Providence Shares Experience with PBS FRONTLINE

Providence Shares Experience with FRONTLINE in Upcoming Coronavirus Pandemic Special Report

Health system’s seven-state response to COVID-19 featured in PBS documentary airing April 21

RENTON, Wash., April 20, 2020Providence, one of the largest health care systems in the nation, shared with PBS FRONTLINE its account as the hospital system that treated the first COVID-19 patient in the United States.

The FRONTLINE Coronavirus Pandemic documentary, airing on PBS Tuesday, April 21, will include the perspectives of health care leaders from across the Providence health system. Amy Compton-Phillips, M.D., chief clinical officer at Providence, and George Diaz, M.D., infectious disease specialist at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, were among the first voices in the nation to speak about COVID-19 and the need to take decisive steps to slow its spread. Ryan Keay, M.D., a doctor serving in the emergency department at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, also shared her experience caring for the influx of patients that arrived shortly after the first one.

“Our hospital system was ground zero of the pandemic when it reached the United States,” said Dr. Compton-Phillips. “We treated Patient One, and we felt the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) ahead of the curve,” she said.

As shortages of PPE grew dire, Providence launched the 100 Million Mask Challenge to ensure health care workers had access to personal protective equipment (PPE). “We forged a collaboration with Kaas Tailored, a local furniture manufacturer that is now producing much needed PPE for our caregivers, along with other new partners, such as Nordstrom, that stepped up to help us keep health care workers safe,” she said. The 100 Million Mask Challenge that will be highlighted in the FRONTLINE documentary is now being scaled across the U.S. by the American Hospital Association, including through direct matches between PPE donors and providers in-need on the newly-launched HealthEquip app.

The FRONTLINE special report will reflect on the critical first few weeks after the virus arrived in the U.S., and the groundwork that had been done ahead of time. Dr. Diaz and his colleagues had a plan in place before receiving the first patient. Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Wash., conducted a comprehensive pandemic training simulation less than three weeks before the first patient arrived at the hospital. Dr. Diaz and the Providence team were closely watching developments in Wuhan, China, and were prepared to act when the virus made its first appearance in the U.S. Their work to respond to the outbreak continues. “We are collaborating across our health system and working with companies to gather data on potential treatments. The pandemic has put our work to innovate new therapies and technologies on the fast track,” Dr. Diaz said.

FRONTLINE Coronavirus Pandemic premieres Tues., April 21 at 9:00 P.M. (EDT) on your local PBS station. Visit FRONTLINE online for more ways to watch or listen, including a podcast.

About Providence
Providence is a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system comprising a diverse family of organizations and driven by a belief that health is a human right. With 51 hospitals, 1,085 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing and many other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ more than 119,000 caregivers serving communities across Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, with system offices in Renton, Wash., and Irvine, Calif. Learn about our vision of health for a better world at Providence.org.

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