For the past several months, coronavirus – specifically COVID-19 – has dominated both the headlines and the thoughts and actions of many people in our community, our state, our country, and around the world. As our hospital services have reopened and we have integrated protective behaviors into our daily lives, there are three messages I would like to share with you:
The first message is a simple, but heartfelt one: THANK YOU. Community support for Covenant Health, our member organizations, and most importantly, our employees and physicians has been overwhelming, and we all appreciate and are humbled by your kindness. From deliveries of more than 10,000 hand-sewn masks to parking lot prayer gatherings and community parades, handmade signs and chalk messages, and gifts of food for our staff, we have been richly blessed by your kindness and your donations. Knowing that you were rooting for us and standing by us as we faced the new medical challenges presented by COVID-19 gave us a “boost” when we needed it the most.
We have created a special thank-you page on our Covenant Health website to recognize your generosity through photos and a listing of donor names. I encourage you to visit CovenantHealth.com/gratitude to see this video tribute.
The second message is a very important one for our communities: It is SAFE for you to receive care at our hospitals, to visit your physician’s office, or to have medical screenings or procedures at our clinics and outpatient service locations. In fact, one of the best ways to assure good health is to stay on schedule with routine screenings like mammograms for women and prostate screenings for men.
We are taking specific steps to keep our patients, staff and visitors safe, including enhanced cleaning measures, asking screening questions and taking temperatures of all who enter our facilities, limiting visitors and asking all employees, patients and visitors to wear masks or face coverings. You can learn more about the ways we are assuring safe care by visiting CovenantHealth.com.
It is especially important to seek immediate emergency care if you have a serious injury or symptoms of a life-threatening condition such as a heart attack or stroke. The faster your receive care in a medical emergency, the more likely you are to have a better outcome. The emergency departments at all nine of Covenant Health’s acute care hospitals are open and ready to take care of you – so please, don’t delay medical treatment. Just as you have stood by us in our time of need, we want to remind you that we are here for you, too. We want you to take good care of yourself and we want to continue to be your partner as you follow up with your personal healthcare needs.
Finally, at Covenant Health, we are using our learnings from COVID-19 to continually improve the ways we deliver care to our patients. I have challenged all employees in our health system to be innovative and creative, using our resources wisely as we live out our pledge of “excellence in everything we do.” One innovation that has become an integral part of our health system and of medical care around the country is telehealth, which is the ability to deliver and receive care remotely through electronic devices such as computers and smartphones. Telehealth has made medical care more convenient for patients and providers, and more accessible to people who live long distances from medical facilities. You can learn more about our telehealth services at covenantmedicalgroup.org/telehealth.
I anticipate that many other healthcare innovations implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic will become “the new normal” for medical services in the future. While I look forward to the development of a successful vaccine and treatments for COVID-19, I also pledge that our health system will use the knowledge we have learned in recent months to better serve you. I am honored to work alongside the thousands of dedicated employees and physicians of Covenant Health, and I am grateful to our communities for your support and trust.