Community Impact Report
OUR COVID RESPONSE
COVID's Bumpy Arrival
We knew trouble was in store as news of COVID emerged last winter. Public fear quickly caused many patients to skip important medical appointments at DAP Health Center, plus a lull in customer traffic at our Revivals Stores.
Nothing could prepare us for how the effects from state shelter-in-place orders and new operating guidelines would threaten our ability to offer continuing care for patients. From March and throughout June 2020, we sustained care for the most vulnerable in our community while experiencing a $2.5 million loss in revenue.
We kept our primary care and HIV specialty care clinics afloat. We also opened our COVID Clinic, but without funding, and an initial anticipated cost of $575,000 for the first five months.
In less than two weeks we launched Virtual Visits and telephone consults, so patients’ continuum of care would not be interrupted by COVID. Chronic medical conditions, age or HIV+ status are risk categories that affect our patients. But with technology, they stay connected to their doctors.
We quickly set up a COVID hotline, and it accepts 300-350 callers daily. Clinicians talk to callers about symptoms and testing from the safety of their home. Anyone needing information can call (760) 992-0407.
To protect our employees and follow the law, we had to suspend our Home Health Services, our Dental Clinic, and we closed all three Revivals Stores locations. We also had to cut back the work of our Early Intervention Services, and Community Outreach teams.
We were coming to understand how this pandemic would affect our operations, and we had to make a 30% reduction in staff. These were painful choices to keep DAP intact.
As of September, over 50% of our impacted employees were able to return as our Dental Clinic, Home Health Services and Revivals Stores reopened.
Treatment provided for upper and lower respiratory infections at DAP’s COVID Clinic includes:
- Oxygen Therapy for patients who have lower than normal levels
- Nebulizer Treatments to open airways and address shortness of breath
- IV Fluids for dehydration
- Fever Control with medication
- Community Acquired Pneumonia Treatment – Injection of antibiotics and ability to prescribe medications to our DAP Walgreen’s (overnight home delivery available)
- Influenza A & B Testing and Treatment
- Strep Throat Testing and Treatment
The Community Stood Up For DAP
Until now, we have funded the COVID Clinic with generous help from donors and foundations, plus government programs and loans. But as we approach 2021, the outlook for COVID is uncertain and we must remain poised to continue our frontline work while providing life-sustaining services to people living with HIV / AIDS (PLWHA).
The continued support of our community throughout this crisis will enable us to preserve the continuum of care we have pledged to PLWHA in the Coachella Valley.
Returning to Normalcy
We do not know if life will ever be the same due to COVID, but we have not stopped working to safely bring back important parts of everyday life in our community. The first step was re-opening our Dental Clinic and all three Revivals Stores.
DENTAL CLINIC NOW OPERATING
By May 2020, DAP staff were able to resume basic services safely in the Dental Clinic. It required staggering appointments for social distancing, thorough sanitizing standards between patients, and replacing dental equipment.
As of September, a new state-of-the-art air purification system enables us to safely offer cleanings, x-rays, fillings, and crowns. Currently, there is a waitlist of about 200, but our dental clinicians continue to welcome new patients seeking better oral health.
REVIVALS OPEN FOR BUSINESS
A major funding source for DAP, Revivals Stores welcomed shoppers back on June 1, 2020 after closing for more than 60 days. Mandated safety measures were implemented over weeks of planning and include social distancing markers throughout the stores. To keep safety a priority, fitting rooms were closed, returns are no longer accepted, and customers now bag their own products unless it is a larger item that requires assistance.
OFFERING RAPID IN-HOUSE TESTING FOR COVID AND FLU
We knew when we launched our COVID Clinic that people suffering with other respiratory illnesses like flu and strep would also seek diagnosis and care. We knew that sending out our diagnostic tests for processing was making our patients wait too long for results, which also was impeding our community’s ability to end the pandemic.
With flu season approaching, and the need for rapid COVID testing, we will offer combined testing for flu and COVID, processing results in-house with cutting edge technology that shows positives in 5 minutes, and negatives within 13 minutes.
The Impact of Your Support
COVID IMPACT From March through October 2020
3,889 SEEN AT COVID CLINIC
After a telephone screening, our medical team met with patients about their symptoms and possible exposures. We administered 4,849 COVID tests, identifying 312 positive results. Most of our patients heal at home with consultation, while some have required hospitalization. Our commitment continues after they leave our clinic. Each patient has unique care needs, but our clinicians, social service, and community health teams keep in touch with them regularly, following through with integrated assistance that DAP is known for.
187 HYGIENE AND HOUSECLEANING KITS DELIVERED
Being homebound because of health makes it hard when you run out personal care products or household cleaners. By October we helped clients focus on getting better by delivering 187 personal hygiene kits, plus cleaning supplies for their homes.
AT HOME MEALS DELIVERED 365 TIMES
Our most vulnerable patients need to keep up on their nutrition intake for medications to work, but the new normal made this almost impossible for many. Community Health team members prevented hunger with grocery and prepared meal deliveries 365 times by October.
We Brought Health Home
MENTAL HEALTH ACCESS EXPANDED
During COVID, many people are experiencing anxiety, fear, frustration, sadness, and loneliness. We expanded access to therapy at DAP to anyone in our community, to minimize the negative health outcomes we see when people do not access support.
When unemployment in our community was projected to climb to 30% almost overnight, we knew the chaos of losing health benefits was only the beginning of hardships our
patients will face in this crisis, all of them dangerous to public health (The Desert Sun). Covered California gives our patients more access and choices for their health coverage than ever, but enrollment can be time-consuming and confusing, causing interruptions to their current care or putting off their care altogether.
