Columbia’s Maury Regional Medical Center and the Maury County Health Department came together to assist the community during the pandemic.
During 2020, the health care industry felt the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet it faced the challenge head on and remained a rock throughout this troubling time. In Maury County, Columbia’s Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) and the Maury County Health Department (MCHD) came together to assist the community.
A Targeted Approach
Joining forces, the hospital and health department offered both traditional on-site vaccine clinics and drive-thru options for convenience and accessibility.
“Pooling our resources proved to be helpful, since we could target a large amount of people in a short amount of time. Additionally, the state brought mobilization resources for large drive-thru events that we did not have readily available,” says Maury Regional Health CEO Alan Watson.
In the case of providing the vaccine far and wide, it truly took a village. Watson says that Columbia State Community College provided great assistance by offering their campus parking area as a drivethru clinic location.
“Otherwise, neither the hospital campus nor the health department campus could have handled the volume of cars that we needed to put through on a single day,” Watson says
Lightening the Load
MCHD Director Andrew Kenney agrees that aligning for this cause was mutually beneficial. He says the department was faced with the momentous task of keeping up with the community’s demand for vaccines while they still had to tend to other public health concerns as part of their everyday operations.
He says he is especially grateful for the collaboration with MRMC during the peak time, adding that the vaccination contributes to saving lives and bringing the country back to some semblance of normalcy.
“They’ve been a partner since day one,” he says about the hospital system. “Utilizing our partnerships enables rural health departments to broaden our outreach through collaboration and pooling of resources.”
Watson also says the willingness on the part of the public to get vaccinated will, hopefully, translate into fewer hospitalizations and deaths on a national level.
Even before the pandemic, in terms of community outreach, we worked together to impact the highest-risk populations facing chronic health issues.”
Maury County Health Department
Widening the Reach
As of June 9, nearly half of Maury County had received at least one dose, exceeding the overall state percentage.
The outreach strategy between the two organizations helped play a part in this success story.
Watson says that offering the vaccines at different hours than the traditional clinic site meant they were able to accommodate more people’s schedules — and not just locals.
The public looked at their efforts favorably, too, according to Watson.
“We’ve had folks driving in from all over the state and outside of the state because of the efficiency of our processes, and so I think it’s a positive thing for our community to see that,” he says.
Kenney credits a large part of their success to the fact that the two entities have had a strong working relationship for some time.
“Even before the pandemic, in terms of community outreach, we worked together to impact the highest-risk populations facing chronic health issues,” Kenney says. “We already had a collaborative relationship, which I think put us ahead of the game in terms of our goals for COVID vaccination.”