August 24, 2020 News

Everyday Heroes: COVID-19 Brings Out the Best in Business Community

The COVID-19 crisis turned our collective worlds upside down. With little warning, the virus and its associated economic upheaval caused profound change in our personal and professional lives, and forced many of us to reimagine the way we do business, or whether businesses would survive at all.

At CDPHP, survival was the only option. After all, we have nearly 400,000 members to take care of.

Seemingly overnight, CDPHP and its 1,100 employees moved to a virtual environment with almost no interruption to service. We moved swiftly to expand access to new, no-cost telehealth and mental telehealth options, waived cost-share for COVID-19 testing and treatment, removed prior authorization to speed the delivery of care, extended payment grace periods for businesses and individuals, and offered early and extended prescription drug refills to our members.

CDPHP was not alone in its response. Hundreds of local businesses hunkered down to address the community’s needs, many of them putting people over profits in order to rise above the pandemic.

Today, I would like to thank the small and large business owners who shared in our mission, refusing to give up on their community, their customers, and their employees. Here’s just a few examples.

SEFCU establishes Heroes Landing 

It came as no surprise that our good friends at SEFCU were among the first to step up to the plate, creating a safe and warm place where frontline health care workers could catch their breath. The credit union moved quickly to establish Heroes Landing, a respite center located inside the Hilton Garden Inn across from Albany Medical Center where doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals received much-needed rest, nutrition, comfort, and strength in-between shifts.

Precision Valve pivots for patients

Prior to the pandemic, Precision Valve & Automotive (PVA) in Colonie spent nearly 30 years manufacturing robots. When COVID-19 came to town, CEO Tony Hynes tells the Albany Business Review, “When we heard the governor ask businesses to be creative and help, we took that as our marching orders. We can build anything and make it work.”

Hearing New York was facing a shortage of ventilators needed to keep the most critical patients alive, PVA pivoted and began producing 100 vents per day.

So much more than buses

When you think of CDTA, you naturally think of their iconic blue buses seen throughout the Capital Region. But the organization is so much more than a bus company, and the COVID-19 crisis has once again reaffirmed that for us.

The transportation authority enhanced its service schedule in response to the crisis, increasing frequency of routes serving hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential business. CDTA also implemented a strict sanitizing schedule to ensure the safety of its riders, and updated guidelines to ensure proper social distancing on its fleet of buses.

Understanding the significance that mobility has on a person’s health, CDTA also began redeploying its fleet of CDPHP Cycle! bicycles, implementing a rigorous cleaning schedule and equipping each bike with hand sanitizer to keep riders safe.

Nothing small about “Smallbany”

COVID-19 may have upset the apple cart in 2020, but few communities were as prepared to weather this storm. As we enter the final months of the year, I am increasingly optimistic about the resiliency of this community and I look forward to tackling the challenges of tomorrow, together.

John D. Bennett, MD, FACC, FACP
About Author

Dr. Bennett was named president and CEO of CDPHP in 2008, after serving as chairman of the board since 2003, vice chairman since 1999, and board member since 1996. Prior to working at CDPHP, Dr. Bennett served as chief of the division of cardiology at Albany Memorial Hospital, was a member of Northeast Health Systems’ board of directors, and chaired the department of medicine. Dr. Bennett also served as CEO of Prime Care Physicians, PPLC, where he practiced cardiology with Albany Associates in Cardiology. Dr. Bennett chairs the board of directors for the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Healthcare Information Xchange of New York (Hixny). In addition, he is a member of the boards of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Colonie Senior Service Centers, the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York, the Center for Economic Growth, New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), and the Palace Theatre. Dr. Bennett earned his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, and a bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He completed his residency in internal medicine as well as a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Albany Medical Center. Currently, he is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians. Dr. Bennett is board certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Internal Medicine, with subspecialties in internal medicine and cardiology.

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