April 30, 2020
Dear VIM Family,
Because you each play such a critical part in VIM’s Circle of Caring, we want to keep you informed about how the clinic continues to respond to COVID-19. At VIM, we maintain an unwavering commitment to the health and safety of all of our constituency groups while we navigate through these unprecedented challenges.
Our patients are frightened and concerned. Many suffer from chronic disease which place them in an elevated risk category for adverse COVID effects. Many of our hardworking neighbors and VIM patients live paycheck to paycheck and are being confronted with real financial strain. All are worried about illness, lost income and how long this will last.
We are reminded that VIM is an indispensable asset in our community. While we strive to do everything possible to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and clients, at the same time we are making every effort to continue to be here for our neighbors who need us.
As you know, we began taking extra precautions to mitigate spread of the virus which resulted in modifying our services and programs to reduce risk. Since the onset of these modifications, we have continued to provide prescription refills, telemedicine services and emergency dental care up until the end of last week. In fact, we have refilled close to 800 prescriptions for more than 300 VIM patients and fielded well over 300 telemedicine phone calls. We plan to continue these telemedicine efforts upon clinic re-entry and are currently in the process of determining best practices, format and set up.
We have distributed a survey to our volunteers to gauge their feelings about returning to the clinic. We particularly want to determine what practices will make them feel safe and secure. For example, all patients, volunteers and staff will be masked before entering the clinic and patients will be screened outside by a gloved, gowned and masked clinical staff or a volunteer for temperature or other respiratory symptoms. Patient visits will be by appointment only and we will maintain strict adherence to social distancing protocol in the reception area and throughout the clinic. We are looking into telemedicine as an alternative to walk-ins to meet the need to shift strategies for patient engagement. We will also engage much enhanced cleaning and disinfecting services.
Speaking of masks…we are going to need a LOT of them, anticipating a burn rate of at least 1,000 per week. We have made several pleas for homemade, washable masks and have received a tremendous response from our very generous community. But we still need many, many more so please let us know if you or someone you know can help! Contact Cherie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Every little bit helps and we’re all in this together.
We have targeted a tentative clinic re-entry date of June 1 but will closely follow the situation as this could certainly change. We fully anticipate a significant demand and vastly increased growth rate for our healthcare services in the near and ongoing future as we globally and as a community recover from this pandemic. We will carefully manage this increased demand to ensure all of VIM’s constituency groups safety as we continue to meet our mission to provide for the healthcare needs of those in our community who need us.
We are reminded that, without you, we could never provide the life-changing care that we do. We are also reminded that we are going to need our VIM family’s dedicated support now more than ever to keep our neighbors who need us healthy and out of the ER. Clinic expenses will only increase as we pivot to new models of health delivery and experience the burden of unplanned-for technology adoption while simultaneously being challenged with an unquestionable heightened demand for our services.
To make a contribution to VIM, please visit our website at www.vimclinic.org. Together, we will get through this, and please know that we remain ever thankful for your faithful dedication to our mission and to VIM’s Circle of Caring.
We will keep you apprised on clinic functionality, adaptation and re-entry plans. You are most important to VIM, and we wish you all ongoing safety and good health.
All our best,
Lynn Jennings Taylor, RN, JD
VIM Board Chair
Raymond L. Cox, MD, MBA
VIM Executive Director