Her Voice Blog

    #MsInterPReted - Coronavirus & the Community Hospital Impact

    4.6.20 S2_Epi10_BlountMemorial light text

    The coronavirus impact continues to infiltrate the globe … and the “new” front lines of the battle are beginning to emerge in smaller, more rural communities.

    But are those communities prepared with health systems that can respond? In the U.S., the fact is that in huge swaths of non-metropolitan, smaller communities, the answer 10 years ago would have been “yes,” but today, the answer may be a definitive “no.”

    For one smaller community immediately south of the Knoxville, Tennessee DMA, in Blount County (Maryville / Alcoa), citizens are fortunate to have a well-sustained, forward-thinking hospital that's addressing the crisis head-on and in a well-planned manner (full disclosure: #MsInterPReted co-host Mary Beth West serves as a volunteer on the hospital’s foundation board).

    On this episode of "Ms. InterPReted," two top administrators from Blount Memorial deep-dive into challenges and concerns smaller communities and their health infrastructures face, across Tennessee and the nation – particularly in the face of COVID-19.

    Blount Memorial Hospital CEO Don Heinemann and Assistant Administrator Connie Huffman discuss with Kelly and Mary Beth:
    • Why current physical distancing measures are not only essential to citizen safety but also critical toward health-worker safety, to prevent healthcare provider shortages when the community needs these professionals most in combating the virus locally
    • Key challenges many community hospitals nationwide faced even prior to the current COVID-19 crisis -- and how the coronavirus pandemic is now hitting health systems on both the expense and revenue sides
    • How Blount Memorial’s disaster-response plan is structured and is currently being actioned in phases, as the coronavirus makes its march across Tennessee and into smaller, non-metro communities
    • What many healthcare administrators are worrying about most, due to the unpredictable nature of the virus
    • How the fight against shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is one arena where community involvement and support is making an impact
    • Biggest myths and misconceptions within the public that the healthcare community is seeking to overcome, regarding public awareness and call-to-action
    • What the shortage of mental-health resources for emotional wellness and stability through the crisis means for local communities
    • How the Blount Memorial Foundation board of directors and the separate Blount Memorial Hospital board of directors are pitching in personally to rally the local community around strategic charitable giving, to help make sure the hospital and its dedicated team are supported, in service to citizen health and recovery
      • #COVIDgiveWhereYouLive 
    • And more


    business, Fletcher, tennessee, PR, public relations, #MsInterPReted, planning, coronavirus, continuity, crisis communications, COVID-19, Blount, community, Blount Memorial, Connie Huffman, healthcare, hospital, Blount Chamber, Don Heinemann

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