Help us support our employees and patients during this time of need.
Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic (CEHC) has been offering high quality healthcare services to uninsured, low-income individuals in Rhode Island since 2007, with an emphasis on culturally-attuned and linguistically-appropriate care. The clinic’s vision is: (1) to reduce health disparities; (2) to engage in healthcare workforce development; (3) to improve health self-efficacy. CEHC’s focus is on health prevention and health maintenance in order to provide patients with the tools that they need in order to improve their health in the long term.
The need for access to free healthcare during and post the COVID-19 pandemic is essential as unemployment rates are increasing and social distancing measures are expected to be in place for at least one year. The impact of job loss and consequentially, loss of health insurance access due to COVID-19 will likely be even greater than during the 2008 recession. Over 190,000 individuals registered for unemployment in Rhode Island between March 1st and April 7th. CEHC has experienced a surge in new patients and an increased patient volume of 25% in the Continuity of Care Clinic and 40-60% increase in our CHEER, walk-in clinic, over the equivalent period in 2019. CEHC’s free healthcare services keep uninsured Rhode Islanders out of local emergency departments by providing “walk-in” non-urgent care, preventative services, and quarterly visits for those with chronic conditions. Our Bridging the [Health Equity] Gap program was shown to reduce local emergency department usage by 60% in 2016, and BTG patients also had 61% fewer “potentially preventable” emergency room visits than their Medicaid counterparts as reported in the RI Journal of Medicine (see http://bit.ly/Bridging_The_Gap_At_CEHC).
CEHC has also established a COVID-19 testing site six days per week to serve frontline workers and the uninsured population of Rhode Island. This increase in patient encounters has in turn increased the need for comprehensive follow up and enrollment into the Continuity of Care Clinic (CCC). At CEHC, 82 percent of individuals tested do not have health insurance and have established care. In addition, Rhode Island has the highest rate of unemployment claims at 15.2 percent in the country. According to an article published by the Providence Journal, it is likely that double-digit unemployment rates will last at least the next six months. Experts are warning that unemployment rates will not fall to pre-COVID-19 levels until the fall of 2023. In the second quarter of 2020, alone, it is expected that Rhode Islanders will suffer $1.1 billion in lost wages. The economic conditions due to the current health crisis will drive up the need for no-cost healthcare options for, possibly, years to come. CEHC is here to bridge the gap by implementing telemedicine that will allow us to expand the number of individuals we serve without outgrowing our physical capacity.
In addition to scaling up staffing and becoming a COVID-19 testing site to respond to this healthcare emergency, CEHC is in need of technology upgrades in order to expand telemedicine services for our ever-growing patient population. With these improvements, we will be able to accomplish the following:
· Screen COVID-19 symptomatic patients virtually, reducing COVID-19 exposure to staff and clinic patients.
· Schedule increasing numbers of COVID-19 positive patients for follow up monitoring and required care, which can currently only be managed by telemedicine. COVID-19 positive patients without a PCP nor insurance are automatically registered as CEHC patients.
· Improve scheduling for CEHC's continuity of care patients, who are adapting swiftly; we have observed better adherence to telemedicine visits than in-person visits. We are developing protocols for proper visit documentation and training staff to improve telemedicine quality.
· Provide lifestyle intervention programs such as Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and the CEHC-developed and piloted Vida Sana/Healthy Living program using the online platform Zoom.
Every day, our committed employees work to support the community we serve. Now, they need our help. Our organization is committed to ensuring that our employees are able to maintain financial stability and provide day-to-day necessities for their families during the coronavirus crisis.
We kindly ask that you join us in supporting our dedicated employees. Your gift will help provide immediate financial support so they can purchase essential food, medicines, and other supplies. Help keep our employees safe and healthy so they can eventually return to their work serving our community.