To the health professionals at U.S. ground zero, thank you

Time and time again, the caregivers of Providence St. Joseph Health have risen to the occasion when our patients and communities have needed us most. And our response to COVID-19 is no exception.

I am incredibly grateful for the compassion and excellence that our caregivers have demonstrated over the past several days and weeks. Their instincts to run toward the crisis to serve those in need — instead of away from it — are reminiscent of our founding sisters who began our healing ministry caring for people during cholera and influenza epidemics.

Please know the health and safety of our caregivers and patients are our No. 1 priority. That's why we are monitoring our supply of personal protective equipment day and night and working closely with state and federal authorities to obtain shipments from the National Emergency Stockpile. We are also working side-by-side with our suppliers, who are finding inventory from any and all sources and giving us real-time visibility into products as they become available. In addition, we are safeguarding our current stock to make sure PPE is here for caregivers and patients who need it.

Through technology, we can care for people virtually to limit exposure through in-person visits. Today, we launched a new online “chat bot” to help screen people and triage them to the appropriate resources. This is one way we are addressing the concerns of the “worried well” while making sure those who are most at risk get the care they need. We have also increased the capacity of Express Care Virtual so that patients can visit with providers via online video. And we’re piloting Telehealth Home Monitoring in Western Washington to support patients on home quarantine, which will also reduce in-person visits and limit exposure.

Another important aspect of our response is working closely with state, federal and international health authorities to ensure we are following evidenced-based protocols. In a time when fear is running rampant, it is critical that we rely on facts and science to protect caregivers, patients and the public.

Several of the states we serve are ground zero for coronavirus in the U.S. The world is watching, and I am incredibly proud that people are getting a chance to see our caregivers in action. Thank you to everyone at Providence St. Joseph Health for being a reassuring presence in our communities and for all you do to serve those in need.

In this video, I talk with our Chief Clinical Officer Amy Compton-Phillips about how we're keeping our patients, our caregivers and the community safe during this outbreak.

Rod Hochman, M.D.


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