Chair File: Sharing Stories that Lift Hospitals during COVID-19

Every day, hospitals and health systems demonstrate bravery, ingenuity, innovation and grit in their response to COVID-19. Confronting the pandemic has brought out the best in health care professionals at every level — from the bedside to the boardroom. And these doers and thinkers are eager to share their lessons learned for the benefit of all.  

One way they’re doing that is with Leadership Rounds, a new AHA resource launched in July that I am honored to moderate. The Rounds are a series of brief, cut-to-the-chase conversations on a range of key issues with some of the most distinguished hospital and health system leaders at work today.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard from:

  • Marc Boom, M.D., President and CEO of Houston Methodist, a thousand-bed academic medical center that was coping with a big surge of COVID-19 patients in early July. Houston Methodist was the first U.S. hospital to use convalescent plasma. It also adopted virtual ICUs and iPads as a chief platform of communication between care providers. Dr. Boom said the intensity of the pandemic has helped his clinicians master the “art” aspect of patient care.
  • David Perlstein, M.D., President and CEO of SBH Health System, a teaching hospital, ambulatory care center, and a behavioral health center in New York City. Dr. Perlstein, a past chair of AHA’s Committee for Clinical Leadership, said SBH focused on supporting its frontline caregivers by covering their costs for food and transportation. Organization leaders also blogged frequently, boosting morale by calling out examples of great work.
  • And last Thursday, I was joined by Harsh K. Trivedi, M.D., President and CEO of Sheppard Pratt, the largest non-profit provider of mental health, substance use, special education, developmental disability, and social services in the country. A member of AHA’s Board of Trustees who also serves on the AHA COVID-19 Pathways to Recovery Task Force, Dr. Trivedi flagged a notable increase in the demand for mental health services and said that Sheppard Health has responded by creating a Virtual Crisis Clinic, something like urgent care delivered via telehealth.

Members can catch the 15-minute Leadership Rounds by dialing in live or by accessing the conversations as a podcast. I invite you to join me for our next session on Thursday, August 27. My guest will be Rachelle Schultz, president and CEO of Winona Health in Winona, Minnesota.

The ability to listen and learn from others is an essential strategy in our battle against COVID-19. Let’s continue to face it together…united by shared knowledge, proven tactics and protocols, and by our determination to prevail in our mission to help everyone achieve their highest level of health.