There’s a scripture found in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah that has been an inspiration to our organization for over 110 years:
“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you…Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
That prosperity is one of wholeness — body, mind and spirit — for the individual and collective community; it isn’t just financial.
As a faith-based, not-for-profit health care organization, it is our privilege and responsibility to care for everyone in our community.
Over the years, you’ve seen AdventHealth grow and make significant investments in Volusia and Flagler counties. This is our home too, and we’re proud to partner with other organizations, community businesses and our public agencies.
We take our responsibility very seriously, and there is perhaps no greater moment in recent history that this need has been more evident.
In our hospitals and outpatient centers across Central Florida, which includes Volusia and Flagler counties, we have cared for more than 600 people who were diagnosed with COVID-19.
We know the financial impact of a health crisis can be immense. In addition to existing financial and charity programs, we created an additional COVID-19 “financial grace” policy. The policy is simple, and as the title suggests, one of grace:
“Uninsured patients who are treated for COVID-19 related evaluation will receive discounted care. If there is an inability to pay for those treatments, AdventHealth requests the patient’s cooperation to document the necessary financial assistance. Once necessary financial assistance information is documented, the account balance will be forgiven, and financial assistance granted.”
It’s too early to tell how many people will utilize this additional assistance, but we know the economic impact of COVID-19 will be significant in our communities. If there’s any indication of where it is headed, we provided nearly $241 million in community benefit in Volusia and Flagler counties last year. A significant portion of that was providing charity care and services for the underserved.
And there are many other investments we’re making to help protect and care for our neighbors.
AdventHealth has tested over 27,000 Floridians for COVID-19 since early March. We opened our first community drive-up testing site in Central Florida at the Daytona International Speedway just over two weeks ago, and since then, we’ve screened more than 3,000 people at the single location. This is a significant investment in resources, and we are funding all tests for the uninsured.
The site is a great example of the dedication of our team members and redeployment opportunities during the crisis. If you were to meet the AdventHealth team members behind the protective masks at our testing sites, you’d find amazing and talented rehabilitation therapists, imaging technicians and other medical personnel.
We haven’t furloughed or laid-off team members, and instead are providing redeployment opportunities. We believe the safety of teams and their families is so important that we’re paying for hotel rooms for employees who have been exposed to a COVID patient so they don’t have to return home and risk passing the virus to a family member.
Although we are experiencing significant financial impacts as a result of COVID-19, we are sparing no expense when it comes to purchasing masks, protective gear and other supplies — now at a significant markup — so we can protect our physicians and team members, patients and overall community.
When we enacted a no-visitor policy, we purchased nearly 1,000 Google Chromebooks to help our patients across Central Florida stay connected with their families.
These are important steps to keep you and our team members safe. And this commitment to keeping Volusia and Flagler counties healthy will continue in the weeks ahead as we take steps to re-open our services.
But we aren’t the only ones making the investment. You have invested in us.
We have been so moved by the private and public prayers, food donations, inspirational signs and letters, community rallies and other measures our community has taken to show their gratitude.
When we cancelled elective surgeries, moved doctor’s visits to virtual services and closed our hospitals to visitors, you were patient and understanding.
Perhaps most importantly, you’ve answered the call to practice social distancing. You’ve closed your businesses. Moved math lessons from the classroom to the living room. And you’ve even stayed clear of our beautiful beaches.
I’m so grateful for you, our physicians and team members, and importantly all our first responders who are on the frontlines.
Your selfless actions have helped protect us from a surge of COVID-19 in our communities and hospitals.
While we’ve been investing in our community and praying for your peace and prosperity, it is a true blessing to know you have been praying for us.
On behalf of everyone at AdventHealth, thank you.
Written by David Ottati, President and CEO of the AdventHealth Central Florida Division – North Region, which includes operations in Volusia, Flagler and Lake counties.
View David Ottati's other articles and his personal thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic: