How a Storm-Battered Health System is Helping Employees

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media , November 12, 2012

Despite the storm, the health system's Lenox Hill Autumn gala was held on Monday.  It traditionally raises money for the health system's capital projects.  But this year, CEO Michael Dowling announced that 75 percent of all of the money raised would go towards helping the employees of the health system rebuild, and 25 percent would be donated to the community rebuilding efforts.

That night, the health system raised $2.3 million dollars.  And in the days following, $750,000 in donations has been received from trustees, executives, and employees.

"We believe in our work force. It's part of our culture. One of our tag lines is taking care of our patients begins with taking care of our employees. We had that tag line way before the hurricane. I think that's innate to who we are as an organization," says Cabral.

The ERRC is now averaging 20 requests a day for housing. "This resource center will continue to be open as long as we need it," says Cabral. "The folks who are managing finding placements for people to have homes, those people are here until 10 or 11 o'clock at night. They are so committed, they just don't want to go if they're working with someone, helping someone ... out in the street. We coordinate our security folks to go and pick them up and put them in temporary housing. Our whole organization is really embracing this and coming together."

"I think this is a lesson-learned for the other HR executives, what kinds of plans do they have in place to prepare for the aftermath of such catastrophic events on their own work force? That's the thing in healthcare—we worry about the community, our patients, and everybody else. But often times we neglect to make sure our employees are okay."

Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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