CommUnityCare Staff Assistance Fund
These are unprecedented times, touched by fear and uncertainty. As coronavirus and its resultant disease COVID-19 continues to spread within our community, our employees at CommUnityCare, continue to be there for our patients, day in and day out. We are on the front line of providing care to Austin and its surrounding communities with over 120,000 lower income individuals served annually.
Our staff is deeply committed to serving our patients and today is no different despite their higher risk of exposure to coronavirus as healthcare workers. During this time, our nurses, our receptionists, and our medical assistants continue to answer the call to serve and put themselves on the front line of providing compassionate, quality care to all who need it without question. While we are all confronting the uncertainty of our future, the impacts of these decisions are forcing our front line healthcare workers to choose between their family’s needs or continuing to serve the patients that need those most.As an organization, CommUnityCare has committed to maintaining full staff capacity and employment of our team during these challenging times. However, and due to the extenuating circumstances of the current crisis, this support is not enough for our care team members, especially those with modest incomes or who are single parents.
In order to help, CommUnityCare has established a Staff Assistance Fund to provide direct cash relief to our employees who need it most and who have new or increased expenses because of the crisis. By way of example, many of our frontline team members are struggling with the additional and unexpected cost of childcare associated with school closures. The rationale for this fund is simple – we need to support our employees so that they can continue to support our patients and our community. While CommUnityCare does have a longstanding program to help with emergent childcare needs, it is not enough during these difficult times. That is why every member of CommUnityCare’s Executive Team has committed a donation to the Staff Assistance Fund. We are asking you to join them in donating to our Staff Assistance Fund.
Thank you for your consideration and please know that 100% of your tax deductible donation will directly support the unanticipated financial needs of our team members with incomes less than $70,000 with a donation of $75 paying for a full day of childcare.
Your charitable donation can be made at the link below:
You can also mail us a check directly to:
CommUnityCare Staff Assistance Fund
2115 Kramer Lane, Ste. 100
Austin, TX 78758
CommUnityCare Offers Curbside Pharmacy Services at Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center
(Austin) – To ensure medication needs are met, CommUnityCare Health Center’s Central Pharmacy is now offering curbside service at the Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center.
“We will do whatever we can to make sure no one goes without their medications,” CommUnityCare Pharmacy Director Cristie Pelligrini said. “We encourage our patients to use home delivery first if possible, or their regular pharmacy to ensure they have at least a 30 days’ supply of medications on hand. If those aren’t options, we will fill and deliver medications curbside.”
CommUnityCare patients who need assistance with pharmacy refills may call 512-978-8139 if their regular pharmacy or home delivery isn’t an option.
The Central Pharmacy fills approximately 4,500 prescriptions a month (approximately 300 per day). Thirty-day (30) supplies will be filled and delivered curbside, but CommUnityCare prefers to deliver via United States Postal Service (USPS).
Central Pharmacy: Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center
2901 Montopolis Drive, Austin, TX 78741
Pharmacy Days/Hours: Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Curbside Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
30-day supplies filled curbside.
Central Health-funded CommUnityCare Offering Medical Appointments Over the Phone to Protect Safety of Patients, Staff, and Community
(Austin) – In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Central Health-funded CommUnityCare Health Centers is offering patients medical appointments without leaving the safety of their home.
“The best thing for people to do right now is to stay at home,” CommUnityCare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alan Schalscha said. “By caring for patients over the phone, we can limit potential COVID-19 exposure for patients, staff, and our community – and ultimately help slow the spread of this disease. We know that medical appointments are incredibly important, and we want to provide them in the safest, most appropriate way possible.”
CommUnityCare staff is currently calling and texting patients that already have scheduled appointments to determine whether or not they can occur by phone. Patients who have not heard from CommUnityCare about their scheduled appointment or are wanting to make an appointment should call 512-978-9015.
Eligible appointments include chronic disease management for people with conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, and many acute conditions that don’t require lab work. Medication refills that don’t require a doctor’s approval can also be completed over the phone.
The shift to telemedicine visits and decreasing in-person appointments will also help with the priority of conserving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is in limited supply across the country. CommUnityCare staff is screening every patient and visitor for symptoms of COVID-19 before entering a facility, which includes a temperature reading. This requires that the employee has PPE.
“Telemedicine enables us to follow the social distancing recommendations by Austin Public Health,” Dr. Karen Welch, director of primary care CommUnityCare said. “We are also moving quickly to offer video appointments with CommUnityCare providers. We hope by the end of this week, up to 50 percent of our appointments will be by phone instead of in-person.”
CommUnityCare has about 120,000 patients annually. Many are uninsured, underinsured or members of Central Health’s Medical Access Program (MAP).
For a list of CommUnityCare clinics and hours of operation, visit CommUnityCareTX.org or call 512-978-9015.
