In this episode of Fireside Chat, we sit down with Dr. Stephen Jones, President and CEO, Inova Health System to talk about the COVID-19 crisis, communicating with caregivers and the board of directors, financial concerns for health systems and what the new normal looks like in the days ahead.
Please note: The number of COVID-19 cases and the situation referenced in this episode were based on reported data at the time of the interview and are subject to change.
Stephen Jones 0:03
I see fear, totally understandable fear. But I see courage and it’s getting through that courage. I draw a distinction between bravery and courage. Bravery, is not being afraid. Courage is acting in dangerous circumstances despite being afraid.
Gary Bisbee 0:19
That was Dr. Stephen Jones, President and CEO of Inova Health System, referring to the courage of the Inova caregivers in the face of the obvious risk of personal exposure to COVID-19. I’m Gary Bisbee and this is Fireside Chat. Dr. Jones is a surgeon by training and he regularly joins the Inova team in the ER and on the COVID floors to show his support for the Inova caregivers. Inova is a highly successful health system with each of his hospitals receiving a CMS five star rating. Dr. Jones spoke about the exponential increase in Inova’s tele-visits and how they are typically more convenient for patients and more efficient for physicians. He believes that it’s important to sustain and build on the current volume of tele-visits. Dr. Jones discussed the financial impact to Inova of the COVID crisis. As the title of this episode captures, he believes that it’s the most significant financial challenge that Inova will ever face. I’m delighted to welcome Dr. Stephen Jones to the microphone.
Well, good afternoon and welcome, Stephen.
Stephen Jones 1:26
Good afternoon, Gary.
Gary Bisbee 1:28
We’re pleased to have you at the microphone. Why don’t we jump right in because of COVID-19. We’re all facing consequences of that, of course. And we’ve learned that the surge is highly variable by region, where is the surge in the Inova service area Steven?
Stephen Jones 1:44
We’re in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. So we’re a semi hotspot more in the city than in some of the more suburban areas that we serve. So we were definitely the most active part of Virginia. We’ve got probably 260-270 patients in-house right now with COVID. And the only good thing coming out of it is that our teams have just shown a remarkable capacity to understand the nuance of the disease and manage it really incredibly well.
Gary Bisbee 2:11
Well done for them. I think we all have to say our prayer for all of our caregivers. What do the models show is when will the peak be reached in Northern Virginia?
Stephen Jones 2:20
I will acknowledge that I’ve been a disbeliever in the model since they first started coming out. I think we have to recognize these models…first, they don’t agree with each other. Second, none of them is based on data more than four months old, and none of them really has any ability to understand the ramifications of social distancing or access to healthcare. I’ve kind of looked at the potential in some areas of new social determinants of health is whether your healthcare system is overwhelmed or not. So I think the models right now, of course, we look at them and they say they’re going to be sometime this month or early May, but realistically, I don’t think we’ve really got a good idea. The way we’ve approached it is we plan on being ready for whenever it comes. Help. It doesn’t come as severely, as some of our colleagues have seen.
Gary Bisbee 3:02
I’m a chronic disease epidemiologist by training. And I couldn’t agree with you more on the models, by the way, so well done. But what’s your personal policy? Are you working from home or from the office, Stephen?
Stephen Jones 3:14
I am not working from home. Although I did start a little bit trying to if there was just purely administrative work that I would occasionally go home and do it. I don’t feel as efficient at home, I’ll acknowledge. But the other part and in fact, my senior team gave me a little hard time two or three weeks ago because I was still going into the offices and at a minimum I listen to them, spoke with some of my board members, spoke with my wife- most important advisor, and it just became clear to me that if I was telling those warriors who are taking care of the patients heroically if I told them, “We’ve done everything to assure that that’s a safe place for you to be.” How can I possibly say I didn’t think that it was safe for me. I’m an obsessive hand-washer by nature anyway. And so I’ve done everything to protect myself. But yes, I’m in the hospitals frequently and I do go into the emergency department every time I’m there, and usually go through any unit that is taking care of COVID patients. I recognize some people may feel that reckless behavior, it’s quite the contrary. It’s just I have to look those folks in the eye and say we’re doing everything for you. And I honestly believe that when we do that, we are largely preventing transmission. Several of our nurses have mentioned, they feel safer in the workplace than they do out, for example, getting groceries. So I think it’s important for a leader to look their folks in the eye.
