Confronting Crisis, Remaining Calm
Health Center Responds to COVID-19
Contact Name: Kari Ellingstad
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Phone Number: 941.539.3949
As health care providers across the globe confront the COVID-19 pandemic, our local safety-net health care providers are active in the battle to keep our communities safe and healthy.
CenterPlace Health is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) with three sites in Sarasota County, caring for tens of thousands each year, serving a population that is largely low-income, often uninsured.
In communities where testing is more available and wide-spread, data suggests that low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus.
“These are our patients,” said Melissa Parker, CEO of CenterPlace Health. “Every day, we are testing for COVID-19, while also managing other illnesses and chronic conditions. Every day we are on a hunt for tests and testing supplies, and for personal protective equipment (PPE) for our staff and those patients most at risk. We are grateful for the donations we’ve received. But testing is essential to confront this crisis on a community level. We need to be more aggressive with testing, and I wish that testing was more accessible for our patients.”
Like many organizations, CenterPlace Health has had to adapt in the face of the current crisis, and Parker credits her staff for making the adjustments needed to better serve patients and the community.
“We’ve set up triage stations outside our buildings to check temperatures and assess symptoms, limiting visitors and enforcing social distancing in our patient spaces. We’ve implemented AM/PM scheduling: Morning visits for well-patients, afternoon visits for those who are sick, with good sanitation of all patient spaces in-between. We’ve introduced telehealth – making it easier for our patients to safely connect with our providers via ‘virtual’ visits. I’m really proud of our team and what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
The pandemic has also provided opportunities for creative collaborations. In partnership with All Faiths Food Bank, CenterPlace Health is launching an initiative to offer care packages of food for sick patients.
With the economic downturn and its associated job losses and income reduction, the number of uninsured is likely to increase, along with demand for services from health centers like CenterPlace.
“We want people know that we are here and ready to serve. Beyond COVID-19, we’re still trying to meet the needs of our patients and our community.”
CenterPlace Health accepts Medicaid, Medicare and many forms of private health insurance. For those without insurance coverage, a sliding fee scale is available, based on income and family size.
For more information, call 941.529.0200 or visit www.centerplacehealth.org .