I am overwhelmed by the unquestionable strength and character of our community. Like many organizations on the front-lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraged by the outpouring of support we have received. The messages of gratitude, acts of generosity and words of encouragement are powerful affirmations for our team of dedicated physicians, nurses, clinical and support staff, and volunteers. For us, this positive energy has a direct correlation to excellence in patient care. The John Muir Health team, every team, needs this as we continue to battle COVID-19 in what we know will be a long-term fight. Thank you.
So much has changed in a short period of time – the world around us, our neighborhoods, gathering spaces, the places we work and call home. Life in the midst of COVID-19 has sparked fear, frustration and anxiety all around. It is easy for distractions, criticism and stress to creep in. There will be an appropriate time to debrief, to look carefully at all aspects of this pandemic, to learn and rethink our approaches. But now, more than ever, we must focus all of our energy on defeating this pandemic and the challenges associated with it. Nothing is more important than ensuring the health and safety of our patients, the community and our workforce.
During this unprecedented time, many people are looking to health care organizations, including John Muir Health, to provide the same exceptional and compassionate care that they expected from us prior to COVID-19. In everything we do and with every decision we make, this is our absolute goal.
Please know that we have every resource, every team member and every leader in our medical centers, urgent care locations, medical offices and throughout our organization focused on responding to this pandemic, while continuing to care for all of our patients. Throughout the Bay Area, nationally and globally, a broad group of health care providers, and public and private organizations are coming together to solve this challenge. We are relying on the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local county public health departments and the expertise of our clinicians who are working tirelessly during this pandemic. We are actively sharing information and learning from other health care organizations. Through collaboration and ingenuity, we are well positioned to confront COVID-19.
I have full confidence that the recent stay-at-home orders will “flatten the curve,” or slow down transmission of the infection. This will decrease the probability of the health care ecosystem being overstrained at any one time. We recognize staying at home is disruptive, but necessary, and are grateful for the many members of our community who have taken this order to heart. Everyone, at every age, plays an important role in stopping the spread of this infection.
As an organization, we are hopeful that sometime during the coming weeks and months, we will look at this difficult time in the “rearview mirror.” When we do, it will be with immense pride in how we individually and collectively, responded.
In the interim, please continue to stay-at-home and observe physical distancing. Contribute extra medical supplies if you have them. Defer or delay routine care so we can focus on the most urgent needs of the community. Support community organizations like our local food banks, who are still in vital need of resources. And, encourage the families of nurses, physicians and clinical and support staff who are working around the clock as we battle this pandemic.
Thank you for your continued support. It means so much to all of us in health care. Together, we will get through this.
Jane Willemsen is Executive Vice President and President, Hospital Operations for John Muir Health, a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health care organization east of San Francisco serving patients in Contra Costa, eastern Alameda and southern Solano Counties.
By Jane Willemsen
Executive Vice President and President, Hospital Operations