An Update on Louisiana

bestfloodThe deadly floodwaters in Louisiana are receding but more rain is expected this week. There have been 13 reported deaths from high waters and 40,000 homes have been damaged by floodwaters, according to news reports.  Thousands of people are currently displaced and living in shelters. The federal government declared a major disaster in the state, and 30 parishes are to be declared flood disasters. NACHC has reached out to our friends at the Louisiana Primary Care Association (LPCA) and learned that while their Baton Rouge building is unaffected, dozens of employees have been impacted, including three people whose homes remain underwater. LPCA is still trying to assess the damage to the FQHC community, but estimates that, based on reports from the field, about 100 employees from health centers in the area have lost their homes.  LPCA is working with a emergency preparedness consultant. Any inquiries or requests to help should be directed to Jasmine Watts.  NACHC’s partner Direct Relief is working to fulfill urgent requests of medicines and medical supplies from health centers and providers throughout central Louisiana.  Here’s what we know so far:

Among the health centers affected is RKM Primary Care, a FQHC under Primary Care Providers for a Healthy Feliciana, Inc. (PCPFHF), which serves over 20,000 patients at five clinic locations. Three of these sites were affected by flooding and were closed. The health center did manage to open a makeshift clinic outside of their Livingston site, which was damaged by flood water. In Clinton, only two of their providers were able to get to the clinic on Monday to treat patients. Direct Relief has sent the health center their first shipment of supplies, which includ Medical Outreach Backpacks, insulin and a Hurricane Prep Pack.

Even if health centers in area avoided flood damage their service areas have been affected. Among them is Eunice Community Health Center, which reports that 200 people have been displaced and are living in shelters. The health center is currently planning their outreach strategies in addition to treating patients at the clinic. They report that seventy percent of their patients are diabetic and are in need of supplies.

There is also St. Gabriel Community Health Center  which operates sites in St. Gabriel and another in Monticello. Both of these sites are operating with minimum staff but have extended their hours. In the immediate area there are 800 homes damaged and about 8,000 people impacted. There is a Red Cross shelter set up across the street in St. Gabriel, where they are performing outreach.

CareSouth is a health center located in Baton Rouge.  The health center did not experience any damage but have since depleted medical supplies while responding to community needs and have requested a replenishment from Direct Relief.

Special thanks to Direct Relief for keeping us updated and for their immediate response to help the FQHC community.  We will keep you updated.

#NHCW16 Is Almost Over… But What a Week It has Been!

There were so many things going on during National Health Center Week 2016  our heads are spinning!  Over 75 Members of Congress toured a health center in their Congressional district, there have been thousands of different events going on — health fairs, breakfasts, picnics,  grand openings of new sites, and much more.  There was even this marriage proposal  that took place during what was supposed to be a fire drill at Ellen Jones Community Dental Center  (a site of Harbor Health Services) in Cape Cod, MA.    Though it may be hard to top a marriage proposal, there are other highlights during #NHCW16 worth noting:

Stay tuned to this blog and we’ll continue to update you on NHCW highlights!

 

National Health Center Week Is Happening Right Now

Tuesday Public HousingHang on to your hats because National Health Center Week 2016 (NHCW) is off and running.  There are nearly 1,400 events scheduled across the country, including visits by 75 Members of Congress to health centers in their districts.  The host of events kicked off earlier this week with a NACHC Teleforum with health center advocates, featuring remarks by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Acting Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration Jim Macrae [see NACHC press release].

Even more exciting is that some elected officials are not just touring health centers and talking about them, they are also writing about them. Check out this op-ed published by U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.  Support for National Health Center Week reaches all the way up to the White House with a Presidential Proclamation from President Barack Obama.   NACHC President and CEO Tom Van Coverden also weighed in about NHCW with this post on The Pulse blog by the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County.

Each day of NHCW is devoted to a special focus of health centers.  Today, we are recognizing the health centers that provide health care to 1.5 million public housing patients. To learn more visit the CFAHC Blog to hear from Kristine Gonnella, Director of Technical Assistance and Consultation at Community Health Partners for Sustainability. You can also check out her podcast and blog post discussing how Public Housing Health Centers are innovators in community health – how they work to provide high-quality, accessible health care for residents of public housing communities.

Stay tuned to this blog for more news about #NHCW16!

Podcast: Zika Virus and Texas

Florida is in the headlines this week after an outbreak of the Zika virus.  The Florida Department of Health has identified an area in one neighborhood of Miami where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes  At least 14 people have been infected.  This is the first locally transmitted Zika outbreak in the continental United States. A travel advisory has now been issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning pregnant women from visiting an area with ongoing Zika virus transmission in northern Miami, Florida. Florida and Texas (and some parts of Hawaii) are some of the hotspot states where residents are vulnerable to Zika because the Aedes species mosquito has been known to dwell in these states. Yet, resources to prepare for a Zika outbreak are tight. Congress adjourned for the summer without an agreement to fund a response to Zika [see Health Centers on the Hill post]. States are now going it alone in preparing a response to Zika.

That is what brings us to Texas.  Earlier, we wrote on this blog about efforts in the Lone Star state to prepare for Zika locally acquired Zika. The Texas Association of Community Health Centers (TACHC) and a coalition of state and national organizations have sounded the alarm to health officials that vulnerable populations are especially at risk for Zika because they typically lack access to health services and/or insurance coverage, live in poor housing conditions (such as no air conditioning or window screens and lack resources to purchase protective items, such as mosquito repellant.  Recently, we spoke with two health centers in the Houston area who are on the frontlines of Zika preparedness: Dr. Kavon Young, Medical Director of El Centro De Corazon, and Kevin Nix, Senior Director of Communications at Legacy Community Health. Listen below.

Helping New Parents with Diaper Discounts

diapers Diapers are an essential commodity for any family with kids, yet nearly one in three American families can barely afford them, according to the White House. Low income families also lack access to transportation and technology to shop online in search of cheaper bargains or at big-box retailers. As a result, low-income families pay twice more for purchases than people who have the tools to bargain search, such as a car or a laptop computer. Unlike other essentials—food and health care coverage—there are no federal programs that provide assistance with purchasing diapers. These compounding elements mean struggling parents are often having to choose between necessities, such as rent or groceries, to pay for diapers.  

President Obama has called on companies to reverse this trend and address the high cost of diapers for low-income families. The online shopping site Jet.com has taken action. They created the Community Diaper Program to get affordable diapers to nonprofit organizations, including Community Health Centers, to serve families in need.  To make diapers more affordable, Jet partnered with Cuties-brand diapers to remove expensive graphics on product packaging and add more diapers to the box. With this formula, Jet was able to bring the average price of a diaper down from 30-50 cents to 17 cents. Nonprofits can enroll in the Community Diaper Program and purchase the diapers at an additional 25% discount (resulting in 13 cents per diaper on average) – before earning even more savings via Jet’s real-time savings engine that makes prices drop while you shop.

 Over 800 nonprofits across the country have signed-up to distribute the diapers and Jet is hoping to recruit more to participate in the program, including health centers. Health centers serve some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations, often providing services that are outside the scope of most private practices to meet health care needs of their communities. Some even throw and participate in community baby showers to provide new moms with essential baby care supplies.   

“Our Community Diaper Program aligns perfectly with our commitment to saving people more money on their shopping essentials,” said Dana Hork, Director, Brand Experience at Jet.com. “By working with nonprofits and Community Health Centers across the country, this program gives low income families more affordable access to basic necessities.”

 For more information or to sign-up to participate in the program visit Jet.com/JetCares.