LCMC Health has earned the 2021 Joy in Medicine recognition, a designation garnered from The American Medical Association (AMA). The designation from the AMA acknowledges health systems with a demonstrated commitment to preserving the well-being of health care team members by engaging in proven efforts to combat work-related stress and burnout. LCMC Health is one of 44 health systems across the nation to be included in this important list.
“LCMC Health’s employees are our most vital asset”, said Greg Feirn, CEO, LCMC Health. “Our team responded to a pandemic and a major hurricane with dedication to patient care, courage and perseverance. It is extremely important that we provide the support they need to get through challenging circumstances.”
Initiated in 2019, the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program is a component of the AMA’s practice transformation efforts, an ambitious initiative to advance evidence-based solutions that fill the knowledge gap in effective solutions to the physician burnout crisis.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary stress on physicians and other health care professionals,” said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, M.D. “The health systems we recognize today are true leaders in promoting an organizational response that makes a difference in the lives of the health care workforce.”
A national study examining the experiences of physicians and other health care workers who worked in health care systems during the COVID-19 pandemic found that 38% self-reported experiencing anxiety or depression, while 43% suffered from work overload and 49% had burnout.
Candidates for the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program were evaluated according to their documented efforts to reduce work-related burnout through system level drivers. Scoring criteria was based on demonstrated competencies in commitment, assessment, leadership, efficiency of practice environment, teamwork, and support.
LCMC Health early in the pandemic realized the importance of fostering a culture of wellness during such a stressful time, initiating well-being rounding in all six hospitals, led by Dr. Jay Kaplan, Medical Director of Care Transformation for the system and an Emergency Department physician.
“It was important that we recognize our hospital teams’ emotional distress as our hospitals became overwhelmed with COVID patients and being able to offer well-being and resilience de-briefings in real time, meeting front-line teams where they were in the ICU’s and in-patient units was vital in letting them know we were and still are there for them,” said Dr. Kaplan. And it wasn’t just the nurses and respiratory therapists at the bedside – our facilities engineers, and our dietary, transport and EVS teams also felt tremendous stress and appreciated our support.
Dr. Kaplan worked with system leadership to launch the Be Well Center, dedicated to supporting and improving the personal and professional well-being of LCMC Health employees and clinicians through unconditional compassion, teamwork, integrity, and respect. Hallmarks of the program include:
- Peer Ally Support Program – Offering 1:1 peer support, a safe zone to express thoughts, and support through stressful events.
- Well-Being and Emotional Debriefing Rounds – Creating an open dialogue to encourage and support staff in creating a working environment with a shared sense of physical and psychological safety, equity, connection and camaraderie, meaning and purpose.
- Well-Being Committee – Comprised of Well-Being Champions and Well-Being Ambassadors from each LCMC Health facility, the committee discusses topics and issues related to well-being and develops employee and medical staff well-being programming and initiatives for the system.
- Employee Assistance Program – No-cost, confidential ways to promote well-being and respond to life’s challenges. From emotional support and childcare resources to legal and financial guidance, talk with someone 24/7 who will answer your questions, refer you to a counselor if needed, or connect you with helpful community resources.
“The recognition program offers a roadmap to guide health system leaders who are interested, engaged and committed in efforts to fight the root causes of burnout in the health care workforce,” said AMA Vice President of Professional Satisfaction Christine Sinsky, M.D. “The 44 health systems recognized this year by the AMA are creating momentum in the health care community for a united commitment to wide-spanning change in the culture of medicine that emphasizes professional well-being in health care.”