Dr. Deborah Birx, M.D., praised ArchCare leadership and staff for being innovative in treating the more than 9,000 people they serve in long-term care facilities and at their homes throughout the archdiocese during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It was not just that you were providing physical care. You were providing emotional and deep spiritual care that many of our elderly needed,” said Dr. Birx, who served as White House Coronavirus response coordinator under President Donald Trump.
She was speaking at the sold-out ArchCare gala at Gotham Hall Oct. 28, which raised $1.5 million for ArchCare’s mission of caring for seniors, the materially poor and individuals with special needs.
Cardinal Dolan and Scott LaRue, president and CEO of ArchCare, were among the other speakers. Three-time Tony Award nominee Mary Testa performed, and author, television writer, producer and filmmaker Adriana Trigiani served as host.
“When I was talking to Scott (LaRue) on the phone, it was very apparent you have an extraordinary leader, but an extraordinary leader that is supported by an extraordinary board,” Dr. Birx said. “I will tell you many places fell apart in this last 20 months. What they had to face and difficulties that leaders had confronted was extraordinary, but you really got to see leaders at their best or at their worst. Hearing Scott, I saw a leader at their best.”
Dr. Birx commended ArchCare for having the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and tests available for the people they serve and staff.
“I think what we will see out of this is institutions like ArchCare that, instead of looking away, looked forward,” she said.
“ArchCare saved the highest number of elderly I have experienced and seen in all of my travels. That was not easy. I think you all should be celebrating tonight the lives that ArchCare saved because the diligence of everybody here tonight, the funding they received and the strong leadership of Scott and his team, and the chief medical officer.
“They had to innovate to save those individuals’ lives because we didn’t realize in March 2020 that even the elderly could get asymptomatic Covid and they were spreading it to the nursing homes themselves.”