Lauding its response to the coronavirus pandemic in which Northwell Health treated more coronavirus patients than any other provider in the United States, the International Hospital Federation has recognized Northwell Health in the Beyond the Call of Duty for COVID-19 program. The health system was among 100 hospitals from 27 countries to earn the achievement, which is sponsored by the Japanese Red Cross Ashikaga Hospital – Nikken Group and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA).
“The coronavirus pandemic humbled US health care organizations like few events in history,” said Michael Dowling, Northwell president and CEO. “While it’s a crisis that continues to challenge health systems, hospitals and other providers around the world as they prepare for and respond to a resurgence of COVID-19, I’m humbled by the International Hospital Federation’s ‘Beyond the Call of Duty’ award in recognition of our work to date.
“Clearly, we are still in the midst of protecting our communities from this silent killer, but I applaud IHF for recognizing the commitment, dedication and courage of caregivers worldwide, and the innovative responses and actions that enabled them to preserve public health during this pandemic.”
The IHF is recognizing honorees in Beyond the Call of Duty for COVID-19 during an extensive international media campaign on December 15. IHF Chief Executive Officer Ronald Lavater said the outstanding work in response to the pandemic is transforming the future of health care.
“One of our motivations in creating this recognition program is to highlight the diversity and agility of the hospital industry in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “The pandemic forced hospitals to develop, implement and adopt new ways to operate and many of these changes have accelerated positive transformation in the delivery of care.”
In all, Northwell has treated more than 112,000 COVID patients. Critical to the health system’s effort has been utilizing its established network incident command structure capable of responding to large-scale emergencies, including terrorism acts, viral pandemics, weather events, mass shootings and other mass-casualty incidents. Emergency response teams were available to deploy personnel and resources throughout the health system’s 19 hospitals and 800 outpatient locations in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County.
Testing has been integral. After ramping up capabilities at Northwell Health Labs, which can process 10,000 tests each day, the health system performed nearly 2 million COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody tests.
Northwell also innovated through the crisis, taking advantage of its large, integrated health system to “load balance” and transport 810 patients from overrun hospitals to those that had bed capacity. Also, when hospital bed capacity wore thin, the health system increased bed by 50 percent – 2,000 systemwide – with two weeks. As nasal swabs for COVID diagnostic testing fell short, Northwell teamed with academic partners to 3D print them. And as critically ill COVID patients needed intensive care, Northwell converted bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines into mechanical ventilators. Ultimately, more than 300 BiPAP machines were converted into ventilators, avoiding the need to ration the availability of life-support.
“Above all else, ensuring the safety of employees and protecting their physical and emotional health was our top priority throughout the pandemic,” said Mark Jarrett, MD, chief quality officer and deputy chief medical officer. “Their courage, commitment and heroism inspired us all as there were countless examples where Northwell distinguished itself with its culture of preparedness, integration, commitment to safety and morale, clinical decision-making, research trials and focus on ongoing communications.”
Submitted by Northwell Health