Special to the Independent
Community health centers like the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) are among America’s first responders in public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. It is essential that we play a role in educating the community and above all else, work together to ensure the safety of our staff, patients, and members of the communities we serve. It is with this in mind that EBNHC is partnering with Independent Newspaper Group and other media to regularly communicate directly with residents about the ongoing efforts to provide care to our community and help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
As you know, the situation is changing every day. Like other health care organizations, we have enacted Emergency Operations Planning and are prepared should there be a rise in cases. We will be there for all who need us, regardless of age, income, insurance status, language, culture, or social circumstances. Our mission has not changed in 50 years and will guide us through this crisis.
EBNHC patients who believe they may be infected with COVID-19 should not come to the health center, but rather, should call us. We have implemented a thorough phone screening process for any patient exhibiting a fever and flu-like symptoms or who has had a possible exposure. If testing is deemed necessary, arrangements will be made.
Of particular focus for us is making special provisions for the many elderly we care for in our community. Our Neighborhood PACE program cares for hundreds of seniors and the health center sees thousands of others who depend on us for their care. Given that the elderly population is at the highest risk, we are focused on taking every step possible to continue giving high-quality care at our PACE Centers, in homes, and within the primary care setting without exacerbating risk.
To minimize potential exposure to otherwise healthy patients, we are asking all EBNHC patients to postpone any routine or preventive healthcare. However, for patients in need of appointments, we can help you with telephone visits or if absolutely needed, we can see you in person. The goal is to minimize transmission of coronavirus by social distancing.
At EBNHC, we are fortunate to have a deeply committed team that always rises to the occasion and we will be here for our community during and long after this public health crisis. We will continue to work closely with Department of Public Health, the Boston Department of Public Health, and both state and federal government as every day brings forth new information and recommended guidelines. Throughout the duration of this public health emergency, we will maintain open lines of communication and will continue to educate the public through this regular column as well as in social media and our website. We wish the best for you and your family at this very difficult time. East Boston Neighborhood Health Center