Providing care through uncertainty
Amy Falk, CEO of Health Partnership Clinic located in Johnson County, estimated that the organization had a 60% drop in patient volume, resulting in a major dip in revenues. This threatened to shut down the community health center’s operations in a time their vulnerable patients needed them most. But with the help of United Way of Greater Kansas City and other local donors through the Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery fund, the community health center was able to continue providing care to their clients.
“Whether it paid for a partial provider salary or necessary medical supplies, offsetting that lost revenue ensured that we could be here for our patients well into the future,” she said.
Health Partnership Clinic is focused on providing high quality, affordable, accessible and culturally appropriate care to all individuals regardless of ability to pay. Patients of the health center have access to medical, dental, community outreach, behavioral health and now telemedicine services.
While the non-profit’s Behavioral Health department had been practicing telepsychiatry regularly before the virus, Amy said patients are now able to access other medical services virtually.
“We had the technology already set up, and the infrastructure was there,” she said. “So, it was more about training staff and our patients to use the technology for visits.”
But without adequate funding, the clinic may not have been able to retain essential medical staff, pay for protective equipment or keep their doors open for medical emergencies. Amy said the funding was significant in making sure they could do all this and more.
“It really is a community effort to take care of our patients and this funding has allowed us to do so,” she said. “But we are not through this yet. Ongoing support is critical to the work any of us are doing because we really don't know what is around the corner.”
As of now, coronavirus cases continue increase across the US at a steady pace. Health Partnership Clinic is doing their part in pandemic efforts by providing virtual visits to those with symptoms, and in-person testing for at risk individuals. Providing coronavirus testing for all people, regardless of their ability to pay, is crucial in reducing the spread of the virus. But Amy said the never-ending changes in protocols and procedures, alongside the inherent dangers of the virus, takes its toll on healthcare providers
“Not only are we taking on the stress of caring for potentially infected individuals and constantly changing information, but we’re also dealing with the stress that you and I are. We’re worrying about our families,” she said.
Despite all this, Amy said her providers remain strong and that the Kansas City COVID-19 Regional Response and Recovery Fund helps them hold on to hope through it all.
“It’s been very heartwarming from a team perspective. The community rallying around us support those efforts. That has meant so much.”