Gary Bisbee 4:24
Well, good for you, and well done. You know you used the term warriors in interviewing many of your colleagues. Amongst CEOs, it is quite common that they’ll use the term “battle” to describe how you’re needing to deal with COVID-19. Sounds like you may have that same thought.
Stephen Jones 4:43
It really is. It’s some of our colleagues, including in New York have said this is war with our leadership group this afternoon, we had every single leader on a zoom call and I just said we are at war and we’re gonna win this war. But it’ll only be because you leaders, get out there and get your folks to be safe, but also to do all the work it requires for us to deal not only with the medical situation, but you’re well aware that this is the most significant financial challenge that our industry will ever face.
Gary Bisbee 5:11
Let’s turn to Inova for a second. We’re all familiar generally with the Inova health system, but it’s always informational to hear the CEO discuss his or her health system. Could you please describe Inova for us Stephen?
Stephen Jones 5:23
We have the privilege to serve well over 2 million patients here in the Washington DC area. One of the things that we take a lot of pride in is we’re the only large health system to ever have CMS recognize every single hospital as a five-star hospital, and that’s been a multi-year journey. It started well before I was here, people focusing on safety and quality. We’ve got five hospitals, we’re the largest private employer in Washington, DC.
Gary Bisbee 5:46
You’ve been there for nearly two years – came from the Cleveland Clinic where you were the president. What’s been the biggest adjustment for you over these nearly two years?
Stephen Jones 5:56
Well, unfortunately, I did celebrate my two year anniversary and it was not a very happy day with all we’re dealing with. So I’m hoping that maybe at some point, we’ll be able to have a happy two year anniversary, we’ve mainly been dealing with a crisis. And I would say that the reason that I came to Inova, in fact, that I would date it back to a conversation my wife and I had as I was being interviewed for it, and she said, “We’ve known that we’ve been at a place where you can have the best health care available. And that’s been reassuring to us. I’m not going anywhere, unless I’m sure of that.” And the key piece of it was identifying that the clinical care here I would put up with anywhere that I’ve ever been, including Cleveland or Vanderbilt. The clinical cares is top-notch. So the adjustment has really been a matter of course, it’s a different system. You know, the buck definitely stops with the CEO and that’s a new experience. But what it means is that you do get to set the vision and you both get a little credit if it goes well and you sure get the blame when things don’t.
Gary Bisbee 6:47
That’s for sure. It’s been going well under your leadership. Communication is all-important. And I know you believe that how are you communicating with the community, the Inova community?
Stephen Jones 6:58
it’s been a little challenge of course, because there’s so much miscommunication. So we tried to focus on our website and drive everything there. For one thing, especially in the early days of this, recommendations changed daily and sometimes hourly. And so we just tried to say don’t trust the written paper because it’s, by the time it’s printed, it’s probably wrong. So we drive people to the website. I’ve done a video that I’ve released to the public. In fact my wife had it show up on her my chart last week, talking about COVID and especially pointing back to the website.
Gary Bisbee 7:27
Stephen, I have to break in what did your wife think of your video?
Stephen Jones 7:33
Well, the interesting part is because she’s my best coach. She had seen a version of it come out previously, when night I checked the link and so she had already hopped on it, so she was supportive. So we’ve had email list of everything we can do against my chart messages. And then the county supervisor we work closely with our county government here, and they basically take content that we deliver to them to make sure that we get accurate information to the entire community.
Gary Bisbee 8:00
How about the caregivers? How are you communicating with them?
Stephen Jones 8:03
That’s the one that I regard right now is most important. Hopefully, every leader recognizes we work for them, they don’t work for us. So I record a weekly video just recorded one today, we have a twice-daily huddle sheet that again, we make sure you don’t print one, because it’s going to be different tomorrow. That goes to all of our team members. And we’ve started doing videos from both the Chief of our clinical enterprise position and our Chief Nurse executive as well. And those have been very well received. They’re just little brief snippets. We’ve had virtual town halls with all of our hospitals and sites, and I’ve participated in those as well as the local site leaders. And as I mentioned, you know, I do spend time in all of our sites.
Gary Bisbee 8:42
What’s the availability of testing supplies and processing and Inova service areas. We’ve certainly had a rocky go at that around the country.
Stephen Jones 8:51
Unfortunately, it’s been as bad here as anywhere else. The headlines are all true on how limited testing availability is. We did get set up to start well over a month ago, whether it be swabs, re-agents, all the different components. It seems like we’re always close to danger point with any of them. We, fortunately, haven’t run out of anything. But it’s kind of a daily deal to make sure we stay in front of it.
