COVID-19 Update from Aunt Martha’s President & CEO

Excerpt from a Memorandum Distributed to Aunt Martha’s Employees on Monday, March 16, 2020…

Over the last 72 hours our world has changed in ways that many of us have neither experienced nor could have imagined. Our President and the Governor of our state have announced major efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and mitigate its effects – socially and economically – on the way we live our lives as individuals, as workers and as caregivers. This rapid evolution of events causes each of us to consider and then to reconsider our priorities.

Let me say, as President & CEO of this organization, that our employees and the people we serve will always be the priority of Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness. We have, therefore, taken steps these past few days to plan for our new reality, however long it may last. I announced Thursday the creation of a COVID-19 Response Team, the members of which would be responsible for developing a plan to minimize the impact and spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent within the control of our agency.

The 17 members of that team, along with the executive leadership team, worked through the weekend to develop contingency plans for the organization’s operations, establish communication plans and protocols, and, at the request of DCFS, finalize a COVID-19 response plan to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees and the high-risk youth in our care. At each step along the way our patients and employees have been our top priority.

It should not, therefore, come as a surprise when I tell you that nearly 700 employees have by now responded to the team’s COVID-19 preparedness survey. We have analyzed the data and we have worked through dozens of scenarios. Your feedback has been and will continue to be critical. It is our pledge to keep you informed, to share information, to act with transparency, and to ask – and rely on you to answer – the most pertinent of questions.

Now, more than ever before, Aunt Martha’s greatest strength will be the commitment and compassion of our employees. From our dedicated medical assistants and world-class providers to those who care for abused and neglected youth at the ICC and support foster care families in their homes; and from our crisis responders in CCBYS to the teams who field the calls that pour into the CARES Hotline and the contact center. Your response to the people we serve, who turn to Aunt Martha’s in their time of need will always be what sets our organization apart.

There are many challenges ahead for each of us. We will support one another, and we will face them head on. I will continue to provide updates every few days, or even more frequently if necessary. I ask you to please be prepared to read and respond to any new information that we are able to share. And, of course, please take care of yourselves and your families.

Excerpt from a Memorandum Distributed to Aunt Martha’s Employees on Thursday, March 12, 2020…

Rather than waiting for specific instructions from our funders, local, state or federal authorities, Aunt Martha’s will take swift and decisive action to prepare our organization and its employees to respond to the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). That is why we have created our COVID-19 Response Team.

The COVID-19 Response Team will be supported by the above-referenced Executive Leadership Team. It is tasked with ensuring all employees are up-to-date on events related to the COVID-19 virus, as well as the impact of those events on the agency’s operation. They will develop strategic responses and contingency plans and forecast future developments to the greatest extent possible.

It is estimated that as much as one-third of the country’s population, anywhere from 70 to 150 million people in all, may ultimately be infected. The fact is, however, that no one can predict with absolute certainty how events in the coming weeks and months will unfold. Aunt Martha’s cannot avoid some level of impact. Neither I nor any member of the leadership team can or will pretend to have an answer to every question.

In the final analysis, we cannot promise to do anything more than to share as much information as possible and be transparent in our intent and our actions. This leadership team, this agency, will do everything possible to protect and support you and your families.

In return, we ask for your flexibility, your responsiveness and your diligence. As a first step, please be prepared to respond to brief survey about the needs you might experience as employees and caregivers. You should expect a link to that survey to be sent shortly.

There are many unknowns ahead. All we can know, and all we can guarantee is that the team at Aunt Martha’s will continue to be there for one another and for the communities we serve.