A long-standing collaboration between two local health partners has helped ensure that the community’s physical and well-being needs are met, even when new medical concerns come to light.
Agnesian HealthCare, a member of SSM Health, and the Fond du Lac County Health Department have worked together to help individuals and families navigate a variety of health issues, including measles, mumps, rabies, and measles. flu, H1N1 and more, to also provide the necessary medical care. as education.
The importance of this partnership has been amplified through the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in Fond du Lac county long before other areas of the state. And, from day one to the present, Agnesian HealthCare and the Fond du Lac County Department of Health have worked hand in hand to be present and flexible to deal with the ever-changing virus.
On Thursday, as part of Health Care Week, Agnesian HealthCare and SSM Health recognized Kim Mueller, Fond du Lac County Health Officer, and the Fond du Lac County Health Department, with the “Health Care Hero Award.” of the community.
“This honor, which is rightly so, represents the only Health Care Hero Award given to a community partner from across the SSM Health Wisconsin region,” said St. Mary’s Hospital president. Agnes, Katherine Vergos. “We’ve always been proud of the strong partnership we have with all of our health department partners, but that really solidifies how much our collaboration pays off in the long run.”
SSM Health celebrated its caregivers during Health Week, May 9-15.
The Health Care Hero Awards were given to team members in recognition of the heroic work they do each day.
In celebration of the many heroes, the Health Care Hero Awards are designed to recognize those employees, providers and community partners who have exemplified the values of SSM Health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with deeply compassionate service, extraordinary innovation. and brave leadership.
“I am grateful for the relationship Kim and Katherine maintain and the leadership they have shown for our community,” said Allen Buechel, county executive director of Fond du Lac. “This has been a challenging year in which they have successfully sailed to help the community.”
According to Agnesian, the Fond du Lac County Health Department, with Kim Mueller in charge of health, has been sensitive since the first day of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now that we’re over 365 days, they’re just as sensitive and great community collaborators to work with,” Vergos said. “We are fortunate to have such a strong and two-way partnership with our health department. Team members have shown great flexibility and accountability to their community and have been present in our boardroom the night the pandemic began. “
The collaboration began the day the first COVID-19 patient arrived at the emergency department of Santa Inés Hospital.
“Kim Mueller was physically present to see and assess the situation,” said Renee Weier, director of the emergency department at St. John’s Hospital. Agnes. “The health department team was on site that night long after hours, as patient follow-up and contact follow-up began. This team was also present at the command center meetings. ‘hospital incidents to ensure messages and support to the community were unified and fast.’
These parallel efforts to provide resources for testing, precautions, education, and now COVID-19 vaccines have led to successful initiatives.
“Kim and her team soon realized that we needed to get ahead of this and provide support so that the hospital could maintain safe capacity levels,” Weier said. “Kim helped the community understand the reasons for the closures and closures to ‘curb the curve.’ We shared data and made live broadcasts to inform the public of events and numbers in real time.”
If that wasn’t enough, the Fond du Lac County Department of Health also advanced with a $ 50,000 donation to the Agnesian HealthCare Foundation to help offset the costs of five employee self-detection kiosks to ensure safety. of employees and all those who enter our facilities. These kiosks were replicated for use at SSM Health facilities in Madison and Janesville.
“Now our combined efforts are focused on vaccinating the community, and another collaboration is studying how to effectively reach underserved populations,” Vergos said. “The health department uses its extensive resources, including interpreter services and other community contacts, to ensure that anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine can get a COVID-19 vaccine.”
These efforts have included vaccination in lower-income housing complexes and other people at home. Early collaborations have helped establish larger and more effective community vaccination clinics, including more than 1,000 people in one session.
“We are truly honored to be recognized during Health Care Week by our local health care providers,” Mueller said. “Public health is based on the health partnership and we deeply value our relationship with SSM Health. We look forward to leveraging our existing partnership to benefit the health of the community.”
“Kim Mueller and the team are true heroes who deserve some recognition for the tireless effort and care they continue to give to this community,” Vergos said.