With One Call to DAP, patients obtained insurance or Medi-Cal through Covered California in about one-third of the time it usually takes.
Over 200 phone calls to DAP operators and nearly a thousand clicks to the DAP One Call webpage meant people were serious about getting health insurance.
Time reduced for insurance navigation and enrollment with Covered California -- two-thirds.
Average One Call Time for Covered California — 45 Minutes
Average Time Without One Call for Covered California — 3 Hours
Find out more about One Call at daphealth.org.
HIV Prevention and Testing for More People
AMID COVID-19 CRISIS, 20 NEW HIV+ RESULTS
This crisis is causing people to stay home when it comes to getting tested for HIV. With outreach and new ways of testing in people’s homes, we helped 20 people learn they have HIV, and we set them up to thrive with access to ongoing primary medical and mental healthcare.
FREE HIV AT-HOME SELF TESTING
When new HIV infections increased at a time when patients said they were afraid to leave home, we brought testing tools to them via U.S. mail. By providing confidential and free home testing with the option of guidance from a DAP team member, we are keeping our promise to fight HIV in the Coachella Valley. In the first 10 days, 46 people had already signed up, and 2,000 people had clicked on daphealth.org to learn more.
FREE HIV TESTING FOR PEOPLE INCARCERATED OR IN-TREATMENT
When our Community Health personnel had to cease in-person groups, we didn’t let COVID-19 get in the way of HIV testing for those who need it. DAP provided 500 HIV self-test kits for these facilities and treatment centers, preventing dangerous delays in HIV testing.
Counselors at recovery centers and treatment facilities in the Coachella Valley are accustomed to experts from DAP visiting them to conduct HIV testing, treatment, and education onsite for their clients.
POP-UP COVID TESTING
Recognizing COVID’s impact on African American communities, we joined forces with the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center and provided no-charge COVID-19 antibody testing and educational materials from the DAP Mobile Testing Van.
COVID testing was important, but we also helped many people learn about our culturally competent care offerings, and we enrolled people into primary care.
KEEPING SEX ON-LIMITS
AIDS taught us that humans continue having sex, even during a pandemic. A dialogue exploring healthy options, rather than shame and stigma, serves to help the public health the most. That is why we created resources like “DAP Guide to Sex and COVID-19” and we also address options for sex workers and massage therapists in our Q&A on Coronavirus.
DRIVE UP CONDOMS
We know that HIV doesn’t take a break—ever. That’s why we kept free condoms available to anyone who wants them. With just an e-mail to [email protected], one of our condom specialists will meet drivers curbside to give them free condom kits, or they can leave them at the front desk. Condoms are an important part of the sexual health toolbox.
KEEPING OUR PATIENTS SAFE
We made it easy for patients to feel safe when visiting DAP in person during COVID.
From the beginning of this health crisis, we delivered uninterrupted medical and mental healthcare amid community spread of this dangerous and highly contagious virus.
Before entering DAP Health Center, a quick and easy digital temperature check, a few simple screening questions, and a face mask are all it takes. With each of us doing our part to cover our faces, socially distance, and quarantine if appropriate, we can save thousands of lives, starting in our own Valley.
Add to this sneeze guards, never ending hand sanitizers, and socially distanced waiting rooms.
Throughout each day, our Environmental Services team makes a huge impact using an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer for recurring cleanings so that all clinics, offices, and common areas are disinfected.
Stepping Forward Together
Already raging out of control, healthcare inequalities everywhere have worsened at an alarming rate.
Unfortunately, they will get even worse since stay-at-home practices are expected for at least another year.
The financial devastation in our Valley from COVID is only beginning, and it is going to force more people into poverty. We know critical factors for surviving in the time of COVID are accessing primary care and COVID testing. The only question is whether we will act now to help sustain a structure that provides this care, so that our Valley’s most vulnerable do not join more than 225,000 fatalities in the U.S. so far from COVID (as of 10/26/20).
Many of us have been lucky, and we have the resources to make it through this pandemic; like having the option to telecommute instead of going to a work site, or receiving guidance and relief from our doctor, anytime we reach out.
It is easy to overlook the scores of our neighbors who do not have the same options as we do for living, such as financial wellbeing, and access to mental health and medical care.
COVID threatens us all, but without support, anyone can give up on their own self-care and personal safety.
DAP Health Center is reaching at-risk populations in our Valley so they can build resilience by accessing care.
“We are rapidly bringing more people into care because they have recently lost their health insurance,” says David Brinkman, CEO. “On average, two-to-three people per day are signing up for primary care after visiting for walk-in services.”
This pandemic is quickly increasing the need for DAP Health Center, especially as new cases of HIV and STIs emerge, and the economy forces more people into living with far fewer resources.
People whose lives could be cut short by COVID are relying on us to resist becoming overwhelmed or apathetic as we continue to receive horrible news about the impact of this pandemic. They need us right now.
The choice to help them live is one we can make together.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Patrick Jordan, Chair
Lauri Kibby, Vice Chair
Fred Drewette, Treasurer
Mark Hamilton, Secretary
David Brinkman, CEO
Dane Koch, Director of Retail
David Morris, MD, Chief Medical Officer
Darrell L. Tucci, CFRE, Chief Development Officer
Sheri Saenz, Chief People and Places Officer
Judy Stith, Chief Financial Officer
Zayda Welden, Director of Social Services
Carol Wood, Director of Clinical Operations