December 31, 2020
Media Contact: RHHDpr@vdh.virginia.gov, 804-363-0933
SAFETY-NET PROVIDERS JOIN TOGETHER IN VACCINATION EVENT
RICHMOND, VA – Richmond’s safety-net healthcare providers joined together on December 27 to vaccinate their frontline staff who serve communities at higher risk of COVID-19. The collaborative event is a responsive and efficient opportunity to protect healthcare workers to ensure they can continue to provide lifesaving care to Richmond’s communities.
“Working together to vaccinate our frontline healthcare workers with our partners has been powerful,” said Tracy Causey, CEO of Capital Area Health Network, “Together, we are reducing the spread of COVID-19 and prioritizing the needs of all our patients.”
Together, Richmond’s five safety net providers (listed alphabetically: Capital Area Health Network, CrossOver Healthcare Ministry, Daily Planet, Health Brigade, and Virginia League for Planned Parenthood) provide services for many of Richmond’s most marginalized communities, including lower income, un- and underinsured, Latinx, Black, immigrant, houseless, and LGBTQ communities. The healthcare services provided—ranging from everything from primary care to dental care and mental health services to gender-affirming healthcare—have addressed the needs of Richmond’s communities way before COVID-19 plagued our city.
“Virginia League for Planned Parenthood (VLPP) has kept our doors open in-person and virtually to serve Virginians who require access to sexual and reproductive health, primary care, education, birth control including long-acting reversible birth control (LARC), COVID-19 testing, inclusive LGBTQ health services, and more,” explains Paulette McElwain, Virginia League for Planned Parenthood President and CEO. “Early in the spring, we recognized the critical need for access to affordable COVID-19 testing, especially for our patients who are under-or uninsured…As a provider of essential health care, we work alongside the other incredible safety net providers…”
Karen Legato, Executive Director, Health Brigade, adds, “The level of collaboration among diverse safety-net providers has never been more intentional, productive, and impactful than it is today as we serve together during this pandemic. The creativity and ingenuity of creating hybrid systems to ensure access to high quality, integrated multidisciplinary care during a pandemic has been a gift in a time of so much suffering. The pandemic has enabled us to see what is possible as a system of safety-net care and we are all the better for it.”
Despite the robust services offered by the safety-net providers, many of their patients encounter a range of health issues stemming from poverty, social oppression, or trauma. Through a combination of existing chronic diseases and a lack of resources that make following COVID-19 precautions untenable, patients of safety-net providers can be hit particularly hard by COVID-19.
“All of the patients we serve at CrossOver are low-income, and many come from Latinx community. The structural inequities experienced by our patients became even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic as the low-income and Latinx communities have been disproportionately impacted. We are grateful to receive these vaccines so we can continue to safely provide medical care, including COVID testing, education and vaccinations to our patient population,” said Dr. Julie Bilodeau, CrossOver Healthcare Ministry.
Over the course of the pandemic, Richmond’s safety-net providers have done an enormous amount of COVID-19 testing and will continue to do so. Vaccinating safety-net providers against COVID-19 not only reduces the risk of patients and providers transmitting COVID-19 to each other, it also ensures that trusted healthcare providers are able to treat their patients’ medical needs- both those that were created by the pandemic and before the pandemic.
“We, the health districts, as well as our health system and pharmacy partners, feel a sense of urgency to get all of our providers in the area vaccinated,” says Amy Popovich, Nurse Manager at Richmond and Henrico Health Districts. “Having the safety net providers vaccinated makes sense from both a scientific perspective and an equity perspective.”
“If there’s been a bright spot through all of this, it’s the collaborative approach that all of the region’s safety-net providers have taken together,” said Dr. Patricia Cook, Chief Medical Officer of Daily Planet Health Services. “I’m confident that because of this collaboration, we will be more efficient in providing quality care to vulnerable populations moving forward.”
ADDITIONAL MEDIA CONTACTS:
- Capital Area Health Network: Tracy Causey, firstname.lastname@example.org, 804.253.1968
- CrossOver Healthcare Ministry: Julie Bilodeau, email@example.com, 804-426-7710
- Daily Planet: Patricia Cook, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Health Brigade: Julie Sulik, JSulik@healthbrigade.org
- Planned Parenthood League of VA: RaeAnn Pickett, email@example.com, 202-378-3526
- Richmond and Henrico Health Districts: Cat Long, RHHDpr@vdh.virginia.gov, 804-363-0933