David Verinder & Michael Boorstein Discussion of Current, Future Impacts of Covid-19: Summary
Board members of the Longboat Key Democratic Club were pleased to have worked with Sarasota Memorial Health System so that our members and the community at large could gain a better understanding of the impacts of Covid-19 on Sarasota and Longboat Key.
In addition to the discussions with Dr. Manuel Gordillo, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and control at Sarasota Memorial, and Dr. Kirk Voelker, Medical Director of Clinical Research and the Covid-19 clinical trials, our Board member Michael Boorstein had a very interesting and productive discussion with David Verinder, President and CEO of the health system. Here is a summary of Mr. Verinder’s responses to Michael’s questions.
- Mr. Verinder emphasized the challenges that the patients, his staff and the community have faced in coping with this crisis. Physicians and staff at the hospital have worked around the clock to provide the best care possible. The hospital has received enormous generosity and support from the community including daily meal deliveries for the hospital’s frontline workers and homemade masks. Local organizations have provided critical equipment, supplies and funding for critical Covid-19 research. This outpouring of support has been tremendously uplifting to all Sarasota Memorial staff.
- Through all of this, Mr. Verinder told us that the pandemic has had a severe financial impact on the health system. Sarasota Memorial experienced a $16 revenue reduction in revenue in March. Surgery cases fell by more than 50% and there were significant volume decreases in the hospital’s two Emergency Care Centers and seven Urgent Care Centers. The Urgent Care Center at St. Armand’s Circle has been temporarily closed.
- Fortunately, the situation has begun to turn around for the better. The hospital’s elective and non-emergency volume has now begun to increase and staff are being called back to work. The hospital and physician offices are now better prepared to care for patients because of safeguards and work practices they have put in place.
- The hospital is confident they can now safely resume care to all patients. The hospital has a small number of Covid-19 patients and they remain isolated from other patients. Hospital staff caring for these patients are dedicated only to their care. Their top priority has been and always will be for the safety of patients, staff and others visiting or working in their facilities.
- Mr. Verinder assured us that the hospital is now prepared should their be a resurgence of Covid-19. The health system is receiving a steady shipment of supplies. The hospital has ample supply of ventilators, critical care beds, and Intensive Care Unit capacity. He is confident that the hospital has the capacity to manage any future spread of the virus.
- He encouraged citizens to visit the SMH website, www.smh.com/covid19 for the latest updates on the virus and related topics.
In summary, we are very encouraged by our discussions with Mr. Verinder and Drs. Gordillo and Voelker. Not only is the hospital now fully prepared to care for all patients, but the clinical trials they are doing with Covid-19 treatments could have a significant impact on the management of the virus going forward. We are indeed very fortunate to have the Sarasota Health System in our community.