On a special edition of NBC's 'Meet the Press with Chuck Todd,' Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System, called this “an unprecedented time for health care systems in our country.” Spisso discussed COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) along with Dr. Peter Slavin, president of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Other guests on the program included NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.
When asked about specific efforts being done in the UCLA Hospital System, Spisso replied, “Our big focus has been how do we establish surge capacity, recognizing that most of our hospitals are full…our efforts have looked at really how we can create additional places to care for patients.”
UCLA Health is well prepared to care for patients who test positive for COVID-19. Our emergency departments and the Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) response team regularly train for the safe care of patients with similar diseases. The safety protocols practiced in those exercises are the same as those recommended by the CDC for care of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients.
“All of this is consistent with our mission of an academic health system to treat the most complex injury and illness that we see with our team of experts, to train that next generation of health care professionals on how face these outbreaks and to conduct the leading-edge research and discovery that will hopefully lead to more cures,” Spisso said.
She also talked about community preparedness and alternate access to care: “Throughout our 180 clinics around Los Angeles and Southern California, we are encouraging telemedicine so we can increase capacity there.”
Regarding COVID-19 testing, Spisso shared that “We were fortunate at UCLA Health that our virology lab was one of the first to start doing testing and save us time. We are hoping to continue to increase capacity and having that drive-thru area allows us to really contain patients from coming in to our main hospitals where our most sick patients are.“
Spisso is the latest of many UCLA Health experts to weigh-in on COVID-19. For the latest UCLA Health COVID-19 information visit: uclahealth.org/coronavirus