Central Health Medical Access Program (MAP) Begins Enrolling People By Phone Only
In-person eligibility interviews suspended in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
(Austin) – In-person interviews for Central Health’s Medical Access Program (MAP) have been suspended in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Instead, all interviews will be conducted by telephone beginning Monday, March 23. The phone number is 512-978-8130.
“We’re making these changes to protect the health and safety of our clients and staff,” said Central Health Senior Director of Eligibility Services Kit Abney Spelce. “Suspending in-person interviews will reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. We will continue to enroll Travis County residents who qualify for MAP with as little interruption as possible.”
If someone comes to a Central Health Eligibility office seeking MAP enrollment, staff will safely provide a paper application to complete off-site and submit as described below. MAP applications may also be downloaded from www.centralhealth.net/covid19 in English and Spanish, completed, and submitted to Central Health in the following ways:
Medical Access Program
PO Box 300489
Austin TX 78703
Individuals experiencing homelessness will still be seen at the eligibility office at Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center, 2901 Montopolis Drive.
(*Note: although Central Health uses a secure, HIPAA compliant email system, applications and documents sent through the client’s own email may not be secure.)
Central Health-funded CommUnityCare Creates COVID-19 Hotline for Uninsured Travis County Residents
(Austin) – Central Health-funded CommUnityCare Health Centers Tuesday launched a hotline staffed with medical professionals to triage uninsured Travis County residents experiencing a coronavirus-like symptoms (COVID-19).
People experiencing COVID-19 symptoms who are uninsured and do not have an established doctor can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 512-978-8775 for guidance. Starting today, medical professionals will answer the phones and triage callers – specifically people who are uninsured – to prevent them from going directly to a clinic, urgent care, or emergency department.
“We are working with our local public health officials and the community to contain the spread of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and its associated disease (COVID-19), and we know Travis County residents with no insurance and no doctor need information,” CommUnityCare President & CEO Jaeson Fournier said. “The test for SARS-CoV-2 requires an order from a health provider, and is based on risk criteria. There are many instances where a test is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you want to find out if a test is recommended for you, please call the hotline. “
For now, the hotline is available 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
“If demand increases, we will add more capacity,” Fournier said.
Call the COVID-19 Hotline at 512-978-8775
The hotline is for people who are uninsured or patients of CommUnityCare who have been in close contact with a person known to have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 or diagnosed with COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include a fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath.
Non-U.S. Citizens/ Non-U.S. Permanent Residents
For non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. permanent residents, COVID-19-related testing, treatment or preventive care is not included in the new public charge test. This means COVID-19-related care will not negatively impact their path to citizenship, and is permissible for a government program to pay for the test.
Central Health-funded CommUnityCare Announces Clinic and Service Changes in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
To better serve and protect both patients and health care workers during the COVID-19 outbreak, Central Health-funded CommUnityCare Health Centers is consolidating services by temporarily closing some smaller, single-provider clinics.
Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, health care services at the following clinics will be suspended indefinitely:
- Austin OB Manor-1408 Shadowglen, Hwy 290, Ste. 302, Manor, TX
- Austin OB Riverside-2410 E Riverside Dr., Ste. G-2, Austin, TX
- Carousel Pediatrics May’s Crossing-1201 S. IH-35, Ste 303, Round Rock, TX
- Del Valle Health Center-3518-A FM 973, Del Valle, TX
- Dove Springs Integral Care-5015 South IH-35, Austin, TX
- Hornsby Bend Health Center-1412 Hunters Bend Road, Austin, TX
- Manor Health Center-600 W Carrie Manor St, Manor, TX
Additionally, medical staff with CommUnityCare’s mobile unit, which provides services in Colony Park and Creedmoor, have been reassigned to other locations as part of the COVID-19 response. For a list of CommUnityCare clinics and hours of operation, visit CommUnityCare, or call 512-978-9015.
“We must conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to protect the health of patients and staff,” CommUnityCare President & CEO Jaeson Fournier said. “The most effective way to do this is to concentrate services at our larger clinics and temporarily close some of our smaller locations. At the same time, we are shifting many of our patient interactions to the telephone, meaning people can access health care from their mobile device.”
CommUnityCare is sending text messages to all patients who have appointments scheduled at the affected sites within the next three weeks, in addition to posting signs on doors. Medical staff is also calling patients to schedule visits by phone when appropriate. CommUnityCare is asking patients to call 512-978-9015 to confirm every appointment in advance, before coming to a clinic.
Patients are encouraged to have at least a 30-day supply of medications. If they have questions about their prescriptions they should call 512-978-8139.
CommUnityCare is suspending indefinitely preventative and elective dental procedures at its Ben White Dental Clinic effective March 19, 2020. North Central, Central Health Southeast Health and Wellness, South Austin Health Centers will remain open for acute dental services.
“Again, we are cautioning people who suspect they may have COVID-19 symptoms, or believe they need a test for the virus, not to go to an area emergency room or clinic. Instead, they should call CommUnityCare’s COVID hotline 512-978-8775 for a screening,” said Fournier.