A tremendous honor bestowed last month to Bill Phillips and Leni Kirkman of University Health System with The Saving Lives Award from La Prensa Texas and Commissioner Tommy Calvert. Their COVID 19 Vaccine Team at Mall De Las Americas has administered more than 325,000 doses of vaccine over the past 4 months! SAVING LIVES!
University Health, under the leadership of George Hernandez, has been giving the COVID-19 vaccine since December 17 of last year. They opened one of the state’s first hub vaccine centers on January 4th and have grown exponentially ever since. Over the past 4 months, this team has administered more than 325 thousand doses of the vaccine. More than any other site in Bexar County.
This Wonderland Vaccination Center is the brainchild of Bill Philips, who designed the patient flow and IT infrastructure to make it run extremely efficiently, always putting the needs of our patients first.
Early on, when the vaccine was in very short supply, University Health developed guiding principles aligned with the State of Texas’ allocation plan.
They first prioritized health care workers who fill a critical role in caring for COVID-19 patients and in maintaining the entire health care infrastructure for all who need it.
Bill and Leni Kirkman have worked with numerous organizations including the City of San Antonio EMS, CentroMed, Communicare, the Center for Health Care Services, and the Bexar County Medical Society to ensure their eligible staff members and physicians were able to get scheduled for the vaccine.
They also moved quickly to protect front-line workers who are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the nature of their work providing critical services and preserving the economy.
They again partnered with organizations such as VIA, the Sheriff’s office, school districts, private schools, HEB and most recently the Texas Restaurant Association, to make it as easy as possible to protect these workers who are critical to the success of our community.
They have also focused intently on bringing in vulnerable populations who are at greater risk of severe disease and death if they get COVID.
Under Bill’s leadership, the St. Philip’s College vaccination center opened last Thursday. This important partnership will ensure access to the vaccine in the underserved East Side community.
Under Leni’s leadership, University Health is playing a key role in educating our community about all things related to this horrible
And her team is innovating to reach people where they are. For example, their smartphone app is able to push custom messages to cell phones in different geographic areas of our community, with a goal of giving people in areas with a lower rate of vaccination, the first opportunity to sign up for vaccine appointments.
This is just one of the ways they are using technology to do all they can to efficiently and equitably get shots in arms. But, online scheduling is just one strategy. Phone assistance, direct outreach to vulnerable patients and strategic partnerships are helping to bridge the technology divide.
Now, as they move into the next phase of vaccine distribution, they are piloting walk-in appointments at both locations and also implementing a wide range of communication and outreach strategies to educate those in our community who have concerns about taking the vaccine.