South Florida Hospital News
Saturday November 28, 2020
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June 2020 - Volume 16 - Issue 12
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As the coronavirus pandemic slowly spread throughout South Florida this spring, the Health Care District of Palm Beach County was ready for it in several ways. First, the organization quickly mobilized into a remote working environment for its corporate staff. Within four days, the IT team succeeded in supporting all 200+ corporate staff with the capability of working off-site.

In the chaos surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in Florida with medical issues decided that it would be better to stay at home than go to the hospital. In fact, recent reports from Broward Health and Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue showed an alarming trend of patients choosing self-care at home rather than dialing 911—with often tragic results.

Think how health care partnerships unfolded in pre-pandemic times. Sometimes there was stop and go progress; sometimes partners found themselves at cross purposes; sometimes competition got in the way of forward momentum; sometimes health disciplines worked in silos unaware of impact on others … even with the best intentions.

Over the past few months, Jackson Memorial Hospital's Emergency Department has proved it is more than capable of handling an unexpected pandemic; and now it is already preparing for the next challenge: hurricane season.

I know few of those who know me will believe this … but for once I’m almost speechless. As we enter what feels like Day #3,000,000 of our new normal, I’ve begun to realize in times like these people really do show their true colors.

The experience with COVID-19 has shown that, in many places, quality has become progressively less important while cost-containment has become increasingly more important, frequently with unfortunate results for patients. Even the federal government has defined cost-containment as a quality measure for medical care and tied physician reimbursement to these measures.

When Peter Powers, FACHE, moved from a job at a hospital in Denver, CO to become CEO of Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, he expected his new position to be a challenge. What he didn’t expect was to begin his tenure during the COVID-19 crisis.

 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Healthcare occupations are projected to add about 1.9 million new jobs in the United States, more positions than any other occupational group.

If I look at the average age my grandparents lived, it is safe to say I am approaching the half-way mark. To this point, I avoided the mid-life crisis but that does not remove the reality I am no longer in my 20’s. I recently went to my doctor for an annual checkup. The only unique aspect about this visit is that it was the first time I’d been in a medical setting (as a patient) since the COVID-19 situation started.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of the CARES Act authorized loans to small businesses to pay their employees and some of the businesses overhead expenses during the COVID-19 crisis. The loan amounts can be forgiven under Section 1106 of the Act as long as certain conditions are met, and knowing those conditions at the start of the loan process is crucial.

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