Gary Bisbee 9:11
Any thoughts about a state-level or national level testing policy to get the whole country back to work?
Stephen Jones 9:18
I think it’s a little early now to know what the ramifications of testing whether it be COVID testing or of course to serology to prove that you’re not communicable. I think right now, we probably don’t fully understand what that would be required to put that in place.
Gary Bisbee 9:31
Right. Let’s go back to supply chain how has it been holding up particularly in terms of PPE for Inova?
Stephen Jones 9:38
We fortunately got in front of it and been able to stay pretty far in front of it. So we’ve had no significant strains in the supply chain. But we started planning for COVID in January, and it still wasn’t even named COVID yet. And at the time I remember kind of teasing…gosh…I hope that we get at some point to be embarrassed about how much we over-prepared for this and obviously no one could have been over-prepared for it. But for example, we stocked up on mask and other things like that there’s kind of this constant rumor because of the headlines and news that “oh my gosh, we’re going to run out a PPE,” and I made clear to our team members that we’ve got adequate PPE. We don’t have enough to waste it. But we’ve got adequate PPE, but we certainly spend plenty of our time including my personal time, assuring it. Meds are probably our biggest concern right now, especially if we start getting into where we can open up surgery again because the same medications used in surgery as a lot of overlap with meds that are needed for intubation and taking care of these type patients.
Gary Bisbee 10:30
What about ICU beds and ventilators?
Stephen Jones 10:33
We like many people have plenty of what we tend to call it Inova we have plenty of flat spaces. So we’ve got plenty of beds, we probably still have 70% occupancy, and it certainly was below that at one point. And again, probably 25% of occupancy, at least are COVID patients right now. So we have plenty of space, plenty of ventilators. We probably overstocked in ventilators and same thing I remember thinking of I would love to have to explain to the board, why I bought all those ventilators that we didn’t need to use. So we’re in good shape with those. Same thing we would like to know that we had access to more if we needed them, but right now we’ve got dozens upon dozens of ventilators available if we had to have them.
Gary Bisbee 11:09
Excellent. Well, let’s go back to caregivers for a moment. Have you needed to redeploy any of your caregivers?
Stephen Jones 11:16
Yeah, it’s really been pretty inspirational to see that. We take, for example, physical therapy, you know, they closed down pretty early. And I see physical therapists in the ICU. One is helping position and turn patients, especially for prone ventilation. But I see physical therapists working as greeters and really doing anything that we asked of them. And it’s been inspirational to see how people truly have come together. They want to work, they want to contribute. And we’ve got people cross-training and I had an especially good story: There was a young nurse who I saw in one of the intensive care units and she looked worried and so just asked: “what’s on your mind?” And it became clear what she was worried about was not her own safety. It was a matter of that she hadn’t worked a ventilator in about three years, and she was concerned to know that she could be her best for her patients. And that, you know, you see that every day that happened to be one that particularly caught my attention that that was the only thing she cared about being her best.
Gary Bisbee 12:09
That’s just a great story. What about the caregivers in terms of the stress they’re under? I think all of your CEO peers are reporting that that’s a top priority for them.
Stephen Jones 12:20
Yeah, it’s really stressful and fear. And I’ve chosen to take that on. In fact, the video I’ve just filmed earlier for our team members that will go out tomorrow I said, you know, as I go around, I see this I see that. I see fear, totally understandable fear. But I see courage and it’s getting through that courage. I draw a distinction between bravery and courage. Bravery is not being afraid. Courage is acting in dangerous circumstances, despite being afraid and so we know that our teams are afraid. We just face it on and say we’re going to be here with you. And I think as soon as we call it out, in some ways, it’s okay to be afraid. But guess what, we’re the ones that we’re here to take care of the patients. No one else can do this. But us.
Gary Bisbee 13:03
That’s a terrific distinction for sure. Between bravery and courage. Well, what about telemedicine? Has that increase over the life of the COVID crisis?
Stephen Jones 13:12
It’s been incredible we’re doing around 100 to 150 visits a day before this started in early March. And now we’re doing I think it’s approaching 3000 visits a day, which is still not as many visits as we would have been having otherwise. But it’s been a significant explosion. And my hope is that we never go back. I’ve always wondered for a long time, why do people need to get in the car, take off work, and drive-in? Maybe somebody’s got to drive them. When we can do a video visit? So I think this… is if there’s anything good to come out. I sure hope we don’t take any steps back on that.
Gary Bisbee 13:42
That’s a universal feeling. What about elective non-emergent surgeries? Are you thinking about reinstituting emergent surgeries here at some point?
