By Jonathan Nalli, CEO of Ascension St. Vincent – Indiana
It’s difficult to put into words what health care professionals have experienced the last few months, both professionally and as an integrated health ministry. Ascension St. Vincent’s Mission of commitment to those who are poor and vulnerable has never been more alive and apparent, and through sharing our stories, we can help recognize the enormity of what we’ve done and what hospital systems are challenged to continue doing.
National hospital week 2020 highlights the vital role of every hospital, health system and site of care and the countless individuals and teams that work to keep our communities safe and healthy. This important week allows us to reflect on the important work of associates across Ascension who are leading innovation that empowers our team to deliver care to support population health.
Certainly there is grief and anxiety when we consider all this virus has taken and the unknown of what more it will take before it’s all over. But, despite all that we’ve gone through, we have persevered, with remarkable strength and selflessness, drawing on a personal calling and one another as we continue to give to those who need our help. From applying clinical expertise as we developed guidance on testing and treating for COVID-19, to our COVID-19 Command Center approach since the beginning of our response, the spirit of our providers and individuals that support our health systems has been on full display.
With input and guidance from cross-functional teams, and a sense of deep gratitude for our165,000 associates, Ascension St. Vincent rolled out several programs specifically designed to ease the burden on associates in the midst of COVID-19. We want to recognize that while our caregivers have been focused on caring for individuals across Indiana communities, we have been working hard to support them and care for their physical, emotional, spiritual and financial needs during this pandemic, with practices and benefits like pay protection for all associates throughout the crisis, extended dependent care, paying for necessary hotel stays and assistance funds to help pay for essentials, such as rent and groceries for those facing particular hardship.
While continuing to care for people with COVID-19, we have begun to plan for how AscensionSt. Vincent and our sites of care will look and operate as we come out of this crisis and enter a changed world. We need to adopt a new approach to delivering care because we know society will not go back to the “way things used to be.” There will be a “new normal” in healthcare, new expectations from our consumers and a new outlook in all aspects of society. It is an opportunity for us to serve better – together.
As we begin to transition into recovery and work our way back to “normalcy,” it’s important we take careful and measured steps to ensure a safe and gradual return to providing full access to health care services while also continuing to serve and support individuals and communities impacted by COVID-19.
Going forward, our patients can expect expanded access to healthcare services with enhanced safeguards to ensure our sites of care continue to serve as healing environments – where quality care is delivered with the highest levels of safety and compassion.
Together, we’re coming through this stronger, more courageous, more resolute in faithfulness to our calling, more capable and more unified than ever before. We hope you will use this week to thank care providers in our communities and nationwide.