$100K grant awarded for a COVID-19 Care Center for the unhoused

White Bird Medical Clinic has partnered with Kaiser Permanente to develop a safe, COVID-19 screening and testing center for Lane County’s unhoused populations. The screening center will be located in White Bird’s primary care walk-in clinic, with construction planned to start February 2021. The new primary care walk-in clinic will offer on-demand acute care to our community’s most vulnerable residents. Without access to walk-in primary care, patients utilize emergency room treatment for acute but not emergent problems, reducing the availability of treatment for life-threatening emergencies.

In addition, treatment at an emergency room is at least five times more costly than a primary care encounter. With ambulance transport, emergency treatment becomes an order of magnitude more expensive than primary care. These dramatically increased costs, along with reduced availability of treatment for life-threatening emergencies, constitute a crisis for our community and the institutions that provide and fund health care. With your help we will continue preventing unnecessary emergency room treatment and subsequent hospital admissions and preserve healthcare system capacity essential for accommodating an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

When complete, the new facility will allow White Bird to quickly identify and respond to emerging health care needs, preventing the infection and spread of COVID-19 in people experiencing homelessness through symptom monitoring, screening, and testing. It will also enhance White Bird’s work coordinating care for the local population of unhoused individuals, strengthen partnerships with referring agencies and organizations, and support coordinating community efforts to suppress COVID-19. An additional benefit will be the capacity to conduct point of care testing for dental clinic patients, in order to keep dental staff safe and improve access to oral health care.