Advance Community Health Adapts to Change, Offers More Options to Public During COVID-19 Pandemic
By: Kelly Wright, Director of Marketing and Communications, 919-752-8555
RALEIGH, NC – Advance Community Health’s mission is to deliver quality, compassionate primary healthcare – every patient, every time – in response to the needs of our communities. In response to COVID-19, we want to assure our patients, our future patients, and our most vulnerable populations, that we are here for them in a number of ways to help them maintain and manage their health throughout this pandemic.
As a community health center, we welcome everyone regardless of their ability to pay. We are strategically located throughout Wake and Franklin counties to serve those that need us the most. Our locations include Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Louisburg and Oak City Cares. As life gets harder for our communities due to unemployment, homelessness, access to care, declining health, and a fear for their own safety, we are adapting our care to include more options. Neglecting regular healthcare during this pandemic can lead to bigger problems. Therefore, we have immediately implemented new strategies in order to take care of our patients in a healthy and safe way.
One of the first changes we implemented is moving our Pharmacy outside to offer curbside service for our patients. We also started offering telehealth and telephone visits and produced a video explaining the process to our patients. “Some of our patient population was struggling with telehealth, whether they don’t have access to the internet or are confused by the interface, so we quickly realized we had to get creative and offer help to our patients by providing curbside telehealth,” says Dr. Rebecca Reeves, Chief Clinical Officer. “In lieu of trying to have patients figure it out at home, we are offering for them to come to us, without coming inside, and we personally walk them through the process step by step from their vehicle.” Advance Community Health also offers curbside COVID-19 testing, teledentistry and options for virtual mental health visits.
In cases where it is necessary for the patient to come in for healthcare or labs, we can schedule a POD visit. PODs are individually contained tents that we constructed inside of our Raleigh locations and other sites, in order to keep patients at a safe distance from anyone else who may be in the building at the same time. We also implemented PODS at Oak City Cares for our patients experiencing homelessness. “They’re able to walk-in and be seen virtually by a provider. We’ve also taken on a few more patients since the pandemic and are happy they’re able to use our services,” remarks Ryan Jury, Chief Operating Officer.
In addition to offering our patients care in as many ways as possible during this pandemic, we have posted a resource page, social media alerts, an external newsletter, and communicated through our patient portal. We’re handing out flyers at Oak City Cares, and we’re beginning to send texts out to all of our registered patients. “We will continue to explore opportunities and enact relevant changes to directly serve our communities through the pandemic and beyond,” says Penella Washington, CEO.
We welcome anyone who is not a patient with us to register as a new patient and explore their insurance or other payment options like our sliding scale. New patients can reach us at 919-833-3111 to schedule an appointment at any of our locations. And for those experiencing a change in income during this pandemic, we have specialists on-site that can help patients explore their insurance options through the Marketplace.
Advance Community Health is a non-profit community health center in Wake and Franklin counties with a mission to provide primary care services to all, including privately insured, uninsured, under-insured, and medically-underserved patients. For more than 45 years we have been an anchor of quality, compassionate care for more than 25,000 patients of all ages. The community-based, patient-driven center provides comprehensive primary healthcare, dental care, nutrition education, behavioral health, and operates the Horizon Healthcare for the Homeless program at Oak City Cares.