COVID-19 changed almost everything about our lives, but through it all, one thing stayed the same – the dedication of frontline health workers. They courageously cared for hundreds of thousands of patients at Federation of American Hospitals facilities from coast to coast.
Our organization represents more than 1,000 facilities in 46 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This equates to nearly 20 percent of all US hospitals – each one of them challenged in unique ways by COVID-19.
This Hospital Week (May 9th thru 15th), we want to focus on the impact hospitals and their employees have on the communities they serve – both the pandemic and beyond.
FAH member facilities employ more than 530,000 people. They all have a story to tell, but from fighting COVID-19 to battling historic storms, a few really stand out.
Allison Frederick did not hesitate to volunteer to care for COVID-19 patients at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Vineland in New Jersey. In December, she shared her story of feeling anxious, isolated, and alone and spoke about finally reaching out for help. Allison wanted other frontline health care workers to understand their mental health is as important as their physical well-being.
Fred Waters does his best to boost the spirits of his patients at Kindred Hospital St. Louis using his passion for painting. For years, Fred, a Radiology Tech, has presented patients with art for their hospital rooms.
“If a patient is lying in the bed, all they can do is see the same wall, looking at the clock and the television,” explained Fred. “So, what I do is go in and talk to them, get to know them, ask them what they like or dislike – a lot of them miss home, and I ask them about it. So, I paint them a painting, and sometimes more than one.”
In California, Julie Green, a Patient Relationship Manager (PRM), at Modesto Radiology Imaging stepped up to support her team during the COVID-19 crisis. While Julie’s workload halted significantly because of the pandemic, other critical needs at the facility emerged. Seeing this, she volunteered to take on additional tasks volunteering as a technical assistant, helping with preparation, dressing, and oversight during patient screenings. Her support was a big help for co-workers and patients.
When a historic winter storm crippled almost the entire state of Texas, Jee Sung “Winnie” Kim stepped up to make sure patients received the care they needed. Like millions of others, Winnie – a clinical supervisor for Medical City Healthcare’s Transfer Center – was stuck at home with no power, but she still found a way to get her job done. She and her husband connected to the battery of their running truck to power her laptop and three computer monitors. That allowed Winnie to continue coordinating the movement of high acuity patients to the proper care setting.
Karl Ngoye’s story proves that the reach of a hospital hero extends outside the actual building. He serves as a registered nurse in the ICU at Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Every day, often after a 12-hour shift, Karl mentors local at-risk kids and educates them on the importance of making healthy life choices. He has also spent the last eight years supporting and volunteering at Rancho Los Amigos, a home for abandoned, neglected, and abused children in Juarez, Mexico.
These individuals stand out, but their stories aren’t unique. From their service at acute care and teaching hospitals to inpatient rehabilitation facilities ambulatory surgery centers, FAH members serve patients and communities in a variety of ways.
Our companies are hospital systems that offer diverse sites of care and increased patient choice. Their systemization allows them to invest in cutting-edge technology, like telehealth, so they can better provide patients with coordinated, high-quality care and the benefits of large-scale clinical innovations across the care continuum.
FAH members also use the size and scale of their systems to prepare for and contend with emergencies – natural and man-made. They invest in the next generation of care-givers through medical teaching and nursing programs, as well partner with research organizations pioneering ways to use advanced data analytics and practices to benefit patients.
Additionally, FAH-affiliated hospitals provide a direct benefit to the communities we serve.
A recent Health Affairs study found that we are leaders in charity care, noting that tax-paying hospitals had the highest charity care-to expense ratio in 46 percent of hospitals service areas across the US containing all 3 types of ownership.
Our members pay state and local taxes that contribute directly to a wide range of community needs – from police and fire departments to infrastructure projects. Plus, our hospitals are major employers that offer diverse employment opportunities.
So this Hospital Week we salute those who have valiantly cared for their communities during this difficult time and will continue to serve into the future!