Good afternoon everyone,
Beebe Healthcare found the right CEO when selecting Dr. David Tam.
The retired Navy medical officer from California came to the coastal Sussex health care system with an impressive background in hospital and healthcare management.
He hit the ground running, taking the helm ahead of schedule as coronavirus took hold in Sussex County.
It wasn’t long before Tam and state health officials were confronted with an outbreak in the state’s chicken processing industry.
With the help of the state, other hospital systems, and even the feds, the outbreak was contained, but at a cost. TheWashington Postreported the death toll across the 20,000-employee industry on Delmarva was 17. It could have been far worse.
As the outbreak subsided, we also learned that farmers, truck drivers and others associated with the key industry battled the virus
Then came the summer tourism season and smaller outbreaks were reported in the hospitality industry and activities such as senior week. Tam donned a facemask and supported the troops at testing stations while learning firsthand about East Coast heat and humidity.
Tam, meanwhile, faces the task of guiding a rapidly growing health system as it gets back to elective surgeries while treating the many people who stayed home and neglected serious health issues.
His formula has involved team building and the strategic use of social and legacy media to promote Beebe. One consistent message – reminding the public that Covid-19 should be taken seriously.
It’s not the easiest of tasks. Sussex has its share of deniers.Some have latched on to bizarre conspiracy theories or claim the reopening plans are part of a plot to destroy the economy.
Longer-term, Tam faces the challenge of a competitive health care environment in Sussex County. In western Sussex, Nanticoke merged with Salisbury’s Peninsula, which has long eyed the affluent coastal area. To the north, Bayhealth is moving into Coastal Sussex after building a sprawling health care campus at the edge of Milford.
Beebe has responded by adding facilities near Rehoboth, upgrading its Lewes hospital, and setting up another cancer center away from the beach area. All of this is happening at a time when hospital systems are facing financial losses.
If the current pattern holds true, Tam will respond with high visibility, positive social media posts, and an upbeat attitude. It’s the right prescription during a turbulent time. –Doug Rainey, chief content officer.