Stephen Jones 13:51
I haven’t thought about that in the last four or five minutes probably. I think it’s really important that is truly financially killing the health system and frankly, it’s taking surgeons and nurses and anesthesiologists who want to be practicing their craft. And it’s very harmful to not be able to do what you do best. And so as soon as we get in a position that we feel that we have adequate supplies for not only PPE with medications, we have intense interest in restarting that. But we’ve got to know that we’ve got it that we can do so safely,
Gary Bisbee 14:20
Will the patients feel comfortable coming back into the ambulatory surgery center, or the hospital?
Stephen Jones 14:27
I think that our industry is forever changed. I pretty early on said to our entire leadership group that we will never go back to March, early March to 2020. And so I think not only patients will be nervous about coming in for a very long time. But you know, let’s face it from the financial challenges, the payer mix will be different, you know, many of our patients who were employed non-commercial insurance when we saw them with their, whatever condition a month ago when they come back and all likelihood they will be on Medicaid or won’t have insurance at all. And obviously, we will still take care of them, but I think it’s going to change the payer mix for a very long time. And there’ll be people… unfortunately, one of our concerns, Gary, is that we’re seeing people not come in for needed medical care. And I’ve seen people with chest pain setting at home and afraid to go on and go COVID. And we’re trying to help people understand you need to be afraid of chest pain, or you need to be afraid of stroke symptoms come in. And again, we make our hospital safe and this impression at the hospital is a dangerous place to be. I think we have to be cautious with that because it’s not a dangerous place to be. That’s the place that knows better than anywhere how to prevent infection.
Gary Bisbee 15:32
That’s well said for sure. Well, let’s turn to the economics, which I’m sure is not going to be a happy story. But how will the COVID-19 outbreak affect the Inova’s finances this year in 2020?
Stephen Jones 15:43
It was immediate and drastic. Our CFO Alice Pope came into my office at some point, probably literally early March and said February was a good month guarantee we make budget this year and she’s now on a daily basis regretted having said that because it was severe and immediate. We’re off about 40% on revenues right now, which obviously is unsustainable for anybody. Inova was very strong system coming into this. No organization can sustain that without some pretty dramatic action.
Gary Bisbee 16:11
And the CARES dollars the care grant dollars, I’m sure helpful, perhaps in terms of cash flow, but they’re going to come nowhere near making up for the shortfall correct?
Stephen Jones 16:20
It’s just a drop in the bucket. And unfortunately, even our projections of what we kind of hoped we would see in the first tranche, we got about two-thirds of what we were wishfully thinking. It looks like they’re looking on some more funding, but it’s truly drop in the bucket compared to the change in our revenues. I will tell you, we spent in the early weeks $32 million, purely to protect our team members. So you know, PPE, transitioning regular rooms to negative pressure rooms, creating separate entrances for patients with respiratory symptoms versus others. $32 million right out of the gate that was not too much less than our first tranche from the CARES act.
Gary Bisbee 16:57
How do the financials look for 2021? You implied earlier that the economic consequences will be with us for a long time.
Stephen Jones 17:05
I think so, you know, I think optimistic projections would say that we’re that we might get back close to baseline at some point in 2021. But right now, I think that those, if you look at the models we built internally on finance, they’re pretty all over the map based on some assumptions, including, when we’re able to get back to doing elective work. 60% of our work was elected before this all started, and now it’s probably 10%. In fact, it’s, I guess, technically not none of it is elected if we look at it that way.
Gary Bisbee 17:31
That’s probably right. Well, let’s turn to governance if we could, how often are you communicating with the Inovas board of directors?
Stephen Jones 17:38
Well, the board chair- we talk every few days, and there are days where we, of course, talk several times, including over the weekend, here as we’re looking at some changes in our organization. We’ve held a board update, we don’t call it a technical meeting. We don’t have any approvals in it. We have a board update, it’s probably averaged every eight or 10 days. We’ve got a board man, I gotta tell you the best board in the world. Truly professional. Truly committed, they believe in our mission. But they’re also a very astute group of businesspeople primarily. So they do look carefully at not only the finances but ensuring that we uphold our mission. And they do a great job of balancing that. So what it means though, is that they are very interested, they never crossed the line and go into management. They understand the role in governance and management. But they are a very involved board, and I make sure that they are aware of what’s going on in the organization.
Gary Bisbee 18:28
Yeah, that’s definitely the right way. Have you had a virtual board meeting yet?
