Health Systems Unite to Encourage Patients to Put Health First, Access Care When Needed
LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Six of Los Angeles County's largest nonprofit health systems with hospitals, clinics and care facilities across the region have come together united in a mission to encourage community members to put health first and access care when needed.
UCLA Health, Providence, Keck Medicine of USC, Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health and Cedars-Sinai have launched public service announcements called BetterTogether.Health with themes that include, "Life may be on pause. Your health isn't.," "Thanks L.A. for doing your part" and "Get care when you need it."
Among issues the educational campaign is addressing are the growing concerns by health professionals that many people are not seeking needed medical advice and assistance when critical to do so. Health care providers remain committed and available to serving the community's health care needs—including emergency, primary, specialty and urgent care.
Rather than each health system individually addressing what medical professionals increasingly call a "silent sub-epidemic" of those requiring but instead avoiding timely medical services, they came together to tackle head on what could become, if not curbed immediately, the next public health crisis, resulting in serious and avoidable health consequences. Today the six health systems are joined for this purpose, believing it is their duty to reach out and let people know they are open and committed to maintaining the health of the communities they serve – and saving lives.
"Those caring for patients in our hospitals, urgent care centers, clinics, testing centers and through telemedicine have responded with remarkable dedication, resilience and skill," says Johnese Spisso, President, UCLA Health, CEO, UCLA Hospital System, and Associate Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences. "The health of our community continues as our number one priority, and we are prepared to address all health care needs."
The BetterTogether.Health public service effort will include messages on multi-language television and radio, as well as billboards, newspapers, magazines, digital, social media, online information, links to vital health care resources and more. Combining resources demonstrates the organizations are in this together, will accomplish more together, and will get through this together.
"We are grateful to those who did what was asked -- stay home, safe and healthy," says Erik Wexler, Chief Executive, Providence Southern California. "We are confident these efforts are making a positive difference in the health of Californians. This collaboration of health systems is not only extraordinary, it provides meaningful information in meeting a challenge beyond anything any of us ever experienced."
Emergencies don't stop and neither do the hospitals providing emergency care 24/7.
"We know many patients who in the past dialed 911 for life-threatening emergencies are now not accessing these vital services quickly," says Julie Sprengel, President, Southwest Division, Dignity Health Hospitals, CommonSpirit Health. "We are instead seeing patients that delayed, postponed or cancelled care coming to emergency departments with serious conditions that should have been treated far earlier."
Getting to a hospital quickly for heart attacks and strokes is critical and saves lives. Those exhibiting serious symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, numbness in one side of the body or severe headache should seek medical attention immediately.
"There is concern that patients with serious conditions are putting off critical treatments," says Tom Jackiewicz, CEO, Keck Medicine of USC. "We know that seeking immediate care for heart attacks and strokes can be life-saving and may minimize long-term effects. Our hospitals and health care providers are ready and open to serve your needs."
Scheduled vaccinations for children are part of the important medical care that needs to take place to ensure everyone is protected from infectious diseases. Staying current on your children's immunization schedule protects them from potentially deadly diseases.
"It is critically important for children to stay on schedule for vaccinations for the protection of their health and others as well, including the measles and whooping cough vaccines," says Julie Miller-Phipps, President, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Health Plan and Hospitals. "These highly contagious diseases could become a public health issue if not addressed. Immunizations help protect children and those around them from diseases caused by bacteria or viruses."
Patient health and safety are top priorities for every health care provider.
"Receiving timely treatment by skilled medical professionals is essential to helping us achieve for our patients and communities the best possible outcomes," says Tom Priselac, CEO, Cedars-Sinai Health System. "Please do not delay getting your health care. We encourage you to call a trusted health care provider like your doctor's office, hospital or urgent care center."
ABOUT US: BetterTogether.Health was formed by Rhoda Weiss, PhD, national health care consultant and speaker who has chaired several national organizations and conferences, including AMA Executive Summit for leaders from health systems across the U.S. As the pandemic widened, Dr. Weiss re-engaged this national group via frequent conference calls and sharing of best practices, strategies and resources. With experience in coalition building and its positive impact on communities, Dr. Weiss formed and is leading efforts of BetterTogether.Health that unites health systems in creating messages for the betterment of communities they serve.
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