Our Focus on Local, Regional and Federal Advocacy and Collaboration During the Pandemic
As our physicians, nurses, and support teams work on the front lines to care for our community, I want to take this opportunity to thank the residents of the Merrimack Valley for their continued support and share the work being done at the regional and state levels to respond to this crisis.
Since we first learned of the potential impacts of this pandemic, I have been working closely with healthcare leaders and local, state and federal officials to ensure Lowell General Hospital and our partners have the resources they will need now and after this crisis is behind us. We have also received great support from our partners at UMass Lowell as we worked to set up the alternative care site on their campus.
A key resource in the statewide effort has been the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association (MHA), a nonprofit organization that represents 83 hospitals across the state, bringing our collective voices together on a range of issues to advocate on behalf of healthcare in the Commonwealth. In June, I had the honor of being named the 79th Chair of the MHA’s Board of Trustees, and that one-year term was recently extended six months in light of the pandemic response.
The MHA’s ability to coordinate efforts among all of its member organizations during this crisis has been vital. Each morning I join the state’s healthcare CEOs on an MHA call to discuss our needs and how we can work together to meet them. These calls often include the Governor and his team as we discuss the needs of individual communities and how they can support our work. The MHA’s advocacy has helped reduce regulation around issues like scope of practice and liability, secure much needed PPE and other equipment, and secure relief funding, all of which allows us to focus on patient care.
The MHA and our team are also working closely with the federal delegation to make sure we have the resources we need. A great example is the support we have received from Congresswoman Lori Trahan, who helped us secure additional ventilators through locally based companies like Zoll and Raytheon.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention the incredible collaboration taking place through Wellforce. Under the leadership of new CEO Michael Dandorph, our system is accessing the supply chain, allocating resources across the system, and partnering in capacity and care like never before.
All of this collective work is making an incredible difference in our ability to meet the significant challenges this pandemic has brought to our organization. Thanks to the teamwork and partnership being displayed across this region and state, we will be a stronger community once this is behind us.