CEO Update Video: How to Vaccinate the Most People Now
LVHN is doing everything possible to make more vaccine available to the people of our community. LVHN leaders are even working with elected officials to find solutions to our state’s vaccination challenges. Recently, LVHN provided evidence during a Pennsylvania Senate Committee hearing that shows health systems such as LVHN are the fastest and best way to vaccinate the most people while supplies are limited. LVHN President and CEO Brian A. Nester, DO, MBA, shares that evidence with you in his latest CEO Update Video. Watch the video or read the transcript below.
Vaccine supply continues to be low, and I know you are getting more frustrated every day. But know this: As your health partner, LVHN has your back. We are doing everything we can to make more vaccine available to you and people across Pennsylvania.
Last week, LVHN testified during a Pennsylvania Senate Committee hearing about the state’s vaccination plan. We provided evidence that shows the best way to quickly vaccinate the most people is to put vaccine in the hands of the organizations that have the experience, technology, resources and capacity to do it fast, now. Unquestionably, these organizations are Pennsylvania’s health care systems.
To help you understand, let me tell you how vaccine is currently distributed. Each week, the federal government sends vaccine supply to Pennsylvania. Then, Pennsylvania distributes vaccine to organizations providing the shots.
Early on, there were about 60 organizations providing shots in our state. That number has grown to nearly 800. That means health systems like LVHN – with the ability to vaccinate up to 30,000 people per week – are getting less vaccine because the supply is being divided into smaller and smaller portions and being shared with pharmacies and physician practices that cannot schedule and provide shots nearly as effectively as we can. When demand radically exceeds supply, the best approach is to tap on providers with big capacity.
Our message is clear. Today, while vaccine supplies are limited, distribution should be based on an organization’s ability to quickly and efficiently distribute vaccine to the largest number of people across the largest region. At LVHN, we’ve proven that we can do just that.
For 20-plus years, we have administered as many as 14,000 flu shots at our two-day drive-through clinics, with nearly 8,000 vaccinations delivered in a single day. Prior to our recent COVID-19 drive-through clinic at Dorney Park, we scheduled 1,000 appointments for people age 75-plus in just five hours via MyLVHN and our COVID hotline. And those who were vaccinated shared rave reviews about the organization of the event and the friendliness and professionalism of our staff. Thus far, we have provided more than 62,000 vaccinations at LVHN and have never wasted a dose because we didn’t have someone to give it to. We have either distributed or scheduled 100 percent of the vaccine doses LVHN has received.
Vaccinating every Pennsylvanian is a daunting challenge. However, it can be achieved if we set a goal to use each dose Pennsylvania receives as quickly as possible. Hospitals and health systems such as LVHN are the fastest and best way to vaccinate the most people, while supplies are limited. We are eager and ready to get to work for you right now. All we need is the vaccine to get started.
When vaccine supplies begin to meet or exceed demand, other smaller providers such as pharmacies, physician practices or even the National Guard will take on a critical role in reaching pockets of Pennsylvania communities that haven’t been able to access the vaccine.
We appreciate the opportunity from our elected officials to provide LVHN’s perspective. Pennsylvania is a large and diverse state, and what works in one county may not work in another. We will continue to talk with policy makers to find solutions that work best for our community, because that’s what you deserve from your health partner.
LVHN includes eight hospital campuses, three in Allentown, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville, Pa.; Coordinated Health, which includes two hospital campuses, nearly two dozen multispecialty locations including ambulatory surgery centers and orthopedic injury centers in northeastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey; 26 health centers; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices; 20 ExpressCARE locations including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE; pharmacy, imaging, home health, rehabilitation and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes: trauma care for adults and children, burn care at the Regional Burn Center; kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer, orthopedics, neurology, complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, and robotic surgery in 10 specialties. Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, Lehigh Valley Heart Institute and Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence physicians provide the most advanced treatments. Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute is a member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, an initiative that helps community providers improve the quality of cancer care and offers access to MSK clinical trials. Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, the community’s only children’s hospital, provides care in more than 30 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest is ranked as the region’s No.1 hospital for seven straight years and has been recognized among Pennsylvania’s top six hospitals for seven consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report. Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest, LVH–17th Street and LVH–Muhlenberg are the region’s only Magnet® hospitals for nursing excellence. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org or following us on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.