When Manolo Garcia, senior vice president of information technology at Consulate Health Care started his career in the US Air Force many years ago, he had his sights set on being an airplane pilot. But, because it was before the time of corrective eye surgery, and Manolo needed to wear glasses, being a pilot was not an option. Instead, he became a top-notch project manager in the Air Force. He served for 20 years, and then continued his career outside the military. His project management career has spanned industries including finance, communications, logistics, and now health care.
When he started at Consulate over six years ago, he served as the vice president for program intake, where Manolo was quickly recognized for being a talented leader within the IT department. When his predecessor left Consulate earlier this year, Manolo’s achievements in the IT department were rewarded with a promotion to his boss’s job.
The timing of Manolo’s promotion coincided exactly with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, so there was no time to ease into the job. Fortunately, Manolo was ready for the challenge because he was already familiar with the IT department and its resources. There were several things that needed to be addressed quickly, and he was ready to dig in immediately.
“While the IT department does not deliver direct patient care in our care centers, they can give practitioners the tools they need to deliver the care,” explained Manolo. In our new COVID-19 world, that meant immediately stepping up the progress of telemedicine. Telemedicine started in four Consulate care centers just over a year ago, allowing practitioners to consult with residents at all hours of the day and night, often preventing patients from making costly, inconvenient, and unnecessary visits to the hospital. Some of the federal regulations governing telemedicine have been loosened because of COVID-19, and Consulate’s IT department was able to do an enormous amount of work behind the scenes enabling more care centers to go live with telemedicine.
This pandemic made it evident that the rollout of the electronic health record (PCC) needed to be accelerated across Consulate centers. Again, with the coordination of IT staff and care center staff, PCC will be rolled out to an additional 66 centers. Since early March, families have been prohibited from visiting their loved ones in the care centers in an effort to protect staff and residents from the virus, so the IT department rolled out additional Zoom capabilities for care centers very quickly, which provided another resource for families to communicate with their loved ones using the technology platform.
Stay-at-home orders issued by many state governors forced all workers to work remotely unless they are deemed essential, like our Consulate’s health care heroes on the front lines. Although all of our staff, even in the corporate office are deemed essential, in an effort to comply with stay-at-home orders where possible, IT had to make allowances for staff to work remotely. The IT department had to quickly provide equipment, install software, and purchase equipment to accommodate everyone’s needs.
Manolo is able to see a silver lining from the coronavirus pandemic. He credits Consulate’s senior leadership for recognizing the opportunities presented by COVID-19. Instead of taking a reactive, tactical approach to the challenges, he appreciates that Consulate is taking a strategic outlook that will have benefits for the long-term success of the company. “It’s rewarding to work for that type of company,” he said.
Consulate’s CEO, Chris Bryson, said “In a time of crisis we have two choices. We can hunker down and hope that we come out of it as good as we went into it, or we can seize opportunities to improve and come out even better as an organization. I am proud that Manolo and his team are helping us to do the latter with these technological advances.” It’s hard to imagine how Manolo was able to take on all of the challenges of COVID-19 with such grace and fortitude. But understanding his motivation helps. Manolo likes working in an organization like Consulate, where people are happy and have good attitudes. He is driven by the knowledge that his department’s work is helping to take care of America’s most frail and elderly population during a crisis where they’re at the highest risk. Finally, he said that he is driven by passion. He said that if you don’t have passion, you aren’t able to pursue things as hard as you can. It’s clear that Manolo’s passion for his work is the driving force behind his continued achievements in the Information Technology department, even in the face of a global pandemic.
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