Michael Goldberg | Aug 6, 2020
On Monday, State of Reform hosted our “5 Slides: The Health Care System’s Response To COVID in AZ” virtual conversation with Ann-Marie Alameddin: CEO, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, Will Humble, Executive Director, Arizona Public Health Association, Roland Knox, CEO, Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center.
During this convening, the panelists discussed how the Arizona health care system, particularly hospitals, have responded to the pandemic across various fronts.
State of Reform contributed the first slide, which featured data from a Eurosurveillance epidemiological survey of COVID-19 cases in Jerusalem. In Israel, the school year began in May. Jerusalem experienced an early spike in cases before getting the virus under control for a period. But the week of May 17 – 24, the city experienced a significant spike in cases among 10-19 year olds, causing over 125 schools to close. School closures, in turn, resulted in more parents getting sick.
The panelists discussed each of their perspectives on what to consider as students prepare to go back to school, in one capacity or another.
The first panelist slide was offered by Alameddin, who wanted to underscore the work done and sacrifices made by health care workers on the front lines of the crisis.
To highlight the very human element of this – and our clinical staff is not an endless resource – we’re hearing from hospitals this week that a lot of staff are calling in sick, because they actually are sick or they’re just exhausted. They’ve been taking seven shifts in a row. We have a clinical staff shortage, and we need reinforcements. This is a finite resource that we need to make sure we are preserving and protecting…a lot of staffing agencies are in Arizona. I think it’s difficult for hospitals to secure additional staff. We’ve seen prices going up tremendously – four times what they normally are. So some hospitals are unable to afford additional staff because of these price wars.”
The next slide, presented by Knox, was a graphic displaying the Mount Graham Regional Medical Center’s response to the pandemic for Provider Backup Coverage – a focus for the Inpatient Medical Surgical Unit and the ICU Hospitalist Coverage.
This slide reflects the strategy put in place by the medical center to ease the strain on providers.
It became very nerve-racking for all the providers to know, what happens if I get sick or need a few hours of rest? What happens if our census goes up from the normal 40% up to 85%, and I’m just exhausted because the acuity level is higher and we have more people on ventilators. It is their job is to manage all that and they need at least 4-5 good hours of sleep, so how can we help them?” asked Knox.
Knox went on to point out that the pandemic has forced health care systems to translate concepts into action.
Humble’s slide was a graph measuring Re-Opening Excursions. Specifically, the data compared original scenarios from April to current estimates.
This slide emphasizes the importance of public health officials and governors working with their academic partners to inform the really important policy decisions they need to make during events like this. What this slide represents…is predictive modeling to inform the policy decisions at the very top of state government…to show elected official how the various scenarios are likely to play out depending on the decisions they make intervention wise.”
To hear about these slides in depth as well as a few more, a video of the full conversation is available above.