Beyond the bedside: Working for better health care during a crisis

Beyond the bedside: Working for better health care during a crisis

It’s been a full circle moment for Thomas McDaniels, who became the director of federal government affairs at Advocate Aurora Health just over a year ago.

He started his work in the health care field analyzing and providing medical recommendations to Gulf War veterans returning home. Since then, he’s witnessed his elderly parents struggle to navigate the complexities of health care.

“My parents’ experiences have shown me a lot about how health care is delivered, so it’s my hope that my background and experience can help make a difference to them and others like them,” he said.

When the world was hit with COVID-19, our nation’s health care system was rocked to its core. Emergency rooms were flooded with sick patients, many requiring ventilators for any chance of survival.

While McDaniels and his team were not at the bedside of patients, their work was critical in getting Advocate Aurora Health the money needed to support clinical teams.

“Last year, we worked closely to explain the needs of hospitals as Congress drafted and passed the CARES Act which injected billions of dollars to support the health care system during the pandemic,” McDaniels said.

As the government continues its efforts to get the pandemic under control, McDaniels hopes to be able to engage Congress and the new administration to explore partnerships that can improve health outcomes for Black Americans.

“We know there’s been expressed interest from (President Joe) Biden’s administration in promoting programs and possibly giving more funding to address health care disparities and outcomes,” said McDaniels. “Our Black communities need access to quality health care in close proximity so this may require access to capital to build businesses within those communities.”

Over the past year, McDaniels said he’s realized more than ever that we must speak up and show up for others. He believes that in order for us to truly be diverse and inclusive, we must address and eliminate institutional biases so that everyone has equal opportunities and protections.

“We need to continue highlighting the many positive aspects of our Black history, culture and communities,” McDaniels said. “I love Black History Month because we celebrate great people from our past and there is a great need for that since our Black heroes and ‘sheroes’ haven’t been included in the education of most Americans.”


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One Comment

  1. Wasserman, Margaret February 11, 2021 at 6:43 am · Reply

    I am very glad that we have a director of federal government affairs at Advocate Aurora Health! I had not been aware of that and I think it’s so important that we be connected on a federal level to insure the very best care for ALL of our patients. Thank-you for sharing this. Thank-you Mr McDaniels!

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About the Author

Toya Campbell
Toya Campbell

Latoya Campbell, health enews contributor, is a Public Affairs Coordinator at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a BS degree in Communications/Broadcast Journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and previously worked in digital and graphic marketing for a public library. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, fitness activities and a good spa day.