There are too many heroes to name at Saratoga Hospital. Everyone on the staff is going beyond the call of duty to fight this pandemic.
Physicians, advanced practice providers, and nurses on the front lines providing direct patient care. Environmental Services, scrubbing everything clean. Engineering, reconfiguring rooms and equipment to provide the safest levels of quarantine. Information Services, finding technological answers to data tracking and connecting isolated patients with their families. These are but a few of the multiple departments tirelessly giving their all.
Today, we are recognizing four of Saratoga Hospital’s many front-line and behind-the-scenes heroes who are making sure those on the front lines of COVID-19 have everything they need to provide life-saving medical care and keep patients, staff, and our community safe. Learn more at SaratogaHospital.org.
Nichole Mello, MS, RN
COVID-19 Navigator and Manager of Population Health & Engagement, Saratoga Hospital Medical Group
I was born and raised here in the Saratoga Springs area. My husband and I enjoy summertime at our camp with our two daughters, who are 5 and 10 years old. I’m a bit of a workout enthusiast. We hike, ride bikes, and walk our dogs.
I love my job, which touches on several areas, including chronic care management, quality and safety, public health, and health policy. Since February, I have taken on an additional role, COVID-19 Navigator. I manage the testing tent next to the Emergency Department.
It is a complex task with many moving parts, such as making sure the tent is staffed and supplied, collecting data to help track the spread of the virus, and being the hospital’s liaison with county public health departments, our urgent and emergent care facilities, first responders, our medical group members, and other local providers.
As of April 21, we have conducted 195 inpatient tests and collected another 2,124 specimens through the tent that were sent to Wadsworth, the test lab. On a single day, our tent team handled as many as 115 tests.
We contact all patients with their results. I personally reach out to patients who have tested positive. I help them understand their symptoms, go over quarantine requirements, and connect them with a primary care physician if they don’t already have one.
I have a great team doing vital work. I am proud to be able to do what I can for our community during this crisis.
Marissa Broadley, BSN, MPH, MSEd, RN, CIC, CPHQ
Manager, Infection Prevention at Saratoga Hospital
Originally from Rockland County, I relocated to Saratoga Springs four years ago. My golden retriever, Jakey, and I love to get outside and spend time in Downtown Saratoga walking along Broadway and visiting its shops and restaurants, looking forward to when they reopen. I also like to relax with my knitting needles or read on my balcony, over-looking the Saratoga landscape.
As a registered, board-certified nurse in Infection Control and Epidemiology, now more than ever, Infection Prevention is a job I find extremely rewarding and essential.
As we learn more about the COVID-19 virus, new data and best practices are being identified minute-to-minute around the world. During the course of a day, I am investigating evidence-based guidelines and in constant communication with the NYS Department
of Health and regional Public Health Offices. One of my most important roles is to serve as a resource to every department within Saratoga Hospital and our numerous off-site locations.
At the on-set of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saratoga Hospital implemented stringent visitation restrictions and patient isolation precautions. Collaborating with Hospital Leadership, all department plans have been continually evolving and re-evaluated as
updated information is received. Working with the Environmental Services Department, specific cleaning protocols have been implemented throughout the organization. Personal protective equipment (PPE) alternatives were discussed with our Materials Management and Occupational Health Departments, and Nursing triage processes were also augmented to include COVID-19 risk factors.
I am amazed at the impressive level of expertise and professionalism of the Saratoga Hospital staff during this challenging time. We will all get through this together.
Susan Armer, RN
System Director, Sourcing and Contracting, Saratoga Hospital
I was born in Gloversville and live in Ballston Spa. I’m a runner and a mentor for a local Fleet Feet beginner 5k. I also volunteer for Saratoga Hospital Foundation.
I had my first job at the hospital in 1990, when I was a senior in high school. I have worked in procurement for more than 20 years and have never seen anything like what we’re seeing today within the supply chain.
The materials we have come to rely on are few and far between. We are experiencing the confiscation of supplies so that they can be redistributed to areas of highest need. So, we pivot and source similar materials from different vendors, being highly vigilant to avoid price gouging, counterfeiters, and products that aren’t up to our standards for safety. Everyone needs to be on their toes right now.
We’ve also found creative alternatives and methods to extend the life of what we have. We are using UV lighting to sanitize medical N95 masks so staff can use them longer. Every department that could spare supplies has been very generous in conserving and
redistributing items to areas in the hospital with the greatest need.
We’ve been creatively sourcing isolation gowns, gloves, face shields, eye protection, hand sanitizer, procedure and surgical masks, and other items on short supply due to high demand, as countries all over the world are needing the exact same supplies at the same time. But, we’re lucky. Given what we were seeing in China, we began preparing for this back in January. We didn’t know the virus would come here, but we knew supply chains would be affected.
With great effort from my sourcing team and the generous Saratoga community’s donations, we’ve been able to hold out much longer than expected. My purchasing and distribution teams have done a wonderful job of making sure departments are getting something, even if it’s not exactly what they were requesting. I can’t thank my teams and community enough for their incredible support, which has kept us able to continue to provide the high quality of care needed in this crisis.
Dr. Michael Holland
Medical Director, Employee Health Services and Occupational Medicine, Saratoga Hospital and Saratoga Hospital Medical Group
I’ve lived here since ‘89 and all four of my kids went to Saratoga Springs schools. My wife and I now have three grandchildren. I’m a volunteer fitness instructor at Saratoga YMCA’s Wilton branch, which I enjoy very much.
I’ve been working in Occupational Medicine for over 30 years, and with so many businesses closed and not hiring, that portion of my work has slowed considerably, but it has risen dramatically on the Employee Health side. As a hospital, it is critical for us to do everything we can to keep our employees safe and healthy, which also keeps our patients and community safe and healthy.
Our team established a Sick Line call center, in record time, I might add, to provide a knowledgeable and compassionate resource for any questions employees may have about symptoms, possible exposures, or any health concern. For those who are home sick, we provide follow-up calls to continue to be a resource for them and their recovery.
Given we have nearly 3,000 employees, we are quite grateful to the many nurses and staff from other departments, including Occupational Medicine, who have pitched in to help. Debbie Zaloga, RN, Taryn Woodard, RN, Marcy Dreimiller, MBA, SPHR, Associate Vice President of Human Resources, and everyone at Employee Health Services, Occupational Medicine, and Human Resources have been instrumental in establishing our protocols. Their work has been extraordinary.
We authorize tests for every employee with any possible COVID-19 symptoms, quarantining them until we have results. Any who are positive or sick at all are also quarantined until, following very strict protocols, they can return. Currently, employees who have tested positive contracted the virus from out in the community, not from patients. I have to thank the Infection Prevention and Environmental Services teams for their tremendous efforts, as well.
The staff here at Saratoga Hospital are real troopers. It’s hard to maintain social distancing in the cafeteria and breakrooms, especially in stressful times when you want to be with your friends and colleagues—but everyone is doing their part, all highly committed to keeping the hospital safe for all our patients and our staff.