I am so proud of our Baptist team for the commitment and dedication everyone has demonstrated over the last several weeks. Our communities appreciate it too. I have seen many Facebook messages showing volunteers bringing food to hard working Baptist team members. I’ve seen some posts that show churches praying for you and singing in our parking lots, and I have received countless emails from grateful patients who wanted me to know how well they were cared for in our facilities despite the urgency of your work. These have been moments of joy for me amidst the otherwise demanding needs of this crisis.
I am grateful that our communities recognize your heroism and your sacrifice. In my last video, I talked about the church axillary who were sewing elastic, but I have also received several other offers of help by those in our community who want to stand up and be counted in this crisis as well. You may have received similar offers of help from your friends. Perhaps they want to donate PPE or other supplies, make donations, or volunteer in other ways. Where do you direct those folks to best help our team? Please refer any of those offers to the special resource that we have set up at the Baptist Foundation. Interested parties can send an email to supportBaptist@bmhcc.org or they can call (901) 227-7123. I appreciate all in our community who are rallying to support us during this time, and our Foundation will ensure that assistance is vetted and put to best use.
Now let me address one more important topic today.
As you know, we have instituted a number of measures to ensure the safety of our team members. I told you last time about our infrastructure adjustments to allow for increased numbers of telehealth visits. We have also been working to prepare our infrastructure to allow for more people to work from home. The more we learn about the virus, the more we must become increasingly focused on ways to minimize the spread of the disease throughout our communities and within our own system.
With the data indicating that the virus surge will likely occur in mid-April, we began implementing a COVID 19 BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN –VIRTUAL WORKFORCE PROGRAM to team members in specified positions who meet the Program Guidelines.
This effort will assist us in preserving resources and supplies such as PPE, as well as, decrease the likelihood of spreading the illness in the work environment.
Because each member of our health care team is considered essential, we must be extremely strategic as we identify individuals and/or groups of individuals who will have the option to work from home on a time-limited basis.
We are working to develop rotating teams who alternate between office and home and are also working to schedule work from home shifts where applicable.
The Guidelines set forth in this Program are very specific and apply to eligible team members approved to voluntarily work from home on a limited basis. We will be rolling this out in phases over the next two weeks. We must ensure that our network and our team can operate successfully. You may be aware that schools and other businesses are having a significant increase in video meetings during the work day. This creates bottlenecks in typically available internet access inside people’s homes. So we will be testing each phase as we progress to ensure that our essential work continues and that we have no disruption to patient care.
Additional information will be forthcoming as we begin to deploy this program and notify those who have been identified to work from home.
Again, this will happen in phases over the next 2 weeks. We will also evaluate the program every 2 weeks to ensure it is meeting our objectives.
I would like to stress that not every team member will have the ability to work from home due to the roles they perform. There are many considerations in such a plan – the most important of which is how we best support those on the front line and protect the needs of the organization. This means pulling staff members away from the frontline so that critical care givers have less chance of catching it from others. But it also means protecting critical business functions like payroll so that everyone can still get a check to pay their bills. This is not being done based on some system-wide fairness standard, but the decisions will be made by balancing the maximum amount of support for business continuity with protection for our patients and our clinical caregivers.
I look forward to receiving your support as we continue to work together as a team to succeed through this crisis.