These are challenging times for Greater Houston communities contending with yet another wave of COVID-19. The serious illness and loss of life is a tragedy for affected families, and it is taking a physical and emotional toll on medical professionals. As CEO of St. Luke’s Health, which includes Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (the research and teaching hospital for Baylor College of Medicine) and St. Joseph Health in Brazos Valley, I am seeing the number of patients with the coronavirus grow each day. Per data from the Texas state epidemiologist, 75% of new COVID-19 cases are reported to be a result of the highly transmissible Delta variant. The average age for admission in our hospitals has dropped by approximately 15 years, making 40-45 the age range most affected. While we’ve learned from the past COVID-19 surges, the Delta variant poses new challenges to our critical safety net, impacting both the cost of providing care and the number of doctors and nurses needed to staff hospitals. Last year, nearly 21,000 healthcare providers responded to the American Medical Association’s COVID-19 for Caregivers Survey. The respon- dents cited that coping with the fear of exposing themselves and their families to disease, as well as constant work overloads and burnout, are all part of their daily routines. The stress of working during a pandemic has caused many to retire early or leave the healthcare profession entirely. The result is that there are shortages in critical areas, such as nursing, and the overall cost of maintaining our hospital’s labor force has increased dramatically. We are actively working with our insurance companies regarding this escalating cost of providing healthcare and I remain hopeful that we will be able to partner with the payor community to ensure that we are paid fairly for this important work and continue to be in the best position to provide high value care to the communities that we serve. Our patients are the reason we come to work every day. Providing them with exceptional care is a responsibility we welcome and one that we will always honor as we work to ensure the trust of St. Luke’s Health is the best place to give and receive care and while I am always willing to talk about our caregivers and the best-value care and essential services they provide, it is very nice when someone else will do that for you. Caring for the Caregivers
Each year, U.S. News and World Report reports on the nation’s best hospitals and best specialties. Last week, the magazine recognized Baylor St . Luke’s Medical Center (Baylor St . Luke’s) as a Best Hospital nationally for 2021-22. For the 2021-22 rankings and ratings, U.S. News evaluated more than 4,750 medical centers nationwide. Additionally, Baylor St. Luke’s was ranked nationally in the following specialties:
» Cancer (The Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center), No. 25 » Cardiology & Heart Surgery, No. 13 nationally and top-ranked in Houston » Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, No. 24 » Geriatrics, No. 46 » Neurology & Neurosurgery, No. 33
Of course, I am proud of the U.S. News and World Report recognition, yet I am even more proud of what we are doing at St . Luke’s to make a positive impact on the health and well-being of our friends and neighbors. And we will continue to do so years into the future.
T. Douglas Lawson CEO, St. Luke’s Health
St. Luke’s Health comprises 16 hospitals located in Houston, Bryan/College Station, and East Texas, including the renowned Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (BSLMC). BSLMC is an academic health center providing quaternary care. We are a non-profit health system guided by our values of Compassion, Inclusion, Integrity, Excellence, and Collaboration.
COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM
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