Rachel Viquez, HPCCR’s Employee Health Manager, was honored by the Charlotte Business Journal on September 23rd at an awards event held at the Westin Hotel.
Rachel was recognized as a Health Care Hero finalist (Nursing category) for her extraordinary dedication and commitment to HPCCR employee’s health and well-being during the covid-19 pandemic.
Rachel Viquez, RN, joined Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region in December of 2018 as its lone Employee Health Coordinator. Her primary responsibility was the overall health and well-being of approximately 500 employees, which has since grown to nearly 750 employees over 15 locations in 33 counties and two states. Since coming on board, Rachel has converted all employee and volunteer health records from hard copy to electronic, redesigned and streamlined the CPR training program, implemented a successful pre-onboarding health system for new hires, managed all incidents of the organization’s workers compensation program resulting in an incredibly low MOD rate of .65, as well as other accomplishments that have contributed to the health and well being of HPCCR’s staff and volunteers.
As if she wasn’t one already, beginning in March of 2020 Rachel Viquez demonstrated what being a Healthcare Hero is all about as her focus shifted almost 100% to the Global pandemic. Rachel created, implemented, and trained employees on COVID-19 policies and procedures. She created policies/record keeping systems in compliance with the OSHA ETS standard and the CMS COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate. She worked with leaders to ensure there was adequate PPE supply and proper distribution to all locations and made sure PPE policies and guidelines were updated, communicated, and enforced as CDC changes were made.
Throughout the pandemic, she traveled to all locations to ensure staff were kept as safe as possible. She provided N95 FIT testing, continuous education, compassion, and patience to all of our employees by attending in-person and virtual departmental meetings, educating, and reassuring employees. With so much unknown about Covid-19, especially in the beginning, Rachel would research on her own time to be prepared for the daily bombardment of questions, fears, and tears. Her own knowledge allowed her to exude confidence, which helped alleviate fears. Largely because of her, HPCCR did not lose a single employee due to the pandemic.
When the vaccine was made available, Rachel was once again a non-judgmental listening ear, providing timely, factual information about vaccinations, their availability, clinics, and more. As a result, HPCCR was 100% compliant with OSHA vaccination requirements. Rachel provided weekly COVID testing for our clinical staff, with some getting swabbed twice, even three times, a week. Rachel conducted and/or oversaw over 3,000 COVID tests. Rachel also understood that the concern for COVID safety wasn’t just for the 700+ HPCCR employees, but also for their families. Rachel would swab/test our kids, our significant others, and anyone important to our employees. She would drive to meet them halfway, meet them in the parking lot, or even drive to their homes if feasible. Employees and their family members could simply ‘ask Rachel’ and receive trusted guidance. She became a household name.
Mr. Rogers said, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
Rachel Viquez is not just a helper - she is our Healthcare Hero.
Congratulations and way to go, Rachel!