Rising to the Occasion: Incredible FQHCs Overcoming COVID-19
Posted by Raffie Sescon
In January, a man returning from a family visit in Wuhan, China, became the US’s first COVID-19 patient. No one knew what it meant for our healthcare system, our country, and the world. No one even expected what it meant for the 28 million underserved and uninsured Americans relying on Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).
In the last eight months, the coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill. While many of our hospitals were indeed pushed to the edge, community-based health organizations such as FQHCs have borne the brunt of the pandemic.
It’s not difficult to see why community clinics are struggling. Many people lost their jobs in the pandemic, and in turn, lost their insurance. When FQHCs were needed most, they faced more challenges than ever.
Operational disruptions, staffing shortages, and dwindling federal support all put the resilience of FQHCs to the test. Across the nation, however, the commitment to their mission has never been stronger.
Here are three things incredible things FQHCs are doing during the pandemic:
Expanding Care to Those in Need
Despite the financial fallout brought by the crisis, Elica Health Centers is now looking to open three new health centers right here in Meditab’s own Sacramento area. At the start of the pandemic, thousands of health centers temporarily closed as patients abandoned in-person appointments. With Elica’s expansion, thousands of low-income patients will have a better opportunity to access health care.
When the pandemic hit them hard, Elica recovered through a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program and expanded its Telehealth options to provide patients with a safer alternative to in-person visits. Which leads to our next case...
Making the Most of Telehealth
Based in a small island community off Maine’s coast, Islands Community Medical Services uses Telehealth to its full potential. The clinic has extended surfaces, looking to maintain value-based care and combat the issues preventing patients from accessing healthcare. Telehealth has helped make that happen despite social distancing measures.
While federal and state guidelines surrounding remote care have eased during the pandemic, the future is still uncertain. Beyond COVID-19, Christina Quinlan, the director of operations for Islands Community Medical Services, advocates Telehealth’s value, saying it’s not just a tool in the box, but “the best tool.”
Research and Paving the Way Forward
Canton & Company published a white paper detailing the effects of COVID-19 on FQHCs, how they are dealing with the pandemic, and how they are moving forward. One of the drastic transitions many FQHCs have gone through is the adoption of virtual healthcare, giving other healthcare organizations valuable insights into approaching the new normal.
Above all, FQHCs have been incredibly resilient despite being the hardest hit by COVID-19. As tough as their mission, FQHCs evolved instead of becoming casualties of the pandemic. Going above and beyond for patients is their second nature, even amid a crisis.
Supporting Community Health
FQHCs help millions of patients who otherwise would not be able to access care, especially during a public health crisis. As a lifeline to low-income patients, community health providers are the unsung heroes of the healthcare world during the pandemic.
Their commitment to that cause inspires us at Meditab to build better solutions for FQHCs, matching that same compassion and expertise - making our platform all-in-one, yet specialized, and comprehensive, yet easy-to-use.
To learn more about Meditab’s FQHC practice platform, click here.