The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we all live and work. In the latter half of Johns Hopkins Community Physicians’ (JHCP) fiscal year 2020, COVID-19 shifted priorities for employees across the organization as they responded to the public health crisis. Some refocused their efforts to bolster administrative support for practices, some transformed workflows that would change the way care is delivered, while some donned personal protective equipment (PPE) on the frontlines and dedicated themselves to the health and safety of patients in a whole new way. No matter the role, each member of the JHCP team rose to the occasion with unyielding determination, selfless service and unwavering strength.
Johns Hopkins Community Physicians is a team of health care heroes.
Below is a small collection of COVID-19-related efforts from fiscal year 2020.
The Incident Command Team
Led by vice president of practice operations and chief operating officer, Melissa Helicke, and vice president of medical affairs, Ray Zollinger, the JHCP Incident Command Team (ICT) was established on March 10, 2020, to provide a coordinated and efficient approach to leadership, communication and decision-making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The centralized, multidisciplinary team ensured harmonization with Johns Hopkins Medicine efforts, and supported JHCP practices, providers and staff. Representatives from central operations, education and training, human resources, information systems, marketing and communications, patient safety and regulatory compliance made up the team. Many of JHCP’s COVID-19-related achievements found their roots in the ICT, including but not limited to:
- Development and implementation of ambulatory entrance screening processes
- Safely reopening practices in accordance with COVID-19 Safety Auditor implementation
- Bilateral communications strategies (weekly director meetings, weekly practice leadership meetings, an internal ICT dial-in help line and an internal email help line) and daily COVID-19 update newsletter
- The pivot to telemedicine
- Supported a phone line for the Baltimore community to call for advice and care related to COVID-19 (340 calls taken and patients supported)
Before beginning to safely increase in-person appointments at our practices at the end of fiscal year 2020, the COVID-19 Safety Auditor (CSA) role was created. Each location required a CSA, who would receive training and actively monitor PPE usage, hand hygiene, physical distancing and enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection at least four times per shift. The CSA documents and submits a report of their findings, following a detailed checklist. Patient safety program administrator Amanda Cullison analyzed reports and followed-up with any concerns. By the end of FY20, more than 180 JHCP employees were trained as CSAs to ensure the safety of our patients and our teams.
JHCP Go Team
A dedicated group of JHCP clinical staff, led by director of operations and nurse practitioner Kimberly Zeren, brought the JHCP mission “bring Johns Hopkins Medicine to our communities” to life. In May 2020, the “Go-Team” collected specimens for COVID-19 testing from 335 collective patients at three long-term care facilities. Later, team members would also be deployed to serve the Latinx community in Howard County. We commend this team for supporting our communities and for supporting the reduction of COVID-19 testing barriers when it was needed most.
Supporting the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital
Both the JHCP human resources and credentialing teams played pivotal roles in the development of the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital, by managing the hiring and credentialing processes for all hospitalist providers. In a matter of mere weeks, the human resources team recruited and hired 100 providers and the credentialing team put into practice an Emergency Disaster Privileging Plan to credential 166 medical staff and providers.
Supply Chain and Personal Protective Equipment
Led by Nicole Weyant, project administrator for central operations, efforts to streamline supply chain activities included, but were not limited to:
- Developed a centralized JHCP supply chain for COVID-19 supplies to ensure conservation and adequate supply at each JHCP location
- Deployed personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to each JHCP employee
- Deployed plexiglass barriers to each location, as requested
- By the numbers:
- 967 PPE kits distributed
- 1100 N95 masks ordered
- 185 plexiglass barriers ordered and deployed
JHCP Information Systems deployed:
- 200 laptops
- 450 webcams
- 575 headsets
To support the safety of our patients and teams, by the end of fiscal year 2020 the majority of patient encounters were completed through video and phone visits. In fact, the pivot to telemedicine happened nearly overnight. This endeavor, lead by the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Telemedicine, was a team effort from the start. Nearly all administrative departments had a hand in supporting the effort, and staff and providers at all JHCP locations worked tirelessly to convert appointments from in-person to telemedicine visits and to learn new workflows and technologies to make the process as smooth and convenient for patients as possible.