Last week’s snow storm wasn’t just the topic of conversation around Clinton. Below is a note sent to Missouri Hospital Association Member Institutions by Herb Kuhn, President and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association. Once you read Herb’s note you’ll see that our “Brother’s in Arms” across the state dealt with the storm much the same way we did at GVMH.
This week’s top story is snow — snow, snow and more snow. So much snow, in fact, that the National Guard was activated to provide assistance to communities throughout the state.
I spent part of the week talking to hospital CEOs about how they were handling the weather-related challenges. It wasn’t hard getting them on the phone. Many of the hospital leaders I spoke to were working and sleeping at the hospital. So were many of their co-workers — in patient care, hospital services and administration. In some hospitals, hundreds of employees were staying over several nights to make sure everything was running smoothly and patients had access to the care they needed. In response, hospitals were using extra beds, cots and unused rooms in sleep centers to house all the employees who kept vigil. At the same time, MHA’s emergency preparedness staff stayed in close touch with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and individual hospitals to ensure they had the resources they needed to provide care to patients and community members.
Health care is often at its best during an emergency. Recently, we’ve been talking about how strong communities need strong hospitals. This week provides additional evidence. Moreover, your response to the storm reminds us that hospitals are more than bricks and mortar — they are collections of compassionate, selfless people who step up to the challenge in times of crisis.
While we continue to dig out, we also must dig in. There are lessons we can learn from this week to make our emergency operations planning and response better. There’s a saying that you should “never miss the opportunity provided by a crisis.” We’re already looking at how and where the systems that are in place worked and where they need to be strengthened. And, this week is another reminder that Mother Nature is one of our biggest threats.
I am humbled to be a member of this community. I am proud, as we all should be, of the work we do. Thank you for your service.
If you have thoughts about this week, share them with me.
Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO