2020 was a year full of challenges for healthcare and the nation as a whole. For Milford Regional, the year began with high expectations. We had positioned ourselves well with strong investments in quality care initiatives and physician recruitment. We had completed infrastructure projects and were well on our way to unveiling our new medical records system. The forecast for FY2020 was positive; it was going to be a good year.
Then, the unthinkable happened…COVID-19 arrived at our nation’s doorstep. As its impact rippled across the country, everything turned upside down. We were dealing with an unknown virus that was highly contagious and deadly; however, what I did know was the quality of our physicians, nurses and staff within Milford Regional Healthcare System. Having seen them partner and meet other challenges head on, I was confident that we could not be in better hands. Milford Regional’s disaster plan that had been practiced for years was activated; a Command Center and critical roles were quickly established to provide 24/7 oversight of care, treatment and supplies. Our infectious disease physicians led the charge working tirelessly to administer treatment plans based upon guidance, directives and protocols set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH). In an effort to address the community’s concerns and provide assistance, a COVID-19 hotline and an online assessment tool to check symptoms were created. Milford Regional Physician Group embraced telehealth to continue serving their patients. Our physicians, nurses and staff demonstrated incredible dedication and compassion to our patients as COVID numbers increased along with the demands placed upon them.
Having withstood the rigors of the first surge, we prepared for an anticipated second surge in the fall which, not surprisingly, emerged full force in November. The difference between the first and second surge was the amount of community spread due to the weather and holidays that encouraged more indoor gatherings. Unlike the first surge, hospital services largely remained open (except for inpatient elective surgeries) to ensure patients receive needed care for conditions other than COVID. Our Urgent Care Centers started seeing unprecedented numbers of patients with COVID symptoms who needed testing or those who needed the test to travel. The number of hospital beds available and the staff needed to care for patients were also severely challenged.
Overall, I would say adaptability and determination best defines those within Milford Regional Healthcare System during our response to the pandemic. Along with our outstanding nurses and physicians, all departments within the hospital from respiratory to the lab to the stockroom and housekeeping (to name just a few), as well as those throughout our physician practices, faced enormous challenges not seen before. In all cases, it was their amazing fortitude and commitment to the community that kept operations running smoothly to ensure patients received the very best care.
On a positive note, the other difference between surges was the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine. It was the best gift of 2020 to our healthcare workers whose valor during this pandemic cannot be overstated. As our healthcare staff continues to receive the vaccine, it puts us one step closer to the eradication of this deadly virus.
Though the pandemic was all consuming, there were certainly great achievements in programs, services and personnel throughout Milford Regional’s healthcare system that made a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of our community. Several of these accomplishments include: opening a new, Level 1B Continuing Care Nursery for the special needs of newborns, expanding our lung cancer screening program; introducing a new pain management program, creating a partnership with Spectrum Health Systems to provide rapid access to medication-assisted treatment to patients of the emergency department and Milford Regional Physician Group practice sites, successfully implementing our new electronic medical record system – MEDITECH Expanse, recruiting key physicians in both primary and specialty care, and effectively adopting telehealth to accommodate the needs of patients during the pandemic. I am very pleased to say that during the many challenges presented in 2020, not only did Milford Regional make such transformative achievements as noted here, we were also awarded an ‘A’ for patient safety by The Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization, for the fifth consecutive time! You will have the chance to read about all of these outstanding achievements and more within this annual report.
I cannot be more proud of the unrelenting dedication and service our staff demonstrated during this historic, world-wide pandemic. There are no words that can express my gratitude and that of our senior administrators, Board of Trustees and the community for the commitment and selflessness displayed by everyone within Milford Regional’s healthcare system at an unprecedented time when their calling and expertise were needed most.
Though 2020 is a year we would rather forget, it’s important that we always remember the heroism displayed by all at Milford Regional during a pandemic that will, one day, be memorialized in history books. As a tribute to the many in Milford Regional who made such a difference to countless numbers of residents within our service area this past year, a video was created to commemorate the extraordinary valor that was witnessed daily by the very best healthcare has to offer…our Milford Regional team. (The link to the video is on the home page of our annual report.)
Looking forward, it is the high quality of our staff that makes me very optimistic about our future. I am confident that as we work together to achieve new and exciting goals set before us for 2021, the possibilities are truly endless.
Edward J. Kelly
President & CEO
Milford Regional Medical Center