Atrium Health CEO on eliminating testing disparities, hospital capacity and a vaccine

Kelly Gooch –
Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
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Gene Woods, president and CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health, spoke July 26 on CBS “Face the Nation” about health center capacity, attending to variations in communities of color and a vaccine.

The interview happened days after he testified July 21 before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on behalf of Atriums 70,000-member labor force.

3 takeaways from Mr. Woods:.

, we understood we required to have more capability inside the health centers, so we introduced what we call a virtual medical facility. Weve converted peoples homes and bed rooms into hospital spaces. Weve actually cared for about 11,000 COVID patients in their homes, and I think that offers me self-confidence as we continue to fight COVID that well have the beds that we need to serve the community.”.

2. On addressing variations in neighborhoods of color: “COVID has amplified the disparities and the crisis of marginalized neighborhoods. As we consider the tradition of [the late] Congressman John Lewis, he said if you see something thats not right, we have an ethical responsibility to repair it and address it. Whichs why early on, we engaged with neighborhoods of color, these marginalized communities. Firstly, we had developed relationships there, but likewise we had the information. We had the science. We geo-spatially mapped hotspots in our communities down to the ZIP code. And what we saw early on was the disparities in screening. We dealt with the pastors, we worked with the neighborhood leaders, and we filled up mobile vans, medical vans with supplies and workers. And we said to the pastors in the community, Where do you need us? We entered into the parking lots. We went anywhere we were required. And in a matter of about a weeks time, we got rid of the variations of screening in these vulnerable neighborhoods.”.

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On attending to variations in communities of color: “COVID has amplified the variations and the crisis of marginalized communities. And thats why early on, we engaged with communities of color, these marginalized communities. We worked with the pastors, we worked with the community leaders, and we loaded up mobile vans, medical vans with supplies and workers. And in a matter of about a weeks time, we got rid of the variations of screening in these susceptible communities.”.

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Weve in fact cared for about 11,000 COVID clients in their homes, and I believe that provides me self-confidence as we continue to fight COVID that well have the beds that we require to serve the community.”.