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Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic Adapts Delivery of Care to ‘New Normal’

Family Medicine
April 10, 2020
Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic Adapts Delivery of Care to ‘New Normal’ amid COVID-19

Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic continues to provide care to patients throughout the Pacific Northwest amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are expanding our services and adapting to this new normal,” said Carlos Olivares, CEO.

In addition to quickly launching telephone visits, establishing methods to mail medications requiring refrigeration, and continuing to keep all locations open, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic has been screening and testing patients before entering any clinical locations.

Every patient of Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic is screened and those who meet symptom and exposure requirements are then tested for COVID-19.

To date, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic has performed 1,164 COVID-19 tests across its network of care. These tests account for nearly 30 percent of all tests performed in Yakima County. They account for nearly 10 