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Overcoming challenges in post-acute care during COVID-19

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“It has been an exhausting, challenging, trying year, but we are better for it because of all we have learned. Those lessons will make our service line that much stronger in the future.”
– Jamie Freelin, MD, Regional Medical Director

 

In the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, the most vulnerable of our population, those in skilled nursing facilities, were decimated by the virus. The challenge for our clinicians became treating patients while mitigating exposure which was no easy task. “Under normal circumstances, a post-acute clinician visits multiple facilities in a week, so we had to completely realign our strategy when COVID hit,” says Jamie Freelin, MD, Regional Medical Director.

The relentlessness of the virus meant innovation was key. Leaders had to think outside the box and find new ways to reach patients in these facilities, so they introduced telemedicine services to treat this population without ever having to enter the facility. This assured the facilities could maintain their strict protocols to contain the virus while we continually provided quality patient care. “It was a logistical labyrinth to implement telemedicine that took a team effort from the administrative staff at the National Support Center to everyone at the regional level, but everyone was willing to do their part and that’s why it was successful,” says Dr. Freelin.

She believes telemedicine will continue to be useful in certain areas of post-acute care moving forward. “I think you will continue to see it used in acute behavioral health situations into the future.” Dr. Freelin also says that after 12 months of the pandemic, her team is “bruised and battle-scarred, but so much stronger.”

 

About TeamHealth

At TeamHealth, our purpose is to perfect the practice of medicine, every day, in everything we do. We are proud to be the leading integrated physician practice in the U.S., driven by our commitment to quality and safety and supported by our world-class operating team. To improve the experience of our physicians and advanced practice clinicians, we empower clinicians to act on what they believe is right, free clinicians from distractions so they can focus on patient care, invest in learning and development to promote growth in the clinical field and foster an environment where continuous improvement is a shared priority. Through our more than 15,500 affiliated physicians and advanced practice clinicians, TeamHealth offers emergency medicine, hospital medicine, critical care, anesthesiology, orthopedic surgery, general surgery, obstetrics, inpatient psychiatry, ambulatory care, post-acute/behavioral health care and medical call center solutions to approximately 2,900 acute and post-acute facilities and physician groups nationwide. Learn more at www.teamhealth.com.