In my 42 years at Virginia Mason, I never imagined the kind of challenges our health system would face in the COVID-19 pandemic. I also could have never understood the depth of gratitude I feel, working with such talented and caring teams who embrace their commitment to our patients and each other. Looking back at 2019 through this lens I see something more clearly than ever before: The very best practice of medicine requires both the head and the heart.
A patient battling cancer in this year’s Annual Report received the most advanced treatment available, but what she remembers about Virginia Mason is the “army of angels” that cared for her. Another patient, afraid for her recovery after shattering her elbow, felt a flood of relief when her surgeon hugged her and said, “I will take good care of you.”
This year we celebrate our centennial – 100 years of transformational work for the communities we serve. It has always been about our patients, and this year, it will be about new life as we open the Virginia Mason Birth Center.
Our capacity for innovation and multidisciplinary medicine is unmatched, and yet our teams provide so much more. Taking care of our patients is an opportunity to not only bring healing, but to stand with them and protect them in the face of life’s biggest health challenges. In 2019, physicians, leaders and health care professionals from every part of our system worked together to keep improving the health and well-being of those we serve. Some highlights include:
Safe and compassionate pain care. A collaboration that became the Pain Management Guiding Team broke down practice silos and produced a common language and approach around opioid management. More than 12 clinical areas shared not only expertise, but their patient care successes that deepened their commitment to this work.
Continued reduction of health-care associated infections (HAIs). The Virginia Mason Production System helped guide a broad organizational effort focused on eliminating HAIs, earning external best practice recognition for systematically identifying patients at risk and developing clinical algorithms to ensure rigorous patient assessments.
Welcoming care for our LGBTQ community. A commitment to providing affirming care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning people spawned system-wide changes, from policies and team training, to new care guidelines across medical specialties.
Designation as a Donor Care Network Center of Excellence. The Virginia Mason Transplant Center was first in the Pacific Northwest to earn this distinction from the National Kidney Registry, performing its 1,000th living donor kidney transplant in August, 2019.
For Virginia Mason, the arrival of 2020 marked a special time for our organization. This year we celebrate our centennial – 100 years of transformational work for the communities we serve. It has always been about our patients, and this year, it will be about new life as we open the Virginia Mason Birth Center. In collaboration with partner CHI Franciscan, we proudly opened Franciscan Women’s Health at Virginia Mason in January, and look ahead with great excitement to our new obstetrics unit and nursery.
If there’s one thing the current times have shown me, it’s that I have the opportunity to work with people who are in health care for all the right reasons. None of the recognition, innovation and exceptional care our organization is known for would be possible without the individuals and great teams across Virginia Mason. It is a privilege to serve with them. Our commitment to our patients, our teams and our community will never waver. Our hearts are with you every step of the way.
Gary S. Kaplan, MD Chairman and CEO Virginia Mason Health System