Stephen Jones 18:32
We had all of them since, in fact, we had our first quarter board meeting, the official board meeting was in late March, probably 20 to 25th. And we converted it to a zoom meeting right out of the gate and the management team got in the huge boardroom and was able to socially distance because of the much lower number of people in the room. But at this point, we’ve gone to it’s just become the way we do things.
Gary Bisbee 18:55
Now I’m asking everyone this one so any tips for a smooth virtual board meeting?
Stephen Jones 19:00
Well muting all the phones to start centrally helps because although you ask people to mute, they don’t all do it and they forget that they’ve hit the button. So I think that’s the key thing. And then the way I’ve approached it is, I’ll present a group of information. And then I will stop and just say any questions, any comments or board chairs, good, really terrific at managing a board meeting as well. So mainly, it’s getting a presentation, and then talking questions. Presentation, then talking questions, probably the most, the best tip I’ve got for it, and having a great board doesn’t hurt.
Gary Bisbee 19:29
No, that’s helpful. Well, here’s a question and several of the board members that I’ve spoken with have asked this question to me. So when they are looking for a new CEO, when they’re recruiting, what characteristics should they look for in a candidate that would provide them confidence that the candidate could perform well in a crisis?
Stephen Jones 19:50
Well, when I was interviewed that I specifically just mentioned, I think if there’s a global pandemic with a financial breakdown, I think I would be the right guy. But no, seriously, you know, I think that the leadership capabilities in times of calm are not that significantly different from in times of crisis, I think they just get drawn out more. And so you got to look for a leader that has the right values, the leader that’s courageous and able to make a decision and stick to it, a leader that prioritizes the other people over him or herself. I think those are the key things that I would think really come out in a crisis. If you don’t have that. Then the leader creates fear and uncertainty as opposed to calm and confidence, which is what people really need to see in those moments.
Gary Bisbee 20:34
Let’s turn to there are some generic issues being discussed. Many of your colleagues are saying the US should not be wholly dependent on global supply chain for life-saving technologies or supplies. How do you think about that, Stephen?
Stephen Jones 20:48
I think it’s the reality and I think that we all probably knew it in the back of our minds, but let’s face it, the world economic order kind of developed it did for lots of reasons. It worked right up until something like this happened. So I don’t know that we can ever go back to where we’re totally dependent on localized areas for critical things like medications or PPE or ventilators. I don’t think you have to necessarily have everything homegrown. But at a minimum you got to have some diversity in it because my understanding of the reports is tons of the things that we need right now are produced primarily in the Wuhan province in China. So obviously, if they’re having that issue, they’re not able to supply the rest of the world. So I think diversity is going to be the key piece that comes out of this and, and frankly, it goes a little bit to have those relationships in place really early on and strong systems that do it. So the reason we’ve been able to stay in front of PPE and have adequate ventilators is that we had the relationships with our vendors to were we when we saw we needed to stock up we did it early did it hard and so far, it’s worked out great for us.
Gary Bisbee 21:54
Well, another topic is the waivers that CMS in the states are granted relative to telemedicine. You made reference to that earlier, let’s not put the genie back in the bottle. What can health systems do to encourage CMS to sustain the changes,
Stephen Jones 22:09
because of our location, I probably take a more active role in that then than most of my colleagues or counterparts. I’ve spent a significant amount of my time here in Washington DC trying to get in the ears of the people who are able to influence it, whether it be on waivers, whether it be on the financial challenges of healthcare. It’s almost every day, in fact, often several times a day that I take that on because I think that the voice of healthcare leaders has never been more important or more respected. And, you know, the fact that you’ve got people lined up clapping, applauding the warriors at the front lines, By the same token, I think that the politicians and folks and agencies that make these decisions, now recognize, we really need strong healthcare and strong healthcare leadership. So I think for any of us, that have the opportunity, and in our own geographies. We all have an opportunity, we have to make sure that they understand the realities of what healthcare is right now and how we can assure the people have health care after this is all starting moving forward.
Gary Bisbee 23:13
Oh, here on that. Another topic being discussed involves health insurance. And the expense of the whole response to COVID-19 has fallen largely on the health systems at this point, and there’s some discussion that health insurance should somehow participate in that. Any thoughts about that?
