Dedicated behind-the-scenes employees at Spokane Transit, Sacred Heart Medical Center, and many other regional service providers are working to support front-line staff and their communities through the COVID-19 crisis.

As grateful as we are for our front-line essential employees, it’s also important to recognize the contributions of those working behind the scenes to support them. Spokane Transit is proud to continue to provide public transit service to all essential workers aiding the region’s recovery.

“It really does take a village,” said Steve Blaska, STA’s Chief Operations Officer and Incident Commander. “You may only see those working on the front line, but don’t forget, there are entire support teams behind the scenes, who make it possible for those front-line people to serve.”

Right A colorful reminder outside Sacred Heart reads, ‘Our Heroes Wear Scrubs!’

Let’s meet a few of them. Not only do these essential employees work to support their front-line co-workers at Sacred Heart Medical Center, they are also big supporters of Spokane Transit and the agency’s efforts to provide safe essential transportation services during the COVID-19 crisis.

Take David Buob for example. He is the Senior Reimbursement Analyst for Providence St. Joseph Health Shared Services. True, when you think of an essential health care provider, an accountant probably isn’t the first person that comes to mind. But when it comes to hospital management, it definitely takes a team, and what’s behind the scenes at Sacred Heart is just as essential as what’s happening on the front lines. RightDavid Buob heads to work on Route 12.

David works on the financial end of health care. His team is responsible for capturing reimbursements for services provided at all Providence hospitals. Without this important work, Providence hospitals would not have adequate operational funds and would be unable to provide the state-of-the-art medical services people depend on.

As a CPA, David naturally looks for efficiencies and ideas that make good financial sense. So he was pleased when the West Plains Transit Center opened in 2019, giving him quick and easy transit access to his job site. The opportunity to lessen single-occupancy vehicles on area roads was significant to him as well. It also didn’t hurt that he was now able to alleviate the daily hassle of finding a place to park his car.

Since the outbreak, David has been able to do some work from home, but still needs to travel in to his office on the Sacred Heart campus when his home internet is running below par or he’s working with Medicare auditors. It’s at these times he appreciates the great and timely service he’s come to expect from STA bus drivers.

“In my opinion, STA services are unquestionably essential,” David said. “People rely on public transportation for necessary living, health and work needs.”

Patient Registrar Eileen Tilque is a co-worker of David’s and also a friend of transit. She has seen a lot in the 30 years she’s worked at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. But she’s never seen anything quite like the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Her advice? “Stay home unless you absolutely have to be somewhere, and practice safe distancing like your life depends on it, because it does.”

She also says to make sure you’re wearing a mask if you do need to come in for medical attention. As a patient registrar, you’ll likely meet Eileen at check-in, and you can be sure she’ll be wearing a mask, too.

Eileen is relieved that the buses are still operating so that people without other means of transportation can still make their medical appointments. She’s been riding STA buses for 41 years and knows the critical role public transportation plays in many people’s lives.

“Not everyone has a car or someone who can take them places,” she said. “People need to be able to get to work or medical appointments.”

Christina Banda is relatively new to Sacred Heart and she’s loving her job as Senior Project Manager for Clinical Effectiveness. She also loves the bus. She’s been riding STA since 2013.

“I enjoy the convenience of getting to work without struggling to find parking,” Christina said. “I also like being able to track my reduced carbon footprint online.”

STA riders can calculate their money savings and carbon footprint here.

Christina is impressed with the precautionary measures STA has taken to help guarantee safety for riders and drivers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Although she is now working from home, she still uses the bus for grocery shopping and getting to medical appointments.

Christina Banda is relatively new to Sacred Heart and she’s loving her job as Senior Project Manager for Clinical Effectiveness. She also loves the bus. She’s been riding STA since 2013.

“I enjoy the convenience of getting to work without struggling to find parking,” Christina said. “I also like being able to track my reduced carbon footprint online.”

STA riders can calculate their money savings and carbon footprint here.

Christina Banda appreciates the safety measures STA has in place to help protect riders using public transportation to get to doctor’s appointments and other essential trips.

Christina is impressed with the precautionary measures STA has taken to help guarantee safety for riders and drivers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Although she is now working from home, she still uses the bus for grocery shopping and getting to medical appointments.

“I appreciate seeing that the buses’ front entrances are blocked and that fares have been suspended,” Christina said. “These are great safety measures. It was also nice to hear assurance from Susan, STA’s CEO, about what else is being done to make sure the buses are safe during the pandemic.”
 
Having public transportation available right now is important to Christina. She is concerned for people who don’t have a car or who have lost their jobs due to the outbreak, and don’t have extra money to spend on fuel or auto maintenance.

“People still need to get to their regular medical appointments,” Christina said. “Many need these appointments for treatments that affect their quality of life and maintain their well being.”

It is also a means for caregivers to get to Sacred Heart to care for those affected by COVID-19 and to help in making sure that the disease is contained.

“The virus moves if we are moving. Stopping the spread means staying in isolation,” Christina said. “But if you have essential trips you need to take to work, the grocery store, or a medical appointment, Spokane Transit is here to get there.”

Thanks to David Buob, Eileen Tilque, Christina Banda, and all the behind-the-scenes essential service employees who are doing what it takes to support the Spokane region through this difficult time.

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