Two weeks ago, we hosted our first in-person Annual Meeting in three years, and it was wonderful to see so many of our valued leaders face to face again. Our theme was The Path Forward, and the gathering further validated why we’ve been so successful – and how we’re going to continue to accomplish our collective goals as a region. Our speakers elaborated on the value of resilience, grit, compassion and empathy – all of the characteristics our teams exude in their daily actions. The event was a chance to reenergize and sharpen our focus on some of these priorities, but most importantly, it was an opportunity to reconnect, exchange ideas and move forward with purpose. Thank you to all of you who attended and made it a special meeting.
As we turn the page on May, it’s important to acknowledge National Mental Health Awareness month. Mental health issues affect everyone, whether directly or indirectly through family, friends or colleagues. The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, and our caregivers in particular have experienced unprecedented levels of burnout, anxiety and other challenges. They are especially close to the issue, as they also see the demand for behavioral health needs increase with limited care options available.
HASC is committed to the well-being of its member hospitals and recognizes that healthy employees are vital to fulfilling your mission. With our health care workforce experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiety, and grief, we developed the Care for the Caregiver webpage to provide information to help hospitals and their employees stay safe and healthy, and feel connected. This page serves as a central location for useful resources on emotional wellness, fitness, meditation, helplines and many other related areas. Additionally, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides a host of support and education resources.
Throughout the HASC region, we’ve seen a significant week-over-week increase in COVID-19 cases. Regionally, COVID-19 hospitalizations have ticked up 44% in the last two weeks. With a steady rise, it’s important for us to remain vigilant and refer to the many lessons we’ve learned over the last two-plus years.
I’m pleased to share that our Pandemic Response and Emergency Planning (PREP) Report – a comprehensive document outlining lessons learned, best practices and areas for improvement – has been approved by the HASC Board. In the coming months, we’ll be convening work groups in each HASC count to share our findings and prepare for broader rollout to our members. With continual waves of COVID-19 cases, this report will help guide us toward proven mitigation strategies and prepare us for future emergencies.
In conjunction with the PREP report rollout, HASC will also embark on a campaign to educate local decision makers and the public about the role of hospitals, post-pandemic recovery and the importance of providing communities uninterrupted health care services despite myriad obstacles. Titled My SoCal Hospitals, the campaign will aim to provide a greater understanding of why our hospitals are vital to our communities and why they need our ongoing support. The campaign will include a dedicated website, video testimonials, digital and social media advertising and advertorial/op-ed placements in local media outlets.
Please know that, as always, HASC is here for you and your organization. If you ever have questions or needs that we can help with, don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.
Take care and stay safe.
George W. Greene, Esq.