This has been a year like no other. We’ve all suffered personal, professional and economic losses and hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic. That loss is on a scale that was unthinkable when we celebrated last Christmas.
Our Tanner healthcare team has been on the front lines of this pandemic since Day 1. It has been a privilege to be entrusted with your care and that of your neighbors and friends who have been stricken with this virus, as well as the illnesses and injuries that routinely bring us together.
Since our first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in March, our Tanner Heroes have pulled together, caring for our patients and one another — at great personal risk and sacrifice — because that’s their calling.
They have faced challenges like shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE), unprecedented volumes of critically-ill patients and the fear that they or their family may get sick. When infection prevention required limiting visitors, our team held your loved ones’ hands, prayed with them, relayed messages from family and offered encouraging words of hope and healing. I am so thankful for them and their empathy, resilience and dedication.
Importantly, our community has been there for Tanner, too. We have never needed you more nor have we ever been more grateful. You sewed masks and face shields when they were in short supply, keeping our front line workers safe. You brought food, drinks, treats and gifts to keep our staff inspired and appreciated through the darkest days and nights. You put red ribbons on your mailboxes, gateposts and front doors.
You showed you cared, too.
Even as the crisis rages on, we have kept our focus on our mission of improving access to care in our community. We expanded both our medical and behavioral health service access with the launch of telemedicine and Tanner’s Care Your Way, helping you find the care you needed the way you needed it with safety and infection prevention top of mind. Our infection prevention leaders championed best practices across our community to slow the virus’ spread and educated our neighbors on how to stay safe and healthy.
There have been joys and important accomplishments, too: babies delivered, cancer patients healed, broken hearts mended – even as we adapted to the changing pandemic dynamics. We continued to expand our behavioral health services with the new Willowbrooke Psychiatric Center and the new Willowbrooke Counseling Center. We broke ground for The Birches at Villa Rica senior living development and an orthopedic ambulatory surgery center on the corner of Dixie Street and Clinic Avenue in Carrollton.
Continuing our strong tradition of quality care, Tanner was recognized with awards of excellence for our hospitals as well as maternity care, stroke care, palliative care and other vital services.
We are grateful for the blessings of this season, including a supportive community that values our role in keeping them safe and healthy every day — not just during a pandemic.
On behalf of the more than 3,500 Tanner team members across west Georgia and east Alabama, thank you for your support. You have been there for us and we will continue to be here for you.
Vaccination will be critical to stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our community. Tanner has already vaccinated 1,000 of our staff and will continue into the New Year. We are committed to protecting our community and will keep you updated on the availability of vaccines for you and your family. Please watch for news on tanner.org. As we prepare for 2021, we are looking forward to the time when we can all get back to normal.
I wish you a healthy, happy new year.