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Tampa Bay hospitals drop competition, share information about coronavirus

With coronavirus news moving fast, hospitals communicate to make sure they can better serve the Tampa Bay area
PASCO- NEW PORT RICHEY,FL.-   Hospitals in Pasco county have busier as population continues to boom like the Emergency Room at Mortan Plant North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey. (staff/scott iskowitz)
PASCO- NEW PORT RICHEY,FL.- Hospitals in Pasco county have busier as population continues to boom like the Emergency Room at Mortan Plant North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey. (staff/scott iskowitz) [ Times (2006) ]
Published Apr. 2, 2020

News about coronavirus -- best practices, who has it, what areas are affected, the medical guidelines and more -- changes daily, if not more frequently.

To work cohesively during the coronavirus pandemic, area hospital networks are forgoing competition and sharing as much information as they can.

“Making sure that we’re ready to care for this community is not each individual healthcare system’s job, it is all of our jobs,” said Richelle Hoenes, the director of corporate communications for AdventHealth West Florida Division.

The Chief Executive Officers and Chief Medical Officers of the major area hospital networks call each other once or twice a week, said Larry Feinman, the Chief Medical Officer of HCA West Florida.

Within the HCA hospital network, they have near-daily calls. Feinman said each day the hospitals within the network talk about their supply of personal protective equipment, which has been difficult for hospitals nationwide because of massive demand.

Tampa General Hospital spokesman Curtis Krueger said their hospital has been floating mass purchases of equipment with other local hospitals and sharing reliable sources.

“The CEOs of Tampa General Hospital and several other area hospitals have been putting competition aside and staying in close contact to make sure our region is doing everything possible to meet this public health challenge,” he wrote in an email.

But for the hospitals, information is what’s most often transferred. Hoenes said they share trends about what’s happening in their individual networks to know what to be ready for. Along with just the hospitals communicating, she said, most are also in close contact with the Department of Health and county agencies.

The communication plan for AdventHealth was elevated from a baseline emergency plan, Hoenes said.

“This is like a hurricane with no landfall date,” she said. “Our incident commands have been activated for the better part of a month.”

She said she hopes people in the community are comforted knowing that area hospitals are working together to make sure they can tackle coronavirus and keep patients safe.

“These large healthcare systems that are providing care are truly banding together to give the best care,” she said.

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