Becky Farmer: Weathering the Storm

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*Originally published in CityScope Magazine

When the pandemic hit the United States in full force during March of 2020, it sent seismic shifts through every corner of the medical community, including Chattanooga’s Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics. “The changes – such as immediate deployment of telemedicine, adhering to the ever-changing CDC guidelines and local and state mandates, and procurement of PPE when sources were painfully scarce – were unprecedented in my career,” Becky Farmer, the practice’s CEO, says. “We knew that our primary goal was to continue to provide the highest level of care to our patients while keeping them and our CSMO family safe.”

The staff at CSMO, an orthopaedic practice and ambulatory surgery center, knew they would have to quickly adapt and make changes to their operations in order to continue meeting the needs of their patients. Employees who weren’t assigned to direct patient care were moved to work-from home in a matter of days, and leadership met every morning via Zoom to assess the state of operations and ensure needs were safely being met. “We deployed screeners at the doors of every facility to make certain that temperatures were taken and COVID-19-related questions were cleared before anyone entered one of our facilities,” Farmer explains. They also performed a survey of their facilities to identify common touch points and worked to limit those accordingly.

Everyone on the CSMO team has done an excellent job at adapting, and Farmer feels lucky to be working alongside them. “I knew that we had extraordinary leadership before the pandemic, but I remain astounded at what we accomplished in such a short period of time when the pandemic
started,” she shares. “It’s energizing and so rewarding when everyone ‘loses their title’ and simply locks arms – virtually, of course – to do what is needed in crisis.”

Though things are currently running smoothly at CSMO, Farmer still anticipates the day when she can meet with her team in person. “I am looking forward to the entire management team being in our conference room together, enjoying lunch and many laughs,” she says.

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