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‘We need you to do your part’



I write to you — our community, our patients, staff and friends — during this unprecedented time for the nation and the world. We now face a public health crisis unlike any that we have experienced in our lifetimes. We at Cooley Dickinson understand how confusing, concerning and rapidly changing the current health care situation is.  

We are doing all we can to be here for you as your health care provider and as your source of credible, up-to-date information. We appreciate all you are doing to follow the critically important suggestions from credible sources such as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you have not yet adopted these strategies, we urge you to do so! Precautions like hand washing, social distancing and the closure of public spaces help slow the spread of the disease. We need everyone to follow those directives. By every one of you doing all you can to reduce the spread, you not only protect yourself and your loved ones, but you also help us better meet the needs of those who do become sick. We thank you.

We also appreciate your understanding as we make changes to reduce spread — such as eliminating visitors and canceling or rescheduling non-urgent appointments and procedures — changes that we know create inconvenience, hardship and concern. Thank you for your understanding, flexibility and patience.

At Cooley Dickinson, and at every health care organization, we are always preparing for emergencies, and that preparation is serving us well right now. BUT this is different, and we are all feeling that. With our first presumptive positive tests for COVID-19, and the likelihood that more people will be infected in the days and weeks to come, I know there is incredible concern in the community. We are here for you. And we are adopting best practices, based on the most current information and resources from Massachusetts General Hospital and from across the Partners Healthcare system as well as the CDC and DPH.

We are also working closely with the other western Massachusetts hospitals and advocating through our local legislators, the Massachusetts Hospital Association, state agencies and directly to the federal government to do more. To get the supplies and equipment we need manufactured, to increase testing capacity, to stand up surge-capacity clinics and hospitals. We are so grateful for the support we are receiving, particularly from our local, municipal and state leaders.

At Cooley Dickinson, we have knowledgeable, experienced and wise clinical experts who are making sure we do all we can to provide high-quality, safe care and to reduce spread. In addition to doing all we can to meet the current needs, we are working just as hard on planning to “surge” as more people become ill, including developing approaches to increase our bed capacity, staffing, etc. As we do this, we follow all best practice procedures put forth by the CDC and others.

I am in awe and proud of our staff and providers who have stepped up in so many ways during these unprecedented times. I know how caring, committed and skilled our workforce is. To see them continue to care so well for patients and for each other is extremely gratifying. In addition to the clinical staff, I also want to recognize all the non-clinical and support staff who are also working so hard through this crisis. Their contributions are invaluable. We are doing everything we can to take care of all our staff.

If readers are looking for things they can do: expressions of support and appreciation from the community would mean so much to our staff during this time. If you would like to reach out to them, please use our social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) or email feedback@cooleydickinson.org, and we will make sure those messages are seen by our staff.

We also have established a webpage where we post all the latest information on COVID-19 (www.cooleydickinson.org/home/coronavirus-resources/). We update this site regularly and encourage you to visit it. If you have suggestions for the site, or questions, you can leave us feedback right there. We are a resource for you.

Lastly, even though it’s being said in so many places, I would like to reiterate the importance of following all the public health guidelines very strictly, including social distancing.  The entire nation — and Cooley Dickinson is no exception — does NOT have the capacity to meet the needs if the spread is as fast and as significant as in some other countries. We still have opportunities to impact that from our own actions. We need you to do your part. Thank you for helping us help you.

Joanne Marqusee is the president and chief executive officer of Cooley Dickinson Health Care.



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