Critical Panel Discussion to be Featured at Health Connect South: Atlanta Hospital CEOs Collaboration to Combat COVID-19
Monday, September 21st, 2020
The agenda for the 2020 Health Connect South (HCS) annual gathering on September 24th will feature a compelling panel discussion with three Atlanta area hospital CEO’s who will share how they spearheaded unprecedented, collaborative efforts to combat the Novel Coronavirus pandemic.
This past March, as Covid-19 overwhelmed Atlanta’s medical capabilities and capacities, chief medical officers joined forces to cooperate and compare therepeutics, research, clinical systems and results.
Their actions have since set the stage for the respective CEO’s of Grady Health System, Northeast Georgia Health System, Wellstar and others to hold regularly-scheduled meetings. The purpose of these collaborations has been to discuss, and, subsequently, take pro-active steps with regard to tactical issues, such as availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), availability of lab testing and to compare best practices.
As John Haupert, CEO of Grady, explains, “We were able to make a lot of things happen in just a short period of time just by having those meetings.” For example, PPE inventory traditionally had been a just-in-time system. Haupert, adds, “What we identified in the first couple of weeks, is we were all running off on our own in different directions to sustain levels of PPE. Therefore, we began to talk with local companies who were willing to switch their productions.” Similarly, a local chemical company offered to make hand sanitizer, which naturally was in high demand.
Haupert credits the Governor as another impetus as Kemp followed up with the CEO meetings in order to gain his own clinical and situational awareness, to understand critical bed capacity—leading him to request weekly meetings with them. Since the different hospitals have varying patient populations they were able to share the particular dynamics revolving around work issues and effects of congregated living. While the number of ICU beds basically evaporated over time, the sharing of information, clinical advancements and therapeudics has made the hospitals better prepared on how to share and allocate the resources needed to collar the current wave of COVID-19 cases.
“We created something called the Georgia Coordinating Center, which is run by Department of Public Health, that serves as a broker, so to speak, for hospitals across the state who are experiencing capacity issues to find other hospitals that they can send patients to,” notes Haupert. None of that type of cooperation has happened before. It has since become a state-wide entity that has secured state funding in the Georgia budget.
While the coming together of the hospitals is critical to combating the pandemic, it is not formalized, as each corporation remains independent. Not only are additional Atlanta health systems preparing to join the others, but hospitals in other parts of Georgia are following the same model to help out each other, according to Haupert.
The details, plans and results to date will be covered on Thursday, September 24th at Health Connect South during the open dialog, 45-minute panel session entitled, “United: Health Systems Collaborating in Response to a Pandemic.”
Registration is now open to be part of Health Connect South 2020 at www.healthconnectsouth.com.