Boston Centers Get a Boost from Facebook & Boston Police Commissioner William Gross with Delivery of N95 Respirator Masks
Roxbury, MA – Boston community health centers -- like their statewide peers -- are in desperate need of personal protective equipment (PPE) to safeguard their patients and healthcare providers amid the coronavirus outbreak. On Saturday, April 4, they received a delivery of more than 7,000 N95 respirator masks from Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, courtesy of Facebook Corporate. The masks will be distributed to the city's 22 community health centers which collectively provide care to more than 350,000 city residents -- or one in every two.
"We are extremely grateful to Facebook, Mayor Walsh and Commissioner Gross for this critically needed protective equipment," said James W. Hunt, Jr., president & CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. "Health centers both in Boston and across the state continue to be on the frontlines of responding to the coronavirus in lower-income communities disproportionately at risk for COVID-19."
Community health centers across the state are rapidly responding to the need for the screening and testing of COVID-19 patients while simultaneously caring for patients who are walking into their primary care locations with urgent non-COVID-19 related medical needs.
"As hospitals become more and more overwhelmed by the pandemic, the pressure on health centers to not only test suspect cases, see potentially infected but asymptomatic patients, and treat individuals with complex conditions like heart disease, diabetes and asthma will only increase." said Hunt. "With some community health centers reporting just days' worth of PPE supplies, the situation is becoming untenable."
The state's 52 community health center organizations are reporting major declines in revenue – some of which is tied to low supplies of PPE that prevent them from providing a range of care, including dental and optometry. Capital Link, a national non-profit that assists health centers with capital and finance needs, says that over the next 12 weeks alone, those declines will result in income losses of between $109 million and $152 million statewide.
The presentation was made at Whittier Street Health Center in Roxbury. Attendees included Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers' President and CEO James W. Hunt, Jr. and Deputy CEO Michael Curry, and Whittier Street Neighborhood Health Center President & CEO Frederica Williams.
Click HERE to view coverage of the delivery on NBC Boston News.
Statement of Need: Community Health Centers Issue Dire Plea
BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Working with CEOs of primary care associations across the country, the National Association of Community Health Centers requests immediate financial relief of between $3.2 and $3.3 billion through the federal Stimulus Bill. Our nation’s community health centers, which provide critical primary care to 29 million lower-income Americans could see total losses exceeding $3 billion over the next 12 weeks alone. We need help now.
When, not if, there is a surge of COVID-19 patients, we are deeply concerned that we won’t be here to relieve pressure on hospital emergency rooms, nor here to help save lives.
The driving factors behind this revenue decline are simple:
- Reduced services: As we transition our organizations to rapidly respond to the need for screening and testing of COVID-19 patients, we are being forced to make excruciating decisions in real time to curtail or suspend non-urgent services and close sites, resulting in dramatic revenue reductions.
- Reduced workforce: Both COVID-19 exposed and high risk quarantined staff are unable to work, as well as employees forced to stay home as caregivers due to school and childcare closures.
Reductions in service lines and depressed visits, in combination with workforce and supply shortages, are serving to deplete health center revenue. Early data from Massachusetts health centers indicate declines of between 50 and 70 percent of their net patient service revenue. Based on those rates of decline, our non-profit partner Capital Link estimates that starting now and into the foreseeable future, the nation’s health centers could see total losses exceeding $3 billion over just the next 12 weeks. These losses are not sustainable and would cause a ripple effect through the healthcare continuum if health centers were to close their doors.
The lack of access to personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, and medical tents to isolate, test, and treat patients is also at an acute level and undermining our ability to ensure the safety of health center staff and patients as we work to address the pandemic. Many health centers have indicated that their supplies of masks, N95 respirators, gloves, and testing kits are already exhausted or will be within a matter of days. What’s more, a lack of timely testing also blocks the ability of exposed staff to quickly return to work.
We thank and implore our many supporters in Congress – from both sides of the aisle – to heed our collective states' call as the “canaries in the coal mine” of this crisis. Community health centers’ continued existence is fundamental to the nation’s health care safety net. Our ability to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic and fulfill our public health role in the vulnerable communities we serve is irreplaceable. As the Stimulus Bill is finalized, it is critical that it include the requested funding for Community Health Centers.
California Primary Care Association, Carmela Castellano-Garcia, CEO
Community Health Center Association of New York Rose Duhan, President & CEO
Illinois Primary Care Association, Jordan Powell, CEO
Indiana Primary Health Care Association, Ben Harvey, CEO
Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, James W. Hunt, Jr., President & CEO
Michigan Primary Care Association, Dennis Litos, Interim CEO
Missouri Primary Care Association, Joseph Pierle, CEO
Ohio Association of Community Health Centers, Randy Runyon, President & CEO
Washington Association for Community Health, Bob Marsalli, CEO
Health Center Year of the Nurse and Midwife
The World Health Organization has designated 2020 as Year of the Nurse and Midwife in honor of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.
Starting in January 2020, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) will celebrate health center nurses, including health center nurse leaders, and
their contributions to health centers and their communities. Click here to nominate a nurse or share a story. For more information
on NACHC's celebration activities, click here.