As the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous states, including Arizona, Florida and Texas, are experiencing record numbers of COVID-19 cases. And on a day when the state of Florida shattered its previous record, reporting more than 15,000 new COVID-19 cases, AdventHealth CEO Terry Shaw was a guest on CBS’ Face the Nation, one of the longest-running news programs on air, to talk about the organization’s response to the pandemic.
During the six-minute interview, which aired live on CBS, Shaw fielded questions from host Margaret Brennan on a number of topics including the recent surge in cases in Florida, where AdventHealth is headquartered, hospital capacity, personal protective equipment (PPE) and staffing shortages.
“I'm thankful that we've had several months to learn how to treat the disease. We're much better prepared in July than we were in March. We have adequate personal protective equipment. We have a stockpile of ventilators, and we have an amazing clinical team that have taken best practices from around the globe and put them into our treatment protocols,” Shaw said.
Since the beginning, the availability of personal protective equipment and hospital beds across the country have been critical elements to mitigating the pandemic. With the recent spikes in infections, Shaw reiterated that AdventHealth was adequately prepared to withstand an influx of patients if necessary.
“In March and April, we spent an enormous amount of money on PPE and we continue to have stockpiled PPE that we so desperately need right now,” Shaw said. “Our ICU capacities are running at about 85 to 90 percent, but we have the ability to turn some of our progressive care units into ICU units if we need to do so.”
Along with hospital capacity and PPE, the availability of medical personnel to treat patients continues to be a point of emphasis as the pandemic carries on. Shaw laid out how AdventHealth, which has hospitals in nine states, is able to strategically leverage its national footprint as a multistate system to bring additional clinicians to Florida to provide support if needed. He also talked about AdventHealth’s innovative team member redeployment program, which serves as a catalyst to help the organization ensure that facilities are staffed to care for patients.
“One of the things that we did back in March was develop a program, a staff redeployment program, that allowed us to move critical resources around our organization, both within the state of Florida and then move people outside of the state of Florida or vice versa, based upon where spikes were coming and where people would be needed the most.”
Throughout the pandemic, AdventHealth has not only cared for its communities. The health system has also supported other organizations in the development and implementation of best practices and safety protocols. This includes serving as a health care partner to companies like NASCAR and Disney, which began reopening its Orlando theme park to visitors this past weekend.
“As a health care provider, my job is to help people do things safely. Whether it's NASCAR or Disney, we have strategic alliances with those organizations. We work very closely with them to help them determine a way to reopen and do that safely,” Shaw added.
On an episode that primarily focused on the COVID-19 impact and response around the country, Shaw was part of a guest lineup that included U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
See Terry Shaw’s full interview here.