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President's Message

April 1, 2021

Caring for Our Community Regardless of the Challenges

Larry Antonucci portrait

By definition, community benefit programs or activities provide treatment and/or promote health and healing as a response to identified community needs. To qualify as community benefit, programs or activities must meet at least one of the following criteria: improve access to health care services, enhance the health of the community, advance medical or health knowledge or relieve or reduce the burden of government or other community efforts. At Lee Health, we invest significant time, talent and resources toward community benefit each year.

2020, with all of its challenges, was no exception, and Lee Health was able to contribute more than $209.3 million in community benefit. We created a full Community Benefit Report, which can be found online here. You can check out the report and learn more about elements of community benefit and read stories about the ways Lee Health cares for and works to improve the health of our community. But, I would be remiss not to mention here the efforts of some of our teams throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The novel coronavirus brought with it changing guidance regarding transmission and treatment, and evolving guidelines for all of us to follow. From the start, we wanted to be as transparent and communicative as possible, so our Strategic Communications and Marketing teams worked diligently to provide daily updates, which were and continue to be shared on social media and with our local media and elected officials. Facebook Live enabled us to host several virtual Town Halls where our clinical leaders could answer questions directly from our community.

Our Lee Health Outreach Team, when faced with COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing requirements, quickly pivoted to offer virtual health education classes and support groups. That team of more than 100 clinicians and experts transitioned to virtual platforms so they could still offer cooking and fitness classes, meditation, workshops, webinars and more.

Virtual visits to the doctor became even more important, especially during the early days of the pandemic. Our Information Systems team expanded Lee Telehealth technology from five departments to more than 60, so thousands of patients could see a doctor from the safety of their own homes. Lee Health also decided to offer the 24/7 access to Lee Telehealth free of charge for a time, and that resulted in 7,200 virtual visits provided at no cost. We even extended this platform to our friends at NCH Healthcare System to provide additional access throughout our community and maximize community impact.

There is much more to the story of how Lee Health works to improve the health of our community, and I hope you will take the time to read the full report. There’s no doubt that 2020 is a year no one wants to revisit, but it also a year that we at Lee Health will look back on with immense respect and pride for all the ways our teams worked together and with our community partners to care for, serve and impact our community.

Yours in Health,

Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA

President & CEO, Lee Health

Thank you for your support. Together we are Caring People. Inspiring Health.