May 6, 2021

Bodegas, Shelters, Food Lines & Phone Calls: Bringing Healthcare to Patients

[Excerpted from The Art of Change, by Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock]

When people lined up outside of a major food bank in Chicago, CommunityHealth’s team sprang into action.

Walking down the long, socially-distanced line of people on the sidewalk, they conducted mini health screenings. Then, they instantly referred people to needed healthcare and social services, considering each individual’s insurance status so they’d be directed to the right place.

This community-based healthcare provider pivoted to “street outreach” after the pandemic forced it to cancel events that previously funneled patients to its services, like Zumba exercise programs or educational nutrition classes. That pivot has proven so valuable, it will likely remain in some form in perpetuity…

“We provide care at no cost to uninsured adults in a language they’re best served in,” she said. Doing just that gives CommunityHealth and organizations like it an entry point that can move people to more intensive medical care if needed while helping limit unnecessary utilization that can be so expensive for patients. That’s where they work in partnership with hospitals.

Willding is constantly looking for solutions to this question: “How can we collaborate where we can both achieve the highest quality outcomes while serving the target population our business model has been built for?”…

Through an exciting new initiative, CommunityHealth is establishing a new “telehealth microsite” co-located at a facility that already provides important services like ESL classes and childcare. The new microsite will allow patients to stop in and receive an assisted virtual visit, connecting to a provider anywhere in the city via video.

“We’re taking the concept of telemedicine – putting providers on patients’ phones – and instead putting that technology in the neighborhoods where people live, to address barriers to IT,” Willding said. She sees the program as a way rethink healthcare spaces and going to patients rather than relying on them coming in…

Read the full piece in The Art of Change, by Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, May 6, 2021