"Anas worked tirelessly to assure there would be access to care at ARC for patients. He led ARC to quickly establish resources for drive through COVID testing, telemedicine visits, obtaining PPE for ARC employees, and navigating ARC through the hardest time in ARC's history."
"Anas Daghestani, MD, CEO of Austin Regional Clinic, has 'gone above and beyond in ways that deserve recognition' and displayed 'emotional resilience that lifts the entire team' for the past 12 months of the COVID pandemic. As another ARC leader said last year, 'Anas really did provide the stable center that held all the pieces together.' His ultimate goal was to make the right decisions for the company, the staff, and its physician-owners without allowing patient care to suffer. A pivotal point in the crisis was the decision, with concurrence of the management team, to keep all clinics open, thus reaffirming ARC’s commitment to patient access. All 29 ARC clinics remained open for their regularly scheduled hours throughout the acute crisis. That occurred parallel with the rapid expansion of available telemedicine visits from less than 3% prior to mid-March to as high as 70% in April, May and June.
"He supported immediately operationalizing COVID testing tents at five locations throughout the metro area, resulting in as many as 7-10,000 tests per week at its peak.
"Dr. Daghestani faced the financial issues of the pandemic with the goal of not laying off staff by orchestrating creative use of PTO and voluntary short term furloughs, which preserved employee employment and essential benefits. And he led across-the-board salary cuts for exempt management and leadership staff, and all physicians, with his salary reduction being the largest of any.
"Dr. Daghestani’s personal emotional resilience was exhibited during twice weekly web-based ‘town hall’ style meetings for staff and physicians, thus enhancing organizational teamwork and addressing potential fears and misinformation with his optimistic but realistic assessment of conditions on the ground. Rumors and misunderstandings about both the pandemic’s threat and concerns about the group’s financial status were put to rest before they could gain momentum. Throughout this period of time, he maintained an “open door” policy to talk to employees at any level, and encouraged other ARC leadership to do the same. He made –and still makes –himself accessible to media for interviews, webinars, and comments, providing credible and reliable information to the public, often at early or late hours. In addition, he provided leadership in national advocacy groups such as the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), America’s Physicians Group (APG), TCMS and the Texas Medical Association (TMA) to successfully advocate for regulatory relief and parity in payment for virtual visits. He is the paradigm of a mission-driven leader."