Commentary: COVID-19: Beebe Healthcare ready in this time of need

EDITOR’S NOTE: The COVID-19 information is changing frequently, please visit coronavirus.delaware.gov and beebehealthcare.org for the latest information.

By Dr. David Tam

During this time of healthcare crisis globally and nationally, Beebe Healthcare is working tirelessly to support our community. We would like to thank the Division of Public Health (DPH), the Delaware Healthcare Association, and other healthcare organizations in Delaware for the response and teamwork regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

I also want to thank the tremendous efforts from Beebe team members who are working tirelessly to prepare to take care of the community during these critical times. As the new CEO, I am proud of our truly dedicated Beebe team.

As the coronavirus disease continues to impact the nation, the focus of our community should be on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and the Division of Public Health (DPH) guidelines that are being constantly updated to protect our families, friends and neighbors.

Dr. David Tam

Beebe is a resource the community can lean on for great care, and also for reassurance and guidance on how to protect your families and friends. Beebe has deployed clinician teams specially trained in the management of COVID-19 to work one-on-one with employees within units of the Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus as well as our outpatient locations. This enhanced preparation ensures that employees are trained and ready to care for patients in the community.

HED Creating outpatient solutions

We are creating solutions to care for patients on an outpatient basis, one example being March 14’s mobile screening event. Beebe is in the process of working up additional outpatient plans that should result in fewer patients presenting to the Lewes Campus unless they require emergency care. We are sharing our innovative ideas with the State of Delaware and other healthcare providers to enable expanded access to manage patients with non-emergent symptoms of COVID-19.

Our public health information page shares key updates and links to current guidance from the CDC and DPH. Please visit that page on our website at www.beebehealthcare.org/patients-visitors/public-health-information. Those resources will also be shared on our social media pages and e-newsletters. We hope that information sourced from experts provides a sense of reassurance along with easy steps for protecting yourself.

One of the timeliest topics is social distancing, which means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance from others. The White House and CDC recently recommended avoiding social gatherings of 10 or more people until April.

Health organizations have also urged communities to practice good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette, to use drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for restaurants, and to work from home when possible.

HED Precautionary steps

Beebe is taking precautionary steps at all our campuses following the recommendations from CDC, WHO, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

We implemented patient and visitor screening and restrictions, and there are updated guidelines that include limiting patients to one essential visitor and restricting visitation times from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., to keep the health and safety of patients and visitors, team members, and medical staff at the forefront. The guidelines can be found on our website.

Patients have already begun to hear from surgeons and providers that all elective procedures are postponed and will be rescheduled. We will continue to evaluate of our processes to ensure community safety. Thank you to everyone already adhering to these important guidelines.

At Beebe Healthcare, we are committed to delivering the highest quality of care using up-to-date scientific information and resources to care for the medical, psychological, and social needs of our community. The people of Sussex County are our families, friends, and neighbors, and your well-being is of the highest importance to us.

Thank you for the privilege of being your partner in keeping our community safe and healthy during this crisis.

David A. Tam, MD, MBA, FACHE, assumed the role of Beebe Healthcare President & CEO on March 17, several weeks early due to the coronavirus crisis.