Jeff Desmond, M.D., chief medical officer: ‘Employee safety remains our top priority’

April 3, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership

Jeff Desmond, M.D., Michigan Medicine’s chief medical officer, recently shared a video message with the community to talk about top steps the institution is taking to protect its health care workers and staff.

The video can be seen above.

Here are three steps the organization is carrying out: 

Proper use of PPE

“Employee safety remains our top priority,” Desmond said. “We have tremendous respect and appreciation for all of our front-line staff who are caring for patients during this pandemic. We are committed to taking care of the people who are on the frontlines every day providing patient care.”

Desmond emphasized that Michigan Medicine currently has adequate personal protective equipment in all of its locations. That said, “we are also taking steps to appropriately conserve PPE so that it will last through this pandemic.”

Everyone wears masks

Michigan Medicine was one of the first health systems in the country to adopt the policy of requiring all employees to wear masks. This started on March 23.

“This was done to prevent potential spread throughout the organization and was focused on keeping our employees safe,” Desmond said. He noted that recent data from the Centers for Disease Control now supports that as many as 25 percent of COVID-positive people are asymptomatic.

He asks people to continue following social distancing guidelines, wash hands properly, cover coughs and clean surfaces to avoid transmission.

Obtaining additional PPE

While Michigan Medicine currently has adequate PPE, the organization’s supply chain team is taking steps to contact medical supply companies around the world, auto companies and others who are manufacturing masks, face shields and other medical equipment.

“As we anticipate a continued surge of patients, we are working around the clock to obtain additional supplies,” Desmond said.

Just in the last week, the team collected more than 5,000 face shields manufactured from auto companies.

“We are grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support for our health care workers,” he said. “In these challenging times, which can create stress and anxiety for all of our employees, it is heartwarming and deeply appreciated that people are reaching out to our staff with so much love and support. Thank you to those who have donated food, supplies and just words of encouragement. We know you are with us and that makes a world of difference.”