Pandemic Response Hero: Kathleen Rosatti
Rosatti is director of clinical outcomes management, patient safety, infection control, regulatory and accreditation for Excela Health.
As she watched COVID-19’s unrelenting spread overseas, Kathleen Rosatti was quick to recognize the life-altering impact the disease could have in her own community.
“I started saying to [hospital administrators], ‘Look, this is not a taxi cab. It’s not a bus. This is a freight train, and it’s coming at us. We need all hands on deck,” says Rosatti, director of clinical outcomes management, patient safety, infection control, regulatory and accreditation for Excela Health.
The organization moved quickly to assemble a team to address the virus. Early on, Rosatti prioritized open communication with employees, knowing the fear and uncertainty they were all experiencing. At times, guidelines from the CDC or Department of Health seemed impossible to implement, and when employees voiced concerns, Rosatti was open to ideas for different ways to help her teams adapt.
“The true heroes of the whole pandemic are those people at the front line implementing the guidance,” she says.
Those frontline nurses also had to deal with a second wave of the infection Rosatti says is far worse than the first. “Over 50 percent of what we’ve seen through the whole pandemic occurred in the month of October,” she says.
Excela is now partnering with UPMC and AHN in a regional healthcare collaborative program to address all skilled nursing facilities within the region, a challenge Rosatti never expected to undertake but recognizes as critical to reducing the spread of the disease. Her other biggest challenge is keeping her team members positive in an overwhelmingly negative time.
“You always have to remind people there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and you have to find the success story … whether it’s a positive impact on a patient, one family, or a whole building of residents,” she says. “Everything we’re asking you to do is making a difference. You are truly saving lives.”