BTS: UHealth physician rolls up his sleeves to lead

BTS: UHealth physician rolls up his sleeves to lead

By Jennifer Palma Sanchez

BTS: UHealth physician rolls up his sleeves to lead

By Jennifer Palma Sanchez
As his urgent care center doubled as a COVID-19 employee testing site, UHealth physician Ambert Louis stepped up when it mattered the most. Learn how he and his team are handling the changing landscape of health care.

Ambert Louis, a physician for UHealth Jackson Urgent Care, has seen just about everything during the past three years at the Country Walk location in Miami. On any given day, he treats patients with a variety of needs—ranging from cold and flu symptoms to minor lacerations and fractures and everything in between. While no two days are exactly alike, Louis and the skilled nursing and ancillary staff handle every situation as a team. 

When COVID-19 came into the picture, he and his team worked to provide their usual patient care services and stepped up to broaden their scope to include COVID-19 testing for Jackson Health System employees.

At the time, testing supplies and PPE were still in limited supply. So, when Louis’ location opened for testing, the effort had the potential to inundate the staff. 

“In line with trying to protect our most vulnerable patients, the decision was made to test all Jackson Health System long-term care employees. As such, our location was tasked with testing large numbers of employees,” shared Louis. “I decided to suit up in protective gear and join the staff to collect the nasopharyngeal swabs, helping to safely streamline the process.”

An action that may seem ordinary to some allowed for the entire team to complete the necessary tests in a timely fashion, ultimately preserving the well-being of frontline workers and patients. 

“I know that the majority of our physicians and staff fall into the same category as Dr. Louis, but it’s important to recognize each act of selflessness—not one action is too small,” said E. Robert Schwartz, a family medicine physician for UHealth, who also serves as the director of the Family Medicine Faculty Practice and the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

Schwartz, who is also chief of service for family medicine for the Jackson Health System and UHealth partnership, emphasized the importance of urgent care centers during the pandemic.

“Frontline urgent care can sometimes be tedious,” Shwartz explained. “The day-to-day interactions with patients and the community may seem small in nature, but together each treatment is incredibly impactful to the bigger picture.”  

For Louis and the urgent care staff, COVID-19 presented an influx of challenges within the urgent care setting. 

“In addition to testing and providing our usual urgent care services, we have also treated patients with COVID-19 symptoms, providing medical guidance and serving as a bridge to appropriate care when necessary,” said Louis.

He went on to explain that his team had to shift its focus to treat many secondary effects of the pandemic, including the limited or lack of access to usual primary care services and increased levels of anxiousness. 

“Our urgent care team has excelled in providing streamlined testing for Jackson employees while continuing to offer quality care and service to our local communities,” added Louis. “I hope that my ability to step in and assist the team helped lessen the burden on our staff, facilitate patient safety, and strengthen team morale.” 

When asked what keeps him motivated, even on difficult days, Louis credited those around him. “The team camaraderie; direction, and encouragement from senior leadership; and the love from my children, family, and friends have continued to provide inspiration during these times.”