Letter asks Dr. Mihaljevic to use Cleveland Clinic’s computer data to create a list of unvaccinated patients and to have their doctors call them individually.
Online PR News – 20-April-2021 – CLEVELAND, OHIO – Ohio resident Jeff Barge has sent out an open letter to Cleveland Clinic President Tomislav Mihaljevic urging him to lead his company's 11 Northeastern Ohio hospitals into a more pragmatic and hands-on battle to get vaccinations to patients who are reluctant or fearful of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Four of those 11 hospitals have not administered a single COVID-19 vaccination shot, according to Cleveland Clinic.
In the letter, Barge, who is president of Cleveland-based Lucky Star Communications, a public relations and communications consulting firm, asks Dr. Mihaljevic to use Cleveland Clinic’s computer data to create a list of patients who have not yet been vaccinated, and to have his doctors reach out to them through individual phone calls to win their participation and bring the region to herd immunity more quickly.
"Pres. Joe Biden's COVID-19 response team has designated doctors as one of the most trusted groups of community leaders, and a group that would be effective in signing up reluctant patients to get vaccinated," says Barge. "Cleveland Clinic's doctors must reach out on an individual, one-to-one basis to overcome patient hesitation. Simply put, they must get on the phone and make calls."
The letter, which was also sent out to individual media reporters, reads as follows:
April 18, 2021
Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic
President and CEO
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44195
VIA CERTIFIED MAIL
Dear Dr. Mihaljevic:
Experts are saying that COVID-19 vaccinations are going to hit a hard wall and stop once we reach 63% to 65% of the population here in Ohio. We are already beginning to see a slow-down.
As you know, Ohio needs to reach a vaccination level of 70% to 85% to reach herd immunity and return to a normal way of life.
As you can see from the attached news article, Pres. Joseph Biden has reached out to American doctors such as yours to actively use their influence as local medical authorities and their long relationships with patients in their communities to persuade people who are reluctant or actively opposed to getting the COVID-19 to get the shot.
There is even a national television special starring Michelle Obama and other celebrities to try to persuade the reluctant, which airs tonight.
To date, Cleveland Clinic has made heroic efforts to comfort and cure those afflicted with the most severe form of COVID-19, for which your hospital deserves praise.
But Cleveland Clinic’s record on spearheading the vaccination of as many Cleveland residents as possible has been less than sterling.
My research shows that of the 11 major clinics located in Northeastern Ohio, four Cleveland Clinic facilities have not given out a single COVID-19 vaccination. It was apparently deemed “inconvenient” by the administration of Cleveland Clinic for these facilities to assist in wiping out this devastating pandemic.
Among these is your location in Lakewood, which apparently didn’t want to give out the vaccine because they would have had to buy a low temperature freezer to store the vaccine, and didn’t want to spend the money. (A fact which has not gone down well with local politicians.)
My own knowledge is that Cleveland Clinic physicians have not been instructed to conduct any type of outreach to their existing patients to find out which ones have not yet gotten the vaccine – and to persuade them to do so.
Instead of being heroes and leaders on the vaccination front, Cleveland Clinic has apparently been content to leave the bulk of the vaccination effort to … local drugstores.
As we reach that 65% stone wall where COVID-19 vaccinations will make no progress without aggressive outreach, I am writing to ask if your hospital chain currently has plans to become more pro-active in getting Clevelanders vaccinated.
If so, I am requesting that you make public your plans, if any, to the Cleveland area media and the general public by the end of the month, if not sooner.
This way, if you are planning to do no outreach, we can prepare for your absence in the vaccination effort aimed at the hard to persuade.
I await your response.