A reflection on COVID-19 from Dr. Rhonda Medows

March 23, 2020 Dr. Rhonda Medows

A message from Rhonda Medows, M.D.

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.”– Paulo Coelho

We are moving forward & working together.

To the health caregivers, whether you are on the frontlines or behind the lines, providing direct patient care, one of the many caregivers managing the operations and services of Providence, we owe you a debt of gratitude for your commitment, tenacity and compassion.

To our patients, please know that your fellow humans in the clinics and hospitals are doing their best to give all patients the care they deserve. We empathize with your situation and your fear of uncertainty, and we have your back.

Each day we receive news altering the way we live and work, and more change is coming. What is apparent is that we are in an “all-hands-on-deck” situation. We must all commit to what has temporarily become a civic responsibility to withdraw from normal human behavior. Call it “shelter in place” or “quarantine,” the message is the same – reframe your lens to consider the collective at the expense of self. This is hard to do given that the situation seems to be changing by the hour.

Getting the right information

People are currently being bombarded with messages about what to do, where to go or not go, and what to think. It can be overwhelming. It is certainly scary. It’s important to remember that most parties vying for your attention are coming at it from a positive intent. Inside the halls of Providence, our intent to bring you trustworthy news and information is no different. We are working diligently to bring you useful, clinically-backed updates to help you navigate this health crisis.

You have a lot of choices regarding where to turn for the most accurate and reliable information about COVID-19. The CDC and WHO are two reliable choices, and we are looking to those resources to complement our in-house clinical expertise. We have launched a couple of trustworthy sites that we hope will help you better understand the virus and offer useful resources, plus ways to help if you are able. They include: 

1.Coronavirus advisory site: This environment offers an AI-driven symptom checker to help you determine if you have the virus and where you can seek help.

2.100 Million Mask Challenge: There is a severe shortage of personal protective equipment for caregivers, so we issued a challenge to the public and industries in our communities to make 100 million masks to ensure health caregivers have the protection they need to care for patients.

Go to these links to learn more about how we’re trying to help people cope and manage through this difficult time.

Stay well

I have another request of you.... please pause for just a moment or two and take care of yourselves and families. Check your own preparations and prevention efforts as well as for your own mental health and well-being. Some questions to consider:

  • Do you have the essentials you need to shelter in place?
  • Have you researched best practices in working from home while trying to manage your family?
  • How will you stay mentally, physically and spiritually well during this crisis?

Take care of yourself so you can prevent the spread of COVID-19. Take a deep breath…now do it again.

Social Isolation & Staying Home

Things are moving fast around us including directives for social isolation and more recently, state-issued “shelter in place” or lockdown orders from governors. Please understand what this means and its purpose to slow down the spread of the virus. Unless you are part of frontline “essential” teams, stay home, and work virtually. These simple steps, which I acknowledge are not as easy as they sound, will help society overall reduce the rate of viral spread. You are more valuable there at home…for your family and loved ones.

Focus. Face forward

We know there are thousands of people who rely on Providence for their care needs, and we are grateful always to serve those in our communities. We are part of a local-first, seven-state health system, and we are all leaning in (virtually) to bring you the care you need, the hope you deserve, and the information that will aid you during these uncertain times.  

I will close with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi:

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

Stay safe. Tune in. We will get through this together.

About the Author

Dr. Rhonda Medows

Rhonda M. Medows, MD, is President of Population Health Management at Providence, one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the United States, and CEO of Ayin Health Solutions, a population health management company launched by Providence.  She leads Providence’s Medicaid, Medicare, Commercial, and employer population health strategies, as well as the organization’s value-based care, health plans, population health informatics, government programs, care management, contracting, and community health partnerships.  Dr. Medows has extensive healthcare industry background in both the private sector and government health programs including Medicare and Medicaid. She serves on the US HHS Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Council (PTAC) focused on developing new alternative payment models.

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