COVID-19: Global Relief & Local Impact
I hope this letter finds you well as we all continue to work around the challenges of daily life in these unprecedented times.
As BBF continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis by supporting healthcare partners in many geographic areas, our primary focus now is on assisting local front-line healthcare providers who care for the underserved and vulnerable members of the community. The need for PPE (personal protection equipment) that was originally centered around major health systems and hospitals, is most apparent in these neighborhood care facilities.
While we seek to provide PPE to other organizations which have expressed a need, our local efforts currently focus on the service providers listed below. For a better understanding of their mission, there is also an excerpt from their website explaining their work:
1. FQHCs – Community Health Centers or Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are unique nonprofit primary care facilities that provide a wide array of services to Pennsylvanians in underserved areas of the state, both rural and urban (with fees based on the patient’s ability to pay). These include 11 clinics in our immediate footprint with multiple locations totaling over 20 facilities. Allegheny County will soon be using FQHC’s as COVID-19 testing facilities and it is critical that they have an adequate amount of PPE to safely attend to patients.
2. Allegheny County supported Kane Assisted Living Centers – Provide care for some of the most vulnerable in our community. We take that charge seriously, and also recognize that our residents are among those most at risk in the COVID- 19 pandemic. Across all four centers, Kane employees take care of over 900 residents a day, providing nearly 93,000 days of care so far this year. There is a major need at these facilities which have unfortunately seen a number of patient fatalities as seen on the news.
3. The Allegheny County Jail – The Bureau of Corrections is charged with providing for the care, custody and control of persons committed to the Allegheny County Jail. Confined areas present challenges when it comes to mitigation and elimination of the spread of illness or disease, and COVID-19 is no exception. The dedicated staff at the facility are greatly in need of PPE to keep themselves safe as they address patient needs.
4. 412 Food Rescue – Our mission is to prevent perfectly good food from entering the waste stream by redirecting it to those who are experiencing food insecurity. Our model of food recover and redistribution not only enables access to healthy food, but it allows us to bring food to where people already are – overcoming barriers to food access like transportation and time. 412’s volunteer drivers take food to so many in need in these times of uncertainty.
These organizations have provided BBF with usage and inventory information which we’re using to assess overall system wide needs in our in-house developed PPE forecasting model. This information is then being used to plan for further acquisition of needed supplies.
The excerpt below is from a recent email from Dr. Matt Yu, of the North Side Christian Health Center, who has been pivotal in our FQHC response. I have included it in this letter as it is you who should be thanked for helping make BBF’s response possible:
“Hi Ozzy, I wanted to include the medical directors for FQHCs in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Thank you for supporting the needs of frontline health workers in FQHCs. Collectively, we are the primary care safety net caring for over 100,000 patients. I shared the exciting news that you had secured 7,600 N-95 masks for us and I am sure it was difficult to vet a reliable source for the masks. We will be sure to fill out a survey on our anticipated PPE needs when you send it. When you are ready, we can be in touch with Sarah (firstname.lastname@example.org) for supply pick-up and logistics.
Sincere thanks from, Sto-Rox Family Health Center – Sara Silvestri, MD Squirrel Hill Health Center –Andrea Fox, MD MPH Primary Health Network –George Garrow, MD Primary Care Health Services – Robin Sims, MD Pittsburgh Mercy – Todd Wahrenberger, MD North Side Christian Health Center –Matthew Yu DO MPH Metro Family Practice – Kathy Homrok, MD East Liberty Family Health Center – David Hall, MD Cornerstone Care – Ed Foley, MD Community Health Center – Charmaine Batac, MD Centerville Clinics – Daniel Holt, MD”
I hope the above narrative provides you with a window into the impact your support is having in assisting those most in need – who also often have the least assistance available to them. Thank you for your generosity.