Yesterday, at Gov. Ron DeSantis' invitation, FHA Interim President Crystal Stickle participated in his roundtable on coronavirus with media in Tallahassee.
Stickle represented the state's hospitals, articulating hospitals' ongoing response to the pandemic and challenges going forward, particularly in the area of staffing. Staffing shortages that existed prior to COVID-19 are exacerbated as the highly trained physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other professionals on the frontlines themselves deal with contracting the illness from community spread and experience severe fatigue and burnout from several months of growing caseloads. While expressing the deepest compassion and appreciation for the physicians, nurses and other health care professionals who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic since March and hospitals' continued support, Stickle praised hospitals' management of the crisis and application of lessons learned not only from previous crises, including hurricanes, but also from caring for patients with COVID-19 for nearly five months.
On behalf of the state's hospitals, Stickle reiterated the industry's appreciation for the full and concerted effort and support of local, state and federal partners to provide essential resources, including additional allotments of remdesevir and staff. A public health crisis of this magnitude requires a proportional response, and hospitals will continue to depend on our state and federal partners, lawmakers and other health care industry allies for support, resources and collaboration.
While COVID-19 likely represents the new normal at least until a vaccine or cure is available, Stickle explained that hospitals are committed to delivering care for all patients, no matter their condition or need, in keeping with their missions to care and heal.
Stickle also expressed appreciation to state regulators for relieving hospitals from managed care and insurer red tape in the form of waivers for certain prior authorization requirements that add burdensome time and operational steps to the care process.
Other roundtable participants included: Mary Mayhew, Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, Dr. David Moorhead, executive vice president and chief clinical officer, AdventHealth, Dr. Scott Brady, president of AdventHealth Centra Care, and Lindy Kennedy, president and COO, Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida. A recording of the roundtable is available here.