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Dr. Tam: Beebe Healthcare Ready to Recover and take on the ‘New Normal’

After 25 years in the Navy, it is no surprise that the metaphors I have used during this COVID-19 pandemic relate to battle.

And as Beebe Healthcare plans an intentional, phased approach to recovery, and a reactivation of elective surgeries and other services and procedures, the mental image that comes to mind is of a two front war – both sides being active and needed.

On one front, we have the continued work addressing COVID-19, including testing as well as care for positive patients as we will be impacted by the pandemic for the foreseeable future. The most recent medical research suggests that there are many different scenarios that can play out with the pandemic over the next several months.

Even as we gratefully watch our COVID-19 hospitalizations trend down in Sussex County, Beebe Healthcare will continue to be prepared to care for COVID-19 patients both in the hospital and the outpatient settings.

While that fight continues, our second front is of equal importance to the health of the community – reactivating the procedures, visits, labs, imaging, and other medical care with the continued focus on quality and safety that Beebe Healthcare has become known for. Following prudent federal and state guidelines, we postponed elective cases – procedures that were needed but could be held off for a while without threatening life or limb. We had to do this to ensure that the health system retained the needed resources (PPE, staff) to care for the wave of seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

Now, with the results of our increased testing and experience caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients, and the updated guidance from Governor Carney’s announcement this Tuesday, Beebe is methodically planning to pivot and reactivate many services previously postponed.

Although we continued to perform emergent surgery and procedures throughout the past two months, ramping up our elective services further is not as simple as flicking a light switch. There are many different inpatient and outpatient processes that must be re-engaged to ensure that everything we do is safe and effective. But that work is happening right now by physician-led, multi-disciplinary teams.

Something that you will notice when you make an appointment to see a Beebe Medical Group provider is that we have integrated new technologies like telemedicine to increase access, provide convenience and maintain safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. These innovations in delivering care will remain as we move through recovery, giving you even more choices than before.

When you come in for a provider visit, or to have a surgery or other procedure or test, you will notice visible changes, put there for your safety. Some will be very visible such as Plexiglas dividers, visual physical distancing cues and waiting rooms modification, and increased screening and temperature monitoring. And some will be less visible, but nonetheless different, such as scheduled appointments for all lab and imaging visits. Others will be even less visible, like stringent cleaning and disinfecting procedures that are followed around to clock to ensure your safety throughout your entire visit or procedure.

What will not change is Beebe Healthcare’s steadfast commitment to safety, quality and compassion as we continue to serve as this region’s community health system.  During a time of change and adjustment to our “new normal,” the vision of Drs. James and Richard Beebe to create a world class healthcare resource for the people of Delaware will continue to be advanced by the Next Generation of Care.

Dr David Tam

David A. Tam, MD, MBA, CPHE, FACHE

David A. Tam, MD, MBA, CPHE FACHE, assumed the role of Beebe Healthcare President & CEO on March 17. He is a distinguished and accomplished administrator and has experiences as an officer in the United States Navy and in large public health systems. He completed his pediatrics residency at the US Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, and a pediatric neurology fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia.