CoxHealth’s Edwards Named America’s Top Hospital Administrator for COVID-19

A survey of emergency room doctors has named Steve Edwards, the leader of CoxHealth, as the best hospital administrator in the United States when it comes to response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey was conducted by EM Docs, a group formed by an emergency room doctor that boasts over 22,000 emergency physicians. The group was known for providing key information for emergency room staff days ahead of the Centers for Disease Control.

Edwards was praised by the group for his “out of the box” thinking when it came to the COVID-19 ward that was built in two weeks and then paid for by donations from the community. He was also praised for the way he kept people employed to keep the quality of the healthcare system’s services at the highest level.

They noted how he brought the Governor to the hospital to view the COVID ward and has state leaders looking to him and his staff for advice.

Some of the praise given to Edwards as quoted in the survey:

“There was no delay in hospital administration’s response to the pandemic, and Mr. Edwards was able to spearhead an effort that resulted in a 51-bed ward-style ICU for Covid patients being constructed in only two weeks,” Dr. Kari Cooper stated. “Preparedness has been the number one goal, and this is just one impressive example. He has been a vocal advocate for the community and hospital; he has not hesitated to publicly call out government and other officials when their positions have been ill-advised, regardless of the political fallout that is sadly likely. While other facilities have been cutting staff and expenditures, the administration led by him has prioritized keeping personnel through the economic downturn recognizing that we must retain employees so they can provide care after the disaster is over. This sort of leadership is incredibly rare and should be recognized; it makes me immensely proud to be a member of the medical staff of this hospital.”

“I have been with this physician group for twenty-eight years and believe this has been the best administration I have encountered during time in Springfield and better than my two prior jobs,” Dr. Joe Craigmyle said. “During this pandemic they have been supportive of staff and patients going as far as to finish off a previously unfinished floor to accommodate Covid-19 patients.”

“He recognized early the potential to be overwhelmed, the risk to healthcare workers and our community at large,” Dr. John Vashaw said. “This is demonstrated by his recognition for the increased amount of PPE, which he has worked diligently to obtain. He was quick to authorize non-standard measures and enlisted community support to sew masks from material the hospital had stockpiled and the creation of 3-D printed face shields. Additionally he expanded use of technology for virtual visits and the ability to remotely interview patients within the ED. He supported establishing a tent triage station and use of community paramedics to provide targeted mobile testing preventing unnecessary ED visits. Additionally, he recognized that boarding in the ED is a potential risk to patients and rapidly expanded hospital capacity. He protected Emergency Department staffing, ensuring that we remained prepared to handle any additional influx that might occur. . . . I clearly recall him walking through the ED speaking with each of us to obtain firsthand insight of what our needs were and how we were dealing with the potential threat. I have been grateful for his support not just for the hospital and our community, but specifically as an emergency physician.”

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