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Wednesday, Apr 24, 2024

Generational Threads Woven in Fabric

Pacifica Hospital of the Valley is a 231 bed safety net hospital located in Sun Valley, California. Our hospital serves the underserved community within San Fernando Valley and LA counties, as well as referrals from over 400+ miles away for our specialized subacute unit.

Since the beginning days of the pandemic in January 2020, PHV responded immediately to the governor’s call to action for hospitals to establish a mitigation plan addressing the surging of COVID-19 patients including advanced ordering of PPE, transitioning unused units to four COVID-19 Surge units by ordering necessary equipment to enable ICU and telemetry level of care and use of contract staff to service the emergency need for COVID-19 patient care.

As a result of successful implementation to care for COVID-19 patients, PHV was identified as a Regional Surge Center in southern CA to help decompress other hospitals. We accepted hundreds of patients transferred from other hospitals in southern CA to help decompress the emergency situation. During this time, we sadly suffered an outbreak and more than 87% of our staff was out on leave which led to the National Guard stepping in to help stabilize our situation.  On top of that, we lost lives of long-term residents who were part of our family for over 20 years for some. As President/CEO and our staff it was a devastating period of time.

I was proud of our team of hospital support staff, healthcare workers and management personnel who demonstrated joint collaboration to overcome the obstacles and uphold the quality of care during those turbulent months.  There was no playbook on how to prepare and navigate through a global pandemic and especially within a community of high-risk population and the city of Los Angeles surging with hospitals having to close emergency departments and prioritize patient admissions and clinical care.

Fortunately for PHV, we had unused real estate that was in transition for re-licensing, so it was in a way, a blessing in disguise to have this flexibility to pivot quickly and transition the units to COVID-19 surge units. There was no hesitation on my part as President/CEO to invest in making it happen with hopes that federal/state funding for the pandemic would come through. We spent millions of dollars towards preparation and sustaining the specialized units for COVID-19. We were honored that we had the capacity to support the needs in the community and southern CA hospitals. PHV cared for hundreds of COVID-19 patients, tested over 2500 for COVID-19 and vaccinated over 2,000 community members. Additionally, we are in process of setting up mobile vaccine clinics to outreach the PEH (People Experiencing Homeless) community, homebound and school-based needs.

During a time of catastrophic loss and impact on our hospital, we found an opportunity to serve a growing patient population in need. For example, one of the new service lines was developed in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health and was greenlit in January 2021 and received hundreds of patient admissions within the initial months of implementation. The two programs include the Acute Medical/Psychiatric and Medical/Psychiatric/COVID-19 population. There is a continued growing need to care for the mental health population especially those with acute medical issues that need to be safely addressed with the secondary psychiatric component.

It was critical during this past year that our team effectiveness was responsive, adaptable and flexible. Our leadership team is diverse in culture and generations. Generational collaboration combined with cultural differences in ways of communication, leadership styles and execution of goals required frequent communication to capture team focus and collaboration.

To work through the generational differences of communication and styles, it is apparent that each member must uphold respect for one another and to recognize the value each has to bring to the table. The older generation brings the years of experiences and advice on situations, where the younger generations bring new ideas from a different perspective of being efficient and direct on how certain situations can be handled.

As president/CEO of the hospital, I believe in the value of having those generational differences and support the collaboration to build the best of both worlds. The key is respect, flexibility, adaptability and transparent communication with each other. A team with generational differences can strengthen the operations as we have demonstrated through this pandemic. As a society we must value and capture the attributes from each generation to give forward in life.

The connection between the generations is like threads woven in fabric. Each thread brings meaning and purpose to create a collaboration of uniqueness and beauty. All fabric in life is precious and through the glory of God.  

Precious Mayes is CEO and president of Pacifica Hospital of the Valley. For more information, visit pacificahospital.com.

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