The upcoming holiday brings a host of impressions as this incredible year rolls on. This year has certainly been one of the most challenging for our hospitals, but there are plenty of bright spots I can point to. Two promising vaccines have been a recent source of optimism and the immense collaboration that has united us as we combat this virus has brought me hope in the midst of a resurgence. For these things I’m thankful.
None of this is to gloss over the surge that continues to hit our country, state and region. And while preliminary results of the vaccines signal a light at the end of the tunnel, challenges exist regarding distribution, prioritization and delivering millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses in a matter of months. As of Tuesday, 94 percent of Southern California counties are listed in the purple caution tier — the state’s strictest.
Last week Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Secretary of Health and Human Services, asked Californians not to travel this Thanksgiving week as the state issued a travel advisory. That’s a strong dose of medicine for the busiest travel week on the calendar – but officials hint at even stricter rules if Californians don’t step up by staying home.
I am very proud of the work we’re doing to promote flu clinics in a groundbreaking collaborative project with hospital and public health partners. The work we are now doing will provide a template as we move towards the critical step of bringing COVID-19 immunization clinics to the public.
I’m also relieved that the Affordable Care Act seems to be weathering its most recent challenge — ensuring that health coverage will continue for millions of Americans. On the election front, I send a shout to former state senator Holly Mitchell, elected to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors this month. In addition to being an advocate for constituents, Mitchell is a passionate booster for Black moms and babies in our underserved communities. In July, she shared her vision for equitable care at a well-attended HASC and Communities Lifting Communities event.
In other election news, Lynwood voters rejected Measure LH, which would have placed a 3 percent tax on gross receipts of for-profit hospitals. This is not only good news for St. Francis Medical Center, but is a positive precedent for all members.
Finally, I’m excited as we prepare for HASC’s 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting in April. Our big annual event is the most important single happening on HASC’s calendar, and we missed it greatly this year. The fact that it’s now coming into focus again is another reason for optimism.
So there are plenty of things to be thankful for — even as we endure this season of sacrifice. We at HASC are dedicated to working on your behalf and supporting your operations. As always, I invite you to reach out to me with any questions, comments, concerns or observations as we move forward together.
Best Thanksgiving wishes to you and your teams, friends, partners and families. Stay safe and healthy.