DIRECTOR’S DESK CHRISTINA R. GHALY, MD DIRECTOR
As we approach the winter holidays and the coming of the new year, we do so under unique and historic circumstances, in the shadow of the COVID pandemic we’ve been battling together for nearly a year. We can be thankful and proud as we round out this extraordinary year–despite trauma, difficulty, fear and unprecedented health challenges, DHS staff moved forward together, and accomplished truly amazing things to change and pivot our system in a positive way, giving excellent care to the most vulnerable in our population in an unprecedented health crisis. I want to reiterate my deep gratitude to all of you for your dedication to the patients and communities we serve, especially under these extremely stressful conditions.
I also want to highlight a reason for us all to be hopeful, with the arrival of the coronavirus vaccine, which we have already begun offering to our workforce, beginning with our staff in clinical and patient-facing roles. Over the next months, we plan to make the vaccine available to our entire workforce. This a major step in our collective fight against the pandemic, and a welcome opportunity to protect ourselves and each other. Please know that getting this vaccine will help save lives. I can’t overstate how critical it is for all of us to take advantage of this opportunity to get vaccinated at the earliest moment possible.
As this moment is unique, you’ll notice that this issue of the Pulse is unique as well. As we reflect on the past year, and anticipate 2021, it can be powerful to ground ourselves in our DHS Values, which are to be Welcoming, Inclusive, Compassionate, Accountable, Excellent, Innovative (see below for more details on each value). No matter what else changes around us, these are the values which will inform everything we do, and make us who we are, at DHS.
This issue of the Pulse highlights stories in which individuals and teams have brought each of these values to life. When we authentically live our values, we show the people around us that they matter. Your care, even in these difficult days, has made the difference for so many families and loved ones in our communities.
I hope you enjoy these stories, which are examples of the very best of what we can be and accomplish when we live our values. Have a beautiful end of the year, and Happy Holidays.
Swab, Drop, and Go! COVID-19 Testing in the ACN: Highlight on San Fernando ValleySwab, Drop, and Go! COVID-19 Testing in the ACN: Highlight on San Fernando Valley https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Swab-Drop-and-Go-COVID-19-Testing-in-the-ACN-Highlight-on-San-Fernando-Valley-PIC-8.jpg 331 186 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Swab-Drop-and-Go-COVID-19-Testing-in-the-ACN-Highlight-on-San-Fernando-Valley-PIC-8.jpg
With so many patients anxious and afraid of the new pandemic illness, how do we create a brand new process that is safe, Welcoming, and easy to understand for the thousands of patients who need testing? San Fernando Valley Health Center Group stepped up, using a Continuous Improvement model of trial and error were able to increase their capacity, work around various awkward parking lot areas, and vastly increased their capacity to test thousands of patients. In April, Mid Valley tested 67 patients. By July, they were able to test 1456 patients! Amazing work – and a fun read about all the things they did to create an ideal process at their two facilities!learn more
Empanelment in a Minute Is Now an ORCHID RealityEmpanelment in a Minute Is Now an ORCHID Reality https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Empanelment-in-a-Minute-Is-Now-an-ORCHID-Reality-PIC-1024x1024.jpg 1024 1024 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Empanelment-in-a-Minute-Is-Now-an-ORCHID-Reality-PIC-1024x1024.jpg
Among the many reasons to choose a career in DHS is the commitment to care for all Los Angeles County residents without regard to insurance status. The aptly named Research and Innovation division of Population Health Management developed a process to empanel our patients to promote health equity; helping ensure empaneled patients are treated equally whether or not they are insured. Brilliant way to ensure our technology echos the value of Inclusion!learn more
Happy Interpreters / Translators Day: We all Smile in the Same Language!Happy Interpreters / Translators Day: We all Smile in the Same Language! https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Happy-Interpreters-_-Translators-Day-We-all-Smile-in-the-Same-Language-pic-2-1024x768.jpg 1024 768 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Happy-Interpreters-_-Translators-Day-We-all-Smile-in-the-Same-Language-pic-2-1024x768.jpg
