Commonwealth Medicine team honored with citation for outstanding performance

An interdisciplinary team from Commonwealth Medicine, the UMass Medical School IT Department and the Massachusetts Executive Offices of Health and Human Services and Elder Affairs received a 2020 Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance from the state of Massachusetts for its creation of the COVID-19 long term care facility staffing intake portal. The award recognizes state employees for their extraordinary contributions to public service.

The COVID-19 long term care facility staffing intake portal was developed in response to Secretary Chen’s urgent request at the height of the COVID-19 surge last spring.

The UMMS team, directed by Leanne Winchester, included Lisa Marschke (project manager), Louise Gorham (project coordinator), Michael Lamson (manager, IT engineering), David DeForest (senior software engineer), Swathi Kandula (senior business systems analyst), Susan Girard (business systems analyst) and Bakul Sakhrekar (test automation engineer). Executive Office of Elder Affairs Secretary Elizabeth Chen and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services Senior Director of Healthcare Workforce Policy Patricia Yu were also honored as part of the team.

The intake portal was developed in response to Secretary Chen’s urgent request at the height of the COVID-19 surge last spring. The state needed to recruit qualified health care professionals and volunteers across Massachusetts to staff a network of more than 300 care facilities designated to help relieve overcrowded hospitals and stabilize COVID-19 patients.

According to Lisa M. Colombo, DNP, MHA, RN, executive vice chancellor of Commonwealth Medicine, Winchester and her team developed and launched the staffing portal in less than a week. Information about the initiative and portal was shared at Governor Baker’s COVID-19 press conferences, through the COVID-19 text alert system and social media.

“I am so impressed with how quickly this group of individuals pivoted to create a team that developed and stood up the staffing portal without any glitches,” said Dr. Colombo. “I know everyone worked long days, nights and weekends and utilized prior experience from a similar portal to stand this up in short order.”

“This portal’s ongoing success is a true testament to the continued collaboration and commitment of furthering our mission for the good of the commonwealth. In doing so, this outstanding group demonstrated Commonwealth Medicine’s ability to build, develop and deliver support to a client in new and innovative ways, the foundation of our strategic plan that emphasizes collaboration, client satisfaction, and growth. Congratulations to this extraordinary team!”

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