Salud Family Health Centers – this year celebrating its 50th anniversary – has transformed its delivery care model to help ensure the safety of its patients and staff.
“We’ve adopted telehealth – phone and video – for all of our patients, including medical, behavioral health, and in many cases even dental,” says Jennifer Morse, Vice President of Development of Salud Family Health Centers, a grantee of your Community Foundation. “Telehealth allows Salud to continue to serve our patients, while decreasing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for patients and staff by limiting traffic into our clinics.”
She adds, “Salud continues to see patients in the clinic and schedules follow-up visits as needed. This is particularly true for prenatal patients, pediatrics and patients with chronic disease.”
According to Jennifer, patients have adapted well to the use of telehealth and have commented on many positive experiences. “Since transportation is not an issue with telehealth, many patients like being able to have a virtual visit without taking time off work or arranging for transportation or day care,” she says. “And many patients have responded positively to behavioral health visits on the phone, finding it an easier way to connect with providers.”
Salud has further adopted a pharmacy pick-up at its Longmont site that allows patients to pick up prescriptions from the safety of their car. Says Jennifer, “Longmont Salud also provides public COVID testing, at no cost, to any individual. Since we started testing in April, we’ve conducted 1,941 tests.”
Indeed, Salud – a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) operating 13 clinic locations, an administrative and training site, and a mobile unit – has a firm commitment to providing care to all community members, regardless of finances, insurance coverage, or ability to pay. Specifically, Salud is focused on low-income, medically underserved populations, as well as migrant and seasonal farmworker populations.
“Most of our patients are being impacted by the increased financial burden on their families, due to reduced household income due to lost or reduced employment,” explains Jennifer. “Add to that the stress of children at home from school, along with multi-generational households where everyone has different needs, and where it’s challenging to social distance if a family member becomes sick.”
She continues, “With so many changes to our delivery model and to the stackable lines of defense, Salud has invested Community Foundation funding toward patient and health worker safety, including PPE such as gowns, face shields, masks, and protective barriers at the front desk. This PPE supports Salud’s dental and medical staff as they provide in-clinic visits, along with drive-through testing that we provide outside of our clinics.”
However, Jennifer notes that dramatic decreases in the number of clinic visits has resulted in decreased revenues. “We’ve had to furlough some staff, but we’re working to bring staff back once we’re financially able to do so,” she concludes.
Your Community Foundation established the COVID-19 Response Fund Boulder County on March 13 to ensure essential services for community members who find themselves at the intersection of being most vulnerable to the virus and most impacted by inequity. Learn more and please consider donating.