In our amazingly diverse County, over 225 languages are spoken, including American Sign Language. Many of our patients speak languages other than English – and deserve care that is compassionately given, in a language they are most comfortable with. An amazing group of translators and interpreters can be found in almost every LA County DHS facility who perform this critical role for our patients. Thank you Interpreters & Translators for ensuring Inclusive care!learn more
Linking Community to Health in the time of Pandemic: Community Health Workers & PromotorasLinking Community to Health in the time of Pandemic: Community Health Workers & Promotoras https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Linking-Community-to-Health-in-the-time-of-Pandemic-Community-Health-Workers-Promotoras.jpg 432 242 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Linking-Community-to-Health-in-the-time-of-Pandemic-Community-Health-Workers-Promotoras.jpg
As the Pandemic took hold, the work of Community Health Workers became a critical connection to people isolated in shelter in place, as well as other important health issues.learn more
The Deep Compassion Where Family, Life, and Healthcare Meet: Pastoral CareThe Deep Compassion Where Family, Life, and Healthcare Meet: Pastoral Care https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/The-Deep-Compassion-Where-Family-Life-and-Healthcare-Meet-Pastoral-Care-PIC.jpg 214 213 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/The-Deep-Compassion-Where-Family-Life-and-Healthcare-Meet-Pastoral-Care-PIC.jpg
We provide healthcare in the second largest healthcare system in the country – and sometimes in the day to day we lose track of the how critical our work is, and our work’s intersection with people’s personal lives. While Compassion is part of all of our work, this touching account commemorates Pastoral Week, celebrated at the end of October. A special thanks to all the members of the pastoral care family at DHS.learn more
Communicating Quickly and Effectively to DHS Patients in the Face of a Global PandemicCommunicating Quickly and Effectively to DHS Patients in the Face of a Global Pandemic https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Communicating-Quickly-and-Effectively-to-DHS-Patients-in-the-Face-of-a-Global-Pandemic-PIC-2.jpg 617 601 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Communicating-Quickly-and-Effectively-to-DHS-Patients-in-the-Face-of-a-Global-Pandemic-PIC-2.jpg
As the data came out, it quickly became clear: the patients in our communities were getting hit hard with the pandemic: people of color, immigrants, essential workers, people living in crowded quarters. Driven by our DHS Values including Compassion, we knew had to get the word out to our patients quickly – but we had never done this level of mass communication before. Staff formed the Patient Facing Communication Committee and pulled out all the stops to communicate with our patients like never before. They created a COVID related website, conducted robo-calls, sent text messages & emails, the Committee was able to send over 3.5 million messages to our almost 400,000 patients. It was a quick pivot in communication that resulted in lives saved.learn more
Building Trust to Ensure Just CultureBuilding Trust to Ensure Just Culture https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Building-Trust-to-Ensure-Just-Culture-PIC.jpg 1014 786 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Building-Trust-to-Ensure-Just-Culture-PIC.jpg
Compassion for each other in our day to day work-lives is equally as important as compassion for our patients, especially during COVID. With so many changes to our work processes and deep concern for workplace safety, MLK-OPC developed a program to ensure compassion with teaching safer practices such as social-distancing in the workplace. Their “Just Culture” approach involves managers rounding clinics and other work areas to check in with patient care staff while coaching on safer work practices.learn more
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Nurse Leader Honored on National LevelHarbor-UCLA Medical Center Nurse Leader Honored on National Level https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/F-Villacorte-Photo.jpg 383 550 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/F-Villacorte-Photo.jpg
Ms. Ferlie Villacorte, MSN/MPH, CNS, RN from Harbor-UCLA is the recipient of this year’s Richard Hader Visionary Leadership Award. The national award recognizes one nurse leader per year for connecting science and humanity. Ms. Villacorte was praised for promoting a positive work environment, improving professional development opportunities, creatively using existing resources and serving as a transformational leader in a time of rapid changes in health care coupled with a pandemic.” Her supervisor Dr. Griselda Gutierrez emphasized that “She truly is a transformational leader.” That’s Excellence!learn more
