COVID-19 Message from Trinity Health Michigan CEO Rob Casalou

Friends and colleagues,

Thank you all for your response to this unrelenting virus.  Everyone in our health system – from frontline caregivers to colleagues working from home – are essential heroes in our efforts to save lives.

As we deal with a second “marathon” surge this year, you and your teams are doing what you can in the face of severe staffing shortages made worse by more than 546 colleagues statewide in quarantine. As new cases set records daily, more colleagues are being exposed to community spread, stretching our hospitals thin.

Michiganders everywhere need to buckle down and do their part to bend the curve, which is why we publicly support the new state restrictions that take effect Nov. 18. Regardless of our personal feelings about the new orders, this is a public health crisis. All of us need to do our part through masking, physical distancing and frequent hand washing to slow the spread and keep our essential health care workers healthy.

Our efforts include requiring 3,000-plus “distributed colleagues” to continue working from home through June 2021. And in accordance to the state’s new orders, anyone else working all or part of the time onsite, who are able to perform their duties from home, should talk to their leader about a smooth transition to distributed work, as early as tomorrow. Remote Work Agreements are available to support the transition, and colleagues should also update their status in Workday once they shift to remote work.

Not like the first time

As we deal with this surge, we need to put our creativity into action as we absorb the demands on our system. We must accept accountability to protect ourselves, our community and our patients. By working together, we can slow this down.

I’ve heard some compare this surge to the first one, fearing that we might be forced into another round of closures and furloughs. I want to reassure everyone that we are better positioned to avoid difficult transitions – but the rise in quarantined colleagues is our biggest threat right now. It takes all of us working together to slow the spread both within our workforce and in communities we live. Today’s challenges are different from those we faced early in the pandemic.

In April, the state shut down most services – including elective health care – for several weeks. Thanks to resilience and hard work, our services have come back strong. Our emergence, combined with rigorous expense management, helps ensure continued operations and staffing through this current surge.

+ We have configured facilities to segregate care, and set up processes to screen and protect staff and visitors.

+ We are generally better off with PPE and testing, with some spot shortages that are being addressed in high volume areas.

+ Overall, we now have effective treatments and the experience that comes from caring for thousands of patients. We have seen good trends in mortality and length of stay for COVID-19 patients, including less use of ventilators.

+ There is hope for an endpoint in sight. At least two companies are projected to have a COVID-19 vaccine ready before the end of the year or by early 2021.

As we deal with this surge, are putting our creativity into action as we absorb the demands on our system. We must accept accountability to protect ourselves, our community and our patients. By working together, we can slow this down.

In good health,

Rob Casalou
President and CEO
Trinity Health Michigan