery Center at White Marsh
Outpatient Clinic Status
Several outpatient practices remain open unless a government-declared road closure has been announced. These practices include:
Ambulatory surgery at the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center
Express Testing at the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center
Lab testing at Green Spring Station
Hemapheresis and transfusion services
In vitro fertilization at Green Spring Station
Oncology inpatient/outpatient program (IPOP)
Pediatrics: Harriet Lane and specialty practices
Radiology, except breast imaging and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
For other outpatient clinics, decisions to open or close are made centrally by administrative and clinical leadership, and communicated to all practices.
If open: Designated staff members are expected to report to work. Four-wheel-drive vehicle operators should be identified for each clinic.
If closed: All patients should be notified of the closing and the rescheduled opening. Closing is communicated to the media through the weather hotline (Baltimore area: 410-516-7781, outside Baltimore: 800-548-9004), and through email and phone trees at each affiliate.
During weather events, physicians are considered essential employees and must maintain close communication with clinical leadership.
Clinic managers should define which employees are necessary to maintain clinical care operations, and should obtain their phone numbers. Managers should identify and notify required-attendance employees and clearly communicate who is expected to come to work during a weather emergency. Clinic leaders must obtain approval to close from the administrator of ambulatory services.
Identify employees with four-wheel-drive vehicles. If you are unable to find a person in a clinical area who is willing to pick up employees, you should coordinate with another clinic to find a driver. Give the driver’s name to your staff members, and identify key intersections to pick them up.
Communicate with employees. Important information during weather events is sent through email. All employees should check work email frequently during weather events.
Contact patients. All patients in your clinic must be contacted if the clinic is closed. The clinic manager or a designee needs to take home a list of patients if inclement weather is likely, or arrange to access Epic or IDX from home. Please remember that HIPAA guidelines and security requirements apply.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
When conditions require curtailment of the operating schedule for the university or a particular unit, it is announced on the university weather hotline and website (see box below). Information on a closure or delayed opening is available as soon as a decision is made—normally before 6 a.m. after overnight snowfall.
Staff members may be designated as required-attendance employees. Expectations for school of medicine required-attendance employees who work in clinical areas may be explicitly aligned with Johns Hopkins Hospital inclement weather policies and guidelines.
Required Attendance Plan
An on-site, required-attendance employee must stay at work or report to work. This employee is one who is vital to the operation of a work group and whose presence and critical services are required regardless of the emergency.
Required-attendance employees who do not stay at or report to work may be considered absent without approval, pending discussion with their supervisor.
An off-site, required-attendance employee is one who may best work during an emergency from an alternate off-site location: the employee’s home or elsewhere.
Each unit or department defines its staffing requirements. Annually, supervisors should designate in writing required-attendance employees of either type. If your status is unclear, discuss it with your supervisor.
A third category is nonrequired-attendance employees who are asked to work. At the discretion of a unit or department, employees not previously designated for required attendance may be called to work on a case-by-case basis. They may be required to report to work, work from home or report to a designated alternate work site during the emergency. When possible, employees should be given advance notice that they might be called into service.
The Johns Hopkins University may choose to close the entire univesity, a campus or a building. Required-attendance employees in the affected area must remain at work or report for work at the regularly scheduled time, either on-site or off-site as previously designated. Nonrequired-attendance employees do not work unless asked to do so.
Delayed Arrival Plan
When the delayed arrival plan is invoked for the entire university, a campus or a building, all required-attendance employees are to report to work at the regularly scheduled start time, either on-site or off-site as previously designated. Other staff members are expected to report to work by the delayed arrival time. Employees reporting by that time will not lose pay or have time charged to leave.
The weather closings policy is online at hrnt.jhu.edu/pol-man/appendices/sectionJ.cfm.
The Johns Hopkins weather hotline and websites are the best sources of information. Be sure to listen to or read the entire announcement, because exceptions may be contained later in the message.
The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Hospital:
Baltimore area: 410-516-7781
Outside Baltimore: 800-548-9004
News and Weather Updates
The Johns Hopkins Hospital/ Health System Corporation and School of Medicine:
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center: https://hpo.johnshopkins.edu/bayview/policies/164/11695/policy_11695.pdf?_=0.862011255276
The Johns Hopkins University: jhu.edu/alert/
Johns Hopkins Home Care Group: 410-288-8002
Sibley Memorial Hospital: https://hpo.johnshopkins.edu/sibley/policies/815/34960/policy_34960.pdf?_=0.466477772759
Suburban Hospital: 301-896-7669
Howard County General Hospital: 410-740-7669