MY TAKE: Good Things Happening Despite Pandemic

by Brian Elisco, CEO at Abrazo Health

The relentless pace of the coronavirus pandemic has challenged hospital and healthcare workers across the Valley and the country. Long days are spent caring for COVID and non-COVID patients. The stress of managing personal lives while balancing family needs and commitments adds yet another layer of challenge to manage.

While we acknowledge the seriousness of the pandemic, I am encouraged by signs that the virus may have plateaued in Arizona, and want to share some of positive things happening across our Abrazo Health network.

One of the most gratifying things I see as I round are examples of employees going the extra mile to support each other.  Our staff – from housekeeping to security to everyone in the clinical professions – have been real heroes, being mindful of the care and safety of patients and each other, balancing compassion with patient care and safety. We are especially appreciative to the many who have picked up extra shifts and worked tirelessly to continue caring for all patients who seek our care.

There are touching stories of staff at patients’ bedsides to offer families solace that their loved ones’ hand was held as they passed. Others have made “self-care” baskets for colleagues caring for COVID patients. And others volunteer to work with COVID patients because they feel that is their calling.

We’ve seen examples of family support and amazing patient recoveries. At Abrazo West Campus, hospital staff went the extra mile to support a family that held vigil outside their father’s ICU room window. Just last week at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital, staff held a standing ovation sendoff for a COVID patient recovering after nearly two months of care. These are just two of many wonderful things happening every day thanks to the dedication of our healthcare workers.

Abrazo launched a new Emergency Medicine Residency Program in June. Based at Abrazo West Campus, the first class of six residents will undergo a rigorous three-year program with rotations in the Abrazo West and Abrazo Arrowhead ERs. They will also work with the cardiology team at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital and with several services at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. We are excited about the continued growth of our Internal Medicine and General Surgery residencies, and the 40-plus year legacy of the Family Medicine Residency at Abrazo Central.

The Transitional Year Residency Program also launched this year at Abrazo West Campus. In this new program, 13 residents complete a one-year internship before transitioning to specialties such as radiology, anesthesia, dermatology or other areas. Rotations include Abrazo West, Abrazo Arrowhead, Arizona Heart Hospital and Abrazo Medical Group. These residency programs help bring new physicians into our community.

Abrazo Scottsdale Campus in early July was the first hospital in the Valley to introduce a new handheld robotics platform, the CORI Surgical System. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jimmy Chow was first to use the robot designed for knee replacement surgery. Abrazo Scottsdale continues to offer innovative surgical technology and procedures for residents of the Valley and beyond.

Four Abrazo hospitals recently were included in the top 10 list of Arizona hospitals in a new national hospital ranking. Abrazo Arrowhead, Abrazo Central, Abrazo Scottsdale and Abrazo West are included in the 2020 Lown Institute Hospitals Index, which assessed nearly 3,300 hospitals on civic leadership, value of care and patient outcomes.

Abrazo Arrowhead Campus was just named a top hospital by US News. Arrowhead earned High Performing rankings for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair, Congestive Heart Failure, Colon Cancer Surgery, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Hip Replacement. Abrazo West Campus also was named a top performer for COPD.

I want to express my thanks to our Abrazo colleagues, and all healthcare professionals, for their tireless efforts on behalf of our patients and communities. Independent recognition validates their dedication and commitment to providing excellent care to all.

Over the past few months, we have all gained a greater appreciation for the vital contributions of front-line healthcare workers.  I am especially proud to be a part of the Abrazo Health network, seeing everyone’s contributions to serve our patients during their time of greatest need. I cannot thank our employees and physicians enough for the remarkable work they’re doing in such a complicated time.

Brian Elisco is Chief Executive Officer at Abrazo Health. Abrazo Health includes Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital, Abrazo Arrowhead Campus, Abrazo Central Campus, Abrazo Mesa Hospital, Abrazo Scottsdale Campus and Abrazo West Campus – along with freestanding emergency centers, urgent care, primary care and specialty physician practices. Abrazo Surprise Hospital and Abrazo Cave Creek Hospital are under construction.

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