Dr. Hal Yee Recognized as Top 25 InnovatorDr. Hal Yee Recognized as Top 25 Innovator https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Dr.-Hal-Yee-Recognized-as-Top-25-Innovator-1024x577.jpg 1024 577 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Dr.-Hal-Yee-Recognized-as-Top-25-Innovator-1024x577.jpg
Do you remember back to the time before E-Consult? When Xeroxed papers went back and forth from clinics to specialists as the only gateway for our patients to get the specialty care they needed. Dr. Hal Yee brought in our current E-Consult system, vastly improving on the paper system. Today, more than 20,000 consultations are completed per month, with a median one-day turnaround. Wait time is 17% lower! Dr. Yee was recognized for both the innovation and improvement as one of the Top 25 Innovators by Modern Healthcare under the Quality and Safety category. We see it as Excellence!learn more
Training on COVID-19 Testing Standardized Procedures and Protocols on Microsoft TEAMSTraining on COVID-19 Testing Standardized Procedures and Protocols on Microsoft TEAMS https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Training-on-COVID-19-Testing-Standardized-Procedures-and-Protocols-on-Microsoft-TEAMS-1-1024x567.jpg 1024 567 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Training-on-COVID-19-Testing-Standardized-Procedures-and-Protocols-on-Microsoft-TEAMS-1-1024x567.jpg
Usually the nursing education team had been able to train around 140 staff on standard procedures in 10 days. But with COVID, our ability as a system to test thousands of patients with a brand new procedure became essential to “flattening the curve” and saving lives. The Ambulatory Care Nursing Professional Development and Education team pivoted big time, and conducted training for 601 employees in 8 days – more than quadrupling their capacity to get this critical information out on short order. Amazing Innovation!learn more
ONE DEGREE Connects Patients to Key ResourcesONE DEGREE Connects Patients to Key Resources https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/ONE-DEGREE-Connects-Patients-to-Key-Resources-PIC-1024x746.jpg 1024 746 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/ONE-DEGREE-Connects-Patients-to-Key-Resources-PIC-1024x746.jpg
Ever wondered how often those three-ring binders of community resources at the front desk are updated? No need to wonder anymore! Thanks to a partnership with the non-profit that started it, County staff and our patients now have an amazing on-line resource available called 1degree.org. The “Yelp” of community resources is easily searchable, available in Spanish and English and there will soon be trainings available to learn more about it!learn more
Making the COVID Vaccine Available to EveryoneMaking the COVID Vaccine Available to Everyone https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Making-the-COVID-Vaccine-Available-to-Everyone-768x1024.jpg 768 1024 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Making-the-COVID-Vaccine-Available-to-Everyone-768x1024.jpg
With the long-awaited vaccine for COVID-19 finally available, so many of us are experiencing feelings of relief and hope, as well as anxiety about how quickly we’ll be able to get vaccinated.learn more
Population Health Improves Access to Care During the COVID-19 PandemicPopulation Health Improves Access to Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Population-Health-Improves-Access-to-Care-During-the-COVID-19-Pandemic-1024x410.jpg 1024 410 Health Services Los Angeles County https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Population-Health-Improves-Access-to-Care-During-the-COVID-19-Pandemic-1024x410.jpg
COVID meant unprecedented changes to our health system – and for patients, many stopped coming to primary care or urgent care visits. Health services staff worried people were “falling through the cracks,” and might suffer worse health effects for lack of care. The pop health teams went to work, reaching out to patients via phone, increasing telephone visits from 10% to 90% of visits, creating “drive through” visits and even video visits. Also, big attention was put to following up with patients recovered from COVID after they leave the hospital. The result? What could have meant a reduction of patients seen, DHS actually increased the number of patients seen – and are making sure all patients are getting the healthcare they need, COVID or otherwise. Great data in the longer article!learn more