Carson Tahoe Health’s Board of Directors appointed Alan Garrett as the new Chief Executive Officer…
Redefining Evolution: A Letter From Our President and CEO
While passing time in the pandemic, shut-in world, I was reacquainted with an early ’90s song. Geoff Moore, artist and songwriter sings, “I believe in evolution. Changing of the heart. Renewing of the mind.” As I look back at the last six months, I find this play on words incredibly relevant to where Carson Tahoe Health is today.
At the end of 2019, the Board of Directors adopted a new, long-term strategic plan. The plan urged us to strengthen the core, a phrase we use to describe improving the day-to-day things we do to care for our patients and community. With this objective in mind, we set out to improve how we deliver care: ensuring our locations are safe and we are providing the right treatment at the right time. We want to be cost-effective, because healthcare costs everyone too much. And, we want to make sure that we treat everyone how we’d treat our closest friend.
That same strategic plan challenged us to transform and innovate. We live in a world where innovation is going on all around us, yet healthcare sometimes seems to be locked in the early ’90s, with my aforementioned song (which was, by the way, I listened to on a compact disc). Real medical advances continue to accelerate and be adopted, but the rest of healthcare sometimes seems to stall.
To complete our triple aim, the Board also urged us to inspire community. Our mission statement speaks to improving the health and well-being of our neighbors. Surely, we do that well through the care we provide. Knowing we are one of the area’s largest employers, employing some of the most well-educated among us, and having earned the trust of so many, we asked, what else should we be doing?
We felt like we had a thoughtful plan to guide Carson Tahoe and our community to a bright future. And then a pandemic changed everything. This health crisis, and other events around the county, caused us to evolve. We renewed our mind and changed our heart.
Our heart changed as we thought carefully about what was most precious to us. In the midst of these trials, what mattered most? People! We looked at problems with new solutions—solutions that may never have come to fruition without the necessity brought on by unprecedented change.
Safety Protocols and Telehealth
The pandemic caused us to think hard about safety. We:
- Limited visitors to our inpatient sites but connected tablets so patients could interact with their family and friends, virtually
- Closed selected services to reduce unnecessary risk and prepared for the worst, and nurses received extra training on important care protocols
- Educated the community about how to stay safe and let them know we would face the challenges together
The community was inspired to provide Carson Tahoe with masks, cards, drawings, child-painted rocks, and food. Our neighbors took social distancing seriously (thank you!) and, within a week, transformation happened, with almost seven out of 10 physician office visits happening through video and telephones.
We also learned that the pandemic didn’t affect everyone equally. There are some populations in the community who suffered more. That’s not right. We’re working on new efforts to break down these health disparities, including: age, race, and where you live.
As we face a new normal—life with COVID-19—Carson Tahoe starts a new effort to strengthen the core, transform and innovate, and inspire community. Our heart is stronger and our mind is clearer as we embark upon this next chapter. We’ve evolved in a way that will make Carson Tahoe better able to improve the health and well-being of all those we serve.
Alan Garrett, President and CEO, Carson Tahoe Health
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