When COVID-19 began, the Free Clinic’s Health Center adapted by shifting to telehealth. Key staff members remained on-site to receive delivery of medication and critically needed diabetic supplies for our established patients. While the Dental Clinic had to temporarily close, we kept health education and healthy cooking classes going online.
We know the services we offer continue to meet a critical need. For example, an existing patient with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) reached out to the clinic requesting a letter explaining her medical condition for her employer. One of our volunteer physicians, Dr. Norstein, consulted with the patient via telehealth and was able to provide the patient with a letter that suggested the patient follow CDC guidelines vis-a-vis her work schedule. This meant the patient did not lose her job and she has recently returned to full time employment.
Today, even as COVID-19 cases in Florida sharply rise, we know we must do everything we can to serve our neighbors in need. As such, the Health Center and Dental Clinic recently re-opened their physical locations to serve current patients and those who are on the wait-list for appointments. We continue to prioritize the safety and health of our staff, volunteers and clients. Here’s how:
- Plexiglass barriers installed at clinic entrance and exits.
- New “easy clean” furniture in the wait room.
- Personal protective equipment for all providers that includes N95 mask, gown, and face shields.
- Only every other exam room will be used to maintain physical distancing standards.
- Appointments staggered to ensure only 2 to 3 people at a time in the health clinic waiting room.
- Upon arrival, patients are masked (we provide masks if needed) and hands are sanitized.
- Patients complete a verbal COVID screening and have their temperature taken prior to full entry into the wait room.
- Dental patients are screened in their cars prior to appointments to maintain physical distancing in the dental clinic.