I highly recommend a recognition for Dr. Hugh Sanchez
I highly recommend a recognition for Dr. Hugh Sanchez, the Medical Director of Bronson Commons Post-Acute and Skilled Nursing Facility in Mattawan. While he has well over 20 years under his belt as an experienced physician, he took on the new role of a skilled nursing facility Medical Director in January of 2020. Having the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of nursing facility patients and employees, abiding by federal, state, CDC, Medicare, OSHA, and local health guidelines during the onset and duration of a pandemic is not for the faint of heart. Rather it requires dedicated and selfless individuals who are passionate about one of the most vulnerable populations: our elders. Dr. Sanchez took on this charge with determination and courage however, little did he know what the next year was to bring.
The COVID-19 pandemic started when we were forced to lock down our facility and restrict any visitors from entering on Friday, March 13th, a day I will always remember. Since that time and into our 2nd year of this pandemic I have been overwhelmed with the commitment and dedication I have witnessed from Dr. Sanchez in our COVID-19 planning and response. He stepped up to every responsibility of incident command, managed ever-changing (often daily) regulations impacting operations, and made countless decisions on COVID-19 infection prevention and control processes and policies. He never fails to be a resource for up to date understanding and evidence-based adjustments to our protocols. He gave careful consideration to what was best for the patients and families with each needed change, providing an example to all of us for empathy and compassion during a life changing time for our patients, families, and employees.
He always welcomed discussions on patient and family centered care when complex family visitation or patient care questions would arise. He personally took the time to devise a safe plan, following all available information and regulations in the early days of the pandemic, to ensure a family could say goodbye to their 100 year old mother, allowing this patient to be in the comfort of family’s presence in the last moments of life.
While most days everything seemed to be out of our control, with patients, families, and employees full of fear, Dr. Sanchez’s calm demeanor and clinical expertise helped set a course for our decisions and planning, instilling hope that we would weather this pandemic safely together. Through the countless hours of work often around the clock and late at night, every decision was always rooted in one thing: the safety of our vulnerable elderly patients and our frontline workers. According to the latest numbers from CMS, Bronson Commons has had 70% fewer patients test positive for COVID throughout the pandemic than our MI Safe Start Kalamazoo Region peers, and no fatalities. While there are several reasons for this, I believe Dr. Sanchez’s medical leadership ranks at the top. If you have the pleasure of collaborating with Dr. Sanchez or working alongside him as a colleague, you will quickly recognize how much he truly cares for others. It is evident to me why he chose to become a healthcare provider and how he has truly met his calling. Our patients, our team, and I are blessed to be under his guidance and care.