Stephen Jones 23:35
I think that’s really complex. And certainly, there are some insurers that right now are probably rolling in cash because they’re not having to pay for shipping the operations and heart surgery. But by the same token, you know, they’ve got their own challenges in their industry as much as I hate to necessarily be sounding like I’m the guy supporting them, the insurers but I think it is true. One is they’ve got to figure out how they are in a cash position. If we see a ramp-up for whatever may happen, they have to ensure that they’ve got coverage at the COVID patients, of course, that is in their product. But then again, those are complex industries. Very few of them are just truly just insurers. And so you look at what’s happening in other parts of their business. I suspect every single one of those is dealing with its own set of rules and own set of challenges. And I will acknowledge I don’t think that I probably understand there’s enough to know what I think I should tell them they should do or certainly what any policy changes should be in their regard.
Gary Bisbee 24:30
Mark McClellan made the point at this microphone a couple of weeks ago that there’ll be a new normal in healthcare delivery coming out of the crisis. Do you agree and if so, what changes do you think will be made over the next several years?
Stephen Jones 24:44
Yeah, we talked about some of them here. I think that people are going to rethink, certainly in-person care. I think that people will continue to be afraid of healthcare, certain people be afraid of healthcare for probably a pretty long period of time. I think there’s a real chance that this may drive us a little bit more towards, quote, value-based care in ways that everybody’s talked about. But we haven’t really moved that far. I think this could be a change. What I hope doesn’t happen is that anyone falls in the trap. And this will be politically toxic, probably Gary, but falling in the political trap of thinking that Washington can solve problems for healthcare. When I look at how this crisis has been handled here, I think the healthcare leaders have done a phenomenal job and all the people that I talked to across the country in figuring out a crisis for which there’s no history to base it on thinking that government can come in and fix this complex system right now. I feel even less confident in that I did previously and I didn’t feel very confident at it previously.
Gary Bisbee 25:43
Right. Do you think that there’ll be more mergers and acquisitions among our health systems going forward?
Stephen Jones 25:49
I’ve never been quite as convinced on a scale as others are. I think you have to have a minimum scale. You know, we’re a $4 billion organization. I can tell you we’re not that in revenues for 2020, for sure. So you have to have a certain scale. A standalone hospital, I think is a very difficult proposition to maintain unless you’ve got something unique about your market. So I think you had to be certain big but the idea that getting bigger than what we are, that there’s nothing obvious there that tells me that it would make us better. We got every hospital at the five star CMS hospital. And it’s because we can truly focus on as much as I can get my hands around, there are others that may be able to get their hands around a markedly bigger system, but it’s not been an aspiration of Inova to necessarily grow for growth’s sake. We’ll grow because it makes us better, grow because it brings new capabilities, but we don’t, by itself, see that scale is the panacea that I think that some others have embraced it as.
Gary Bisbee 26:44
Okay, so just given your instincts and your feel for this, what thoughts do you have about currently reopening and getting the people out in the streets and working again, any thoughts about that, Stephen?
Stephen Jones 26:58
I have real concerns. about it. And I think the part I’m concerned most curious is that I think that people are looking what happened originally. So we had the first patients recognized literally within blocks where my daughter and my son lived in Seattle, by the way. And then it kind of grew slowly, and then you get to other parts of country and grew slowly. The difference is after this lockdown of social distancing, if you open up now, as opposed to a few dozen people out in our communities who are potentially exposing people, we have 10s of thousands of people probably in communities like ours, out there, that would start exposing people. And so I think unless we are very cautious, very slow, just kind of, you know, let the steam out a little bit. I do have a concern that the next surge could be significantly larger than what we saw the first time because of what I’ve described there, the number of people out there that are infectious that are not contacting each other right now.
Gary Bisbee 27:53
Right, Steven, this has been a terrific interview just in the form of a wrap up for the last question. Do you have a final word for the Inova caregivers and the other service people in the community?
Stephen Jones 28:05
Leaders often say it’s humbling, you know, it’s almost like a cliche. But really in getting out with the people in our organization, to see that the way they lean in, despite fear, you know, because when I go to any place, you can see fear on people’s eyes. And if you open it up, you’re going to talk about it. They say that, despite the fear, they know that that if not us, who will take care of our community. And so the respect that I have for and the confidence I have in our frontline, folks, our leaders is more than I ever could have imagined. That anyone, any CEO could have that respect for it. And that’s been gratifying to the point that it literally frequently chokes me up to know how great people that I work for.
Gary Bisbee 28:48
Well said. Again, terrific interview. Stephen, Thank you and God bless you and the Inova caregivers and all the Northern Virginia Community.
Stephen Jones 28:56
Thank you, Gary.
Gary Bisbee 28:58
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Transcribed by Otter