Providence Mission Hospital physician James Keany, MD has been awarded the COVID-19 Pandemic Civilian Service Medal for exemplary service to the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic from the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS). Dr. Keany, a Providence Mission Hospital board-certified emergency medicine specialist with over 25 years of experience, has served as a member of NDMS Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT CA1) for 11 years.
NDMS, a program within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), provides federally funded medical and veterinary care, as well as mortuary assistance, during public health emergencies and disasters at the request of the states.
“We are extremely proud of Dr. Keany and the important role that he played in providing lifesaving COVID-19 medical care to South Orange County residents and for his service as a deployed member of NDMS,” said Seth Teigen, chief executive of Providence Mission Hospital.
In the first few months of the pandemic, Dr. Keany was deployed by NDMS to San Diego to care for the hundreds of people who tested positive for COVID-19 while on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Dr. Keany helped to care for passengers who were evacuated to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in March 2020. Over 700 passengers aboard the cruise ship eventually tested positive for coronavirus. This is just one example of the vital work that Dr. Keany and his NDMS colleagues supported over the past three years.
“In the early days of the pandemic, we were still learning how coronavirus was transmitted, which treatment options were best, and grappling with severe personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages,” shares Keany. “Even though the deployment was in Southern California - a well resourced community - it was in many ways like a mission to a disaster zone.”
Dr. Keany and 1,400 NDMS members received the award during the NDMS Training Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana. The medal was presented under the authority of the U.S. Surgeon General who authorized the issue of the COVID-19 Pandemic Civilian Service Medal to civilians deployed to provide medical care to state, territory, tribal, and local partners.
“The COVID-19 pandemic strained our country’s health care system and medical personnel for almost three years,” said NDMS Director Michael Smith. “Dr. Keany and his NDMS colleagues served as a lifeline to hundreds of hospitals and long-term care facilities by providing temporary relief to staff, adding bed capacity, and improving outcomes for COVID-19 patients. This medal is reflective of his selfless commitment to the public health and medical needs of our residents.”
Over the past three years NDMS has organized over 1,800 support missions to states, territories, and jurisdictions within the United States.
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