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The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is weighing on all of our minds right now, changing everyday life for each of us as it continues to spread across the U.S. and impact our communities. This is a rapidly evolving situation and I want to provide an update on some meaningful actions AdventHealth has taken to serve our community.
The AdventHealth Central Florida Division (which includes Volusia and Flagler counties) has more than 4,400 hospital beds, of which more than 600 are critical care. There is a great benefit in being part of a nationwide health system; should we need additional assistance locally, AdventHealth has a vast and well-experienced support system.
Every day, multiple leaders representing the various disciplines within AdventHealth’s Central Florida operations, as well as the entire national company, gather together to make decisions that have a monumental impact on how COVID-19 impacts our communities.
There’s the veteran physician who cared for Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton, and today serves as our chief quality and safety officer. Leaders who have decades of experience running large, medium and small hospitals, physician practices, urgent care centers and other healthcare-related entities. Nurses and infection prevention physicians with decades of experience in crisis situations.
And then there are the areas you might not think of: the supply chain team that is scouring the globe to ensure we have enough supplies and equipment to treat patients. The human resources leaders who make sure we have provisions in place so we have adequate staffing should we see a surge in patients. The facilities leaders who ensure patient rooms and other spaces meet regulations to safeguard the infected and prevent the spread to other patients.
This response team and their steadfast focus on preparedness is one of your greatest defenses in the fight against COVID-19.
They begin every meeting with a word of prayer. For our patients. For our team of doctors, clinicians and support staff serving on the frontline. For wisdom to make the best decisions. For a hedge of protection around our community.
And then they get to work. Every decision they make is brought through the lens of their expertise, but you are always the focus.
They work closely with colleagues across our organization, and I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished together in just a short time. Our team’s incredibly detailed plan, formed after countless hours of collaboration, focused on a tremendous level of detail, provides guidance on a myriad of actionable decisions to ensure it is the right plan for our staff, patients and community as a whole.
I want to share a few of the ways we’re working to safeguard our communities and keep you informed:
24/7 Information Phone Line
We launched the Coronavirus Information Line to provide Floridians with answers to their questions about COVID-19. The phone line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides callers the opportunity to speak with a nurse or connect with the appropriate next steps, such as AdventHealth Centra Care for urgent care services or the AdventHealth app for convenient telemedicine and video visits with providers.
We hope the Coronavirus Information Line will not only serve as a simple, trusted resource for you, but also help alleviate local health care offices from managing a heavy volume of calls, freeing up clinicians to focus on those who need the most immediate, critical care. We’re fielding more than 800 calls a day and growing. If you have a question, I invite you to call 877-Virus-HQ Call877-847-8747).
Website with Physician-Approved Resources
As a trusted community partner, it’s important that we provide facts and answers to top concerns about COVID-19. What do pregnant women need to know? How does someone know if they should get tested? What do parents of toddlers need to know? With so much misinformation out there, we thought it was important to have physician-approved information at a single site. That’s why we launched www.CoronavirusResourceHub.com. I hope you’ll find the blogs, FAQs and videos a valuable resource.
Resources for Community and Faith Groups
We also know COVID-19 is having a significant impact on social gatherings. Many events have been cancelled and schools, nonprofits, businesses and faith groups are wondering if it’s safe to gather. Part of our online resources include content created specifically for churches and congregations. If you are a member of a faith group, I invite you to use these resources at www.AdventHealth.com/coronavirus-resource-hub/church-resources.
While these efforts are aimed at empowering our communities with education, much of the work the response team is doing is behind the scenes. We have a sobering responsibility to protect our patients, team members and greater community. Some of the ways we are doing this:
We’ve modified our visitor policy, and I thank you for your understanding and patience if you have a loved one in our hospital.
We continue to perform emergent and urgent procedures, but we have asked physicians to postpone elective surgeries if it’s safe for the patient.
We’ve installed tents outside our campuses that will allow us to expand our workspace if needed. We hope we will never need to use the tents, but you can rest assured we are ready should we need to.
We’ve also invested in technology that allows us to directly test those patients who have been admitted to our hospitals and are proud to be the first in Volusia County with these testing capabilities locally. These tests are limited to only patients who meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria and require a physician’s order.
Our team members at all levels – both clinical and non-clinical alike – are working tirelessly to ensure we maintain strict adherence to our protocols, manage our supplies and other resources responsibly, and focus on maintaining the safety of our team members, patients and guests.
While the risk for coronavirus infection in Florida remains low, we hope the community will take comfort in knowing our hospitals and team members stand ready to care for patients during their time of need.
|Guest Author: David Ottati
David Ottati is the President and CEO of the AdventHealth Central Florida Division – North Region, which includes operations in Volusia, Flagler and Lake counties.
This content originally appeared in the Daytona Beach News Journal on March 22, 2020.