President’s Message

Posted on May 1, 2020 in President's Message | 0 comments

It looks like the curve has flattened in the Bay Area. Our worst fears that our emergency departments and ICU’s were going to be swamped, thankfully, did not come to pass.

So what now?

As we begin the process of trying to figure out how to open up again, as a state, as well as a hospital, we are left facing new challenges. It is clear that our hospital volumes have diminished substantially during the last few months, but it is equally unclear whether or how we can regain the volume loss. The effects of this pandemic and the associated economic toll are just beginning. Many of our outpatient based practices have seen a significant decline in visits, and only some larger practices have instituted telehealth capabilities. Some of us have had to make difficult decisions to furlough non-essential staff.

As much as we as healthcare providers have worried about how we can safely provide care to our patients, both COVID and non-COVID, our patients have felt that same concern.

This story in the SF chronicle, which features interviews from Dr. Junaid Khan and Dr. Ronn Berrol, summarizes the fears of our patients accessing our medical systems and hospitals.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/A-shelter-in-place-side-effect-Bay-Area-people-15219842.php#photo-19328615

We are carefully planning how we can address the non-COVID health care needs of our patients, as established disease processes are agnostic to this new kid on the block. It is vital that we do this, not only to adequately safeguard our community, but to maintain financial viability of the hospital. For this, we are asking for your help. Please circulate the below information to your patients and to your staff.

How We’re Managing Non-COVID-19 Care

At Sutter, your health is our main priority. We understand you might have concerns about going to an emergency room or to see your doctor if you don’t have COVID-19 (coronavirus) symptoms. That’s why we want to let you know that if you need any type of care, we’re here for you.

If you have a medical problem, please contact your doctor.
We may be able to schedule a video visit, or you may need to come in to be seen by your provider. If you visit a care center, be reassured that we’re actively isolating anyone with COVID-19 symptoms. All patients are screened before entering the building. It’s important not to delay seeking treatment when you need it.

Our emergency and urgent care facilities are open and ready to provide care.
We’ve taken several steps to make sure you’re safe when you come to our doctors’ offices, emergency departments and urgent care facilities:

  1. Mandatory Masking – All patients and visitors must be masked while in any of our care sites, with specific exceptions.
  2. Isolation – Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms is isolated from waiting areas, patient rooms, entrances and any space that the general population uses.
  3. Cleaning – Our teams are performing extra cleaning and disinfecting in all spaces.
  4. Employee Screening – We’ve instituted mandatory employee temperature screenings before each shift.

You can find out more about the steps we’ve taken to prepare for COVID-19 and answers to frequently asked questions on our website.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an emergency such as a heart attack or stroke, it’s essential to seek care immediately by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency room.

Thank you for trusting us with your care, and for the support and gratitude you’ve shared for our clinicians on the front lines. Together, we’re #SutterStrong.

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I want to thank you all for your resilience. The medicine that we practice now is drastically different than three months ago, and it is incumbent upon us to determine how, as a medical staff, we can envision the shape and direction of healthcare going forward at ABSMC. I am continually impressed with the level of engagement and volunteerism that our medical staff has demonstrated during this crisis.

We rely on our hospital administrative partners: Ursi Boynton, CME, Denise Navelier, CNE, Patty Pilgrim, CFO, to channel that vision, and I want to thank them for the incredible work that they have done to get our hospital ready, to train staff, to procure critical PPE. We welcome David Clark, our new CEO, who has done an amazing job in the last year as our interim CEO, as he helps to lead ABSMC in the challenging times ahead.

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