Article updated on 3/18, 11:15 am
Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System, was a featured guest on CNBC’s ‘Squawk on the Street’ with Carl Quintanilla and Michael Santoli. She acknowledged that “this is an unprecedented time for health care systems in our country” and applauded the efforts of hundreds of physicians, nurses, researchers, public health experts, and administrators who are part of UCLA Health’s active response to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
Spisso said, “We activated our command center several weeks ago for the anticipated arrival of new patients. We have been focused on three key areas: making sure we have adequate staffing, adequate supplies and adequate space for a surge of new patients.”
Spisso went on to describe the specific actions executed by UCLA Health, one of the largest health systems in California, including working directly with medical equipment suppliers and developing testing kits with pathologists.
Spisso also said, “We have begun telemedicine visits at our 180 clinics throughout Los Angeles so that we can ideally see patients in the least intensive setting. We have also begun to cancel or reschedule elective surgeries, working with our physicians, our patients and their families to postpone any kind of surgery that could wait a couple of weeks.”
In response to a question about medical supplies, Spisso said, “We have been working with our supply chain to make sure we have adequate par levels to sustain the level of burn rate in using supplies.”
When Spisso later appeared on MSNBC, she noted that UCLA Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA were among the first non-government institutions in California equipped to perform in-house COVID-19 testing.
“We were fortunate at UCLA Health that we were able to begin our own COVID-19 testing, thanks to the incredible lab and pathology department that we have at UCLA Health," she said. "We initially were able to do 40 tests a day. We wanted to dramatically increase that number – by sometime next week we should be able to do 100 a day.”
Spisso also offered reassurance to viewers, “I’m confident in the amazing and remarkable efforts that our health care providers and their teams are making. I wish the viewers could see the work that is going on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thanks to our great research institutions like UCLA Health, we’re working hard to understand this better, and to figure out how we can come back from this.”
Spisso is one of many UCLA Health experts to weigh-in on COVID-19. For the latest UCLA Health COVID-19 information visit: uclahealth.org/coronavirus