It’s difficult to put into words what healthcare professionals have experienced the last few months both professionally and as an integrated health ministry. Ascension Saint Agnes’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 hospitals 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 excellence 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 treatment 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 our nearly 3,000 associates and physicians, Ascension Saint Agnes 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 the greater Baltimore community, we have been working hard to support them and care for their physical, emotional, spiritual and financial needs during this pandemic. That’s why we’ve rolled out 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 Ascension Ascension Saint Agnes 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.
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.
Christopher A. Chekouras is President & CEO of Ascension Saint Agnes.
Christopher A. Chekouras is chief operating officer, Saint Agnes Healthcare in Baltimore.