Gratitude and Growth

Risk is not evenly distributed in our society. While many of us can shelter at home, doing our part to minimize transmission of COVID-19 and its impact on our healthcare system, many of us cannot.

This is to recognize everyone working on the front lines of this crisis and keeping our healthcare system operational.

This goes far beyond the people we think of first, the doctors and nurses. Essential workers include laboratory staff, nursing assistants, clinical dieticians, mental health workers, researchers, pharmacists, social workers, custodians, respiratory therapists, security guards, morticians, receptionists, food preparers, equipment technicians, maintenance workers, occupational and physical therapists, computer and information technologists, infection control and quality assurance personnel, radiology and ultrasound technicians, facility workers, medical records staff, speech therapists, housekeeping, accountants, insurance processors, EMTs, phlebotomists, and clerks.

It’s a long list, isn’t it? Even so, I’m willing to bet that there are a number of vital professions that weren’t included. If I missed you, please let me know. I’ll thank you separately.

For all of these people, they are going into a workspace where they know they will be exposed to COVID-19. Going to work, doing what they do every day, has now become a test of courage, a gift to the community, and proof of their better natures as they respond to the call of their profession.

Know that we see you, we recognize what you are doing for us—for all of us—and that we are deeply grateful.

They said we couldn’t change. We’re too big, they said, too entrenched, too bogged down in bureaucracy and red tape. Way to prove them wrong everyone!

  • Remember how we used to talk about how we needed to implement telehealth and all the obstacles surrounding it that needed to be removed first? It just took a pandemic. Thank you providers and staff for your light-speed training and transition to this technology! We are now consistently performing 1,000 visits via phone per week. Video visits, implemented three weeks ago, have doubled in number each week and are now up to 700 visits per week. Not only does this provide critical service to our patients, it also improves clinical volume and stability to our practice.
  • This crisis is proving the value of M Health Fairview. Because of our partnership, we were able to quickly open Bethesda Hospital, a COVID-19 care facility. Because we have Bethesda Hospital operational, we are able to quickly implement a number of clinical trials. One of the most important studies for first responder health is the antibody testing that began there this week.
  • What is different about our antibody testing? We did it ourselves and in only three weeks. Our researchers developed this testing to be independent of the supply chain and its limitations. They repurposed laboratory-grade reagents and proved they are as effective as commercial products in testing for the COVID-19 antibody. Testing currently focuses on front line workers at Bethesda Hospital to give them one piece of stress relief—knowing whether or not they have been infected. This allows them to make informed decisions about their and their loved ones’ health.

Despite all the problems brought by this crisis, I am inspired every day by how you are making necessary changes regardless of difficulty, remaining committed to our patients, and providing service to our community at the highest level.