HomeUncategorizedHurricane Ian Update Message From S.Irfan Ali, MD, CEO|President

Hurricane Ian Update Message From S.Irfan Ali, MD, CEO|President


Dear Pioneers,       

Hurricane Ian has created chaos and destruction. Our hearts go out to our communities, families, and employees who continue to struggle. Individuals are still coping and learning to overcome the devastation caused by this storm. 

I remember distinctly the lessons we learned from Irma which caused billions of dollars in damage and disorder. Despite everything, we were prepared, we were nimble on our feet and took extraordinary steps to overcome various challenges. We had to evacuate North Pinellas hospital at the last minute, we witnessed structural damage at many places, no EMR, no power at certain hospitals, working with paper charts and water damage. Even then I can safely say that our preparation and our systemic approach to any issues kept us safe and we continued to serve our patients almost seamlessly. Utilizing this experience and lessons we were able to better prepare for Ian.

This time around our team preparation shined. I am so proud of our team members who stood up for what we believe in and delivered. Building it better every day, whether it’s improving our clinical acumen with lessons from prior hurricanes or recovery from Covid. As they say, with higher power comes bigger responsibility. I believe our organization takes this responsibility very seriously, we are relentless, and we are resilient. 

Disasters and bad events happen all the time but situations like these come with stories of people who rise to the occasions, our Pioneer Nation is one of them. It is important to recognize the tremendous work our organization and individuals performed. It makes me proud when I hear stories of our team members checking on each other, staff opening their homes to other teammates who suffered damage to their homes, staff driving despite the storm to cover a shift when we had last minute issues. We saw other members choosing to work for their fellow teammates who couldn’t. Some sleeping in the hospital away from families for days, showing sacrifice as they hunkered down in the hospital when duty called. I know some of you lost contact with your children for hours and as a father I understand how painful it could be. True dedication and selflessness were notably shown by our staff.

I specially want to thank our COO Erik Altman and Dr. Ronnie Mercado for divisional oversight. Dr. Emil Levasseur and Dr. Belinda Johnson for holding down the fort despite the worst of damage. Dr. Brenton McCoy for such a seamless evacuation of AdventHealth North Pinellas and Dr. Ryan Reed to receive them at AdventHealth Tampa. I would also like to again thank Dr. McCoy along with his teammates Dr. Andrew Cappiello and Dr. Tej Atluri for going above and beyond for patient care. We are grateful to Pat O’Donnell CFO and Anthony Mikael CAO for their support. George Thomas Executive Director choosing to be on call during this tough time, Dr. Adeel Husain and Brad Gude CQO for keeping our patients safe and helping guide their fellow teammates. Jorge Sanchez Executive Director, Chelley Hellmers CAO Pioneer Health, and Kathleen Cortez Director of HR for all the admin support. Dr. Haseeb Hashmi and Dana McCarron Director of Post-Acute for coordinating all post-acute teams and facility coverage. Jennifer Rust Chief of Staff for her help orchestrating this wild symphony. I also want to thank each of you on Team A and Team B, not mentioned here, each one of you made a difference.

I am also grateful for AdventHealth Leadership in their trust and partnership while supporting our staff in all our efforts.

In keeping with what we have done during other times of crisis, we have made resources available to those who require assistance due to impact of this terrible storm. Anyone needing assistance please reach out to Kathleen Cortez, Director of HR, we are ready to help.

Please let us know if there is any other way that we can be supportive to you or your families, please contact any Pioneer leadership team member for guidance.

Again, our thoughts will continue to be with everyone affected in the coming days, weeks, and months as we seek to rebuild and recover. We are committed to supporting you in any way we can.


S.Irfan Ali, MD, CEO|President

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