For our final National Health Center Week installment, we're shining the spotlight on our incredible community partners who have made it possible for us to face the unique challenges of COVID-19 and serve the Portland community together.
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Relationships with government, partner organizations and the entire community have made it possible for Central City Concern to rise to the unique challenges of COVID-19 and protect those who are most at risk of the physical, economic and social impacts. From city, county and state agencies, to other non-profit service providers, to compassionate businesses, we're grateful to all of our community partners for helping us create a solid web of support for those experiencing homelessness. These are a few of the partners who have made it possible for us to keep our doors open through the coronavirus pandemic.
Before Governor Brown issued Oregon’s shelter-in-place order, CCC’s Incident Management Team was hard at work preparing for the reality of COVID-19. One of our most critical, immediate needs was Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – we didn’t have enough on hand to keep our doors open while keeping our staff and community safe. We sounded the alarm, and Multnomah County swiftly responded with a delivery of much-needed PPE.
“It changed our whole posture on how we could operate safely,” said CCC CEO and President Rachel Solotaroff. “The responsiveness and resourcefulness of the County allowed us to keep our face-to-face, onsite and outreach-based services intact.”
The County’s partnership has been consistent and ongoing. Multnomah County Public Health has provided CCC with crucial guidance on topics including testing, contract tracing and operating safely in congregate settings. The Multnomah County Health Officer, Jennifer Vines, has been especially responsive to our concerns and questions, always a phone call away. Ebony Clarke, Director of Multnomah County’s Mental Health and Addiction Services Division, has provided outstanding leadership to our behavioral health providers. Her ongoing weekly phone calls with providers have been an invaluable resource for sharing concerns, communicating needs and creating community. CCC is grateful for Multnomah County’s leadership and partnership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ensuring the safety of our staff, clients and community has been CCC’s priority since the start of the pandemic, and OHSU’s partnership has been critical in helping us keep this promise. OHSU provides free, no-barrier COVID-19 testing to all CCC employees through their convenient, drive-through testing site. No appointment is necessary, making it easy for staff to get tested and quickly receive results. CCC and our employees are grateful – thanks to OHSU, our workforce has been able to stay where they need to be: serving patients and clients. Special shoutout to OHSU’s Occupational Health Manager Misti Powell for making this important partnership possible.
Legacy Health Partners
CCC’s single room occupancy (SRO) buildings and congregate care facilities have remained cluster-free throughout the pandemic – an incredible achievement given the higher risk of transmission associated with these settings. This has been possible in part due to the mobile COVID-19 testing clinic provided by Legacy Health Partners.
When two CCC residents self-reported positive COVID-19 tests, our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andy Mendenhall reached out to Dr. Nick Kashey at Legacy Health Partners to devise a plan to prevent a potential cluster. Dr. Kashey and his team quickly sprang into action and set up a mobile testing station on the sidewalk outside of the building in less than 24 hours. Over 100 residents and staff were tested and results were available within three days. No other positive cases were found, and residents and staff could breathe a sigh of relief knowing that CCC’s infection prevention protocols have remained effective. CCC is grateful to Legacy Health Partners for helping us keep our communities safe.
Our long-time partner CareOregon has been instrumental in meeting the needs of our patients and keeping CCC sustainable in the face of financial challenges resulting from COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, CareOregon allowed CCC to rapidly transition to virtual appointments through phone and video visits, and even donated phones for clients without access to technology. CareOregon has also made sure that the overall decline in medical visits due to COVID-19didn’t undermine CCC’s financial stability. By supporting CCC through a financial payment model that offsets some of our losses, CareOregon has helped us keep our doors open. Thank you, CareOregon, for ensuring our services remain available to those who need us most during these challenging times.