Texas in February: where the average temperature high is typically in the 60s. Imagine neighborhood streets full of kids playing on scooters and local parks bustling with games of ultimate frisbee. That’s the Texas in February we all know and love. It’s why the snowbirds come in for the season and vacationers wonder why they don’t live here year-round.
But 2021 was… different. And how could it not be?! If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. In 2021, for a crippling few days, there were no seasonal highs, and there were no weekend warriors. Instead, we were met with cold and snow. And a lot of snow, at that.
We had the Snowmageddon of 2021.
A once-in-a-generation snowstorm brought Central Texas to its knees. While the whole country watched it all unfold on the evening news, Texans beared the brunt of record-breaking low temperatures, freezing rain, 12 inches of snow, and everything else Mother Nature could conjure up. Roads became impassable in the blink of an eye, 100-year-old oak trees crashed down as if Paul Bunyan himself had swung his mighty axe, and power lines went down as temperatures dipped into the negative range. Negative temperatures in Texas? Is that even a thing? For several days, more than 4 million households in Texas were without electricity, water, or both at the same time.
Here in Austin, a respected partner of CareHive’s, Premier Family Physicians (PFP) was equally as affected. For context, CareHive is the after-hours provider for PFP. When PFP turns off the lights on evenings, weekends, and holidays, CareHive takes over. By extending the incredible service PFP provides to their patients, we offer a streamlined integrated experience for their patients to prevent them from having to find an after-hours alternative for their needs. Whether a patient just needs a prescription refill or is dealing with an urgent issue, CareHive is there to meet the needs of PFP patients and to provide seamless communication with the clinicians of PFP, guaranteeing the practice remains the centralized medical home for their patients.
During the Snowmageddon of 2021, after-hours came sooner than expected for both PFP and CareHive. Like so many other businesses in the area, PFP was forced to temporarily close operations as power went out in their offices and in the homes of many of their staff members. (At one point, 75% of the city was without electricity!) As a result of suspending operations, their phone lines were routed to the dedicated PFP/CareHive after-hours line, and it was time for CareHive to do what we do best: go above and beyond to service the needs of our client and their patients.
Over a four-day period, CareHive fielded more than 500% of our typical volume of calls. A team of administrators, nurses, physicians, advanced practice providers, and patient experience staff members came together to meet several times each day. We discussed anything and everything: Who had power? Who had internet? Who could talk to patients? Who could see patients over video? What pharmacies were open?
Truly, when we say everything, we mean everything. It was the beauty of the machine on full display, and it functioned gloriously.
“In our years of partnership, CareHive has consistently demonstrated a high standard when caring for our patients, and this epic weather event was yet another example where that came shining through,” said Dr. Kevin Spencer, President & CEO of Premier Family Physicians. “As we worked on getting our operations back online, CareHive stepped in and provided exceptional care to our patients, going the extra mile day and night to provide care and comfort. We were extremely thankful for this partnership during these extreme conditions.”
CareHive kept PFP’s lights on with minimal disruption to their practice and their patients. We provided 24/7 coverage just as we always do. When one of our own staff experienced a rolling electrical outage, another staff member would step up to fill the gap. We continued to fire on all cylinders as we pushed ourselves to perform to the same high standard as we do on any other day, despite the crazy conditions around us.
So who did CareHive care for during the storm? Well, that’s hard to count. There were patients with routine needs that still needed to be addressed, such as high blood pressure and asthma. There were patients with COVID that needed guidance. There were some patients on home oxygen that needed us to arrange a solution by coordinating with EMS to supply them with new oxygen tanks as their current ones became depleted. There were patients with either heart disease, diabetes, or mental health illness that were all able to avoid crises that would have otherwise sent them to the ER, as we found alternate pharmacies that could provide their medications. In one instance, we were even able to arrange home delivery of medications, through the ice and snow, to a patient with mobility issues.
Why did we do it? What pushed CareHive employees to work so hard for patients all while simultaneously navigating the effects the storm wreaked on our own personal lives? The answer is very simple: taking care of patients is in our DNA. We are here to be a trusted partner to our clients, no matter the circumstances, while going above and beyond to provide care to their patients at the most meaningful moments in their lives. It’s just what we do.
Rest assured, things did get better in Central Texas. In fact, it was back in the 60s the following week as the snow melted away. Kids immediately found their way back onto their scooters and ultimate frisbee was back in session at the parks. It’s like the whole thing never happened! But we all know better…
Mother Nature truly works in mysterious ways. One thing is for certain, though: CareHive will always be there for our clients and their patients, no matter the circumstances.
CareHive has industry-best ratings and patient satisfaction, with over 10,000 5-star reviews, a 92 NPS, and award-winning customer service. We truly care, and we demonstrate it every day. Our partners and patients love us!