OAHHS Hospital Voice Fall/Winter 2021-22

11 Fall/Winter 2021-22 “Our level of preparedness for infectious disease has reached a level we were not at before. This has made us a better organization.” Leslie Ogden, CEO, Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital & Pacific Communities Hospital OHSU. 15 members of the Oregon National Guard provided additional support, and many Adventist employees took on extra shifts. The hospital offered financial incentives to staff and made sure employees took their scheduled time off so they could rest and rejuvenate. “I am constantly in awe of their dedication to the patients,” Erdman said of staff, who have cared for 965 COVID patients in the hospital alone since the start of the pandemic. “It is amazing what they’ve been able to do.” Ogden said her hospitals have continued to work with other public health entities in the region, in part to vaccinate as many people as possible so that another surge doesn’t materialize. When vaccines first became available, the goal was to get 80% of eligible residents vaccinated. Partnering with Lincoln County Public Health, local fire departments and EMS teams, schools, and others—they hit that goal. Responding to the pandemic and the surge, which tapered off some later in October and November, has had lasting positive impacts for hospitals. Erdman said Adventist has held a number of town halls and forums to get input from the employees who are working on the front lines to help better design the health system’s approach to the pandemic. Lessons from this go-round will help inform the response if there is another surge—say, for example, from the new Omicron variant. Ogden said up until COVID-19, she and other public health leaders on the coast had been focused on what the response to the Cascadia earthquake—not an infectious disease pandemic— would look like. Rallying to beat back COVID and the summer surge have better prepared them for the future. “Our level of preparedness for infectious disease has reached a level we were not at before,” she said. “This has made us a better organization, and as far as partnerships and forging tighter bonds with our public health colleagues and just being forced to communicate more and become a tighter group of health care entities, that’s never a bad thing. It makes us better organizations to know each other so we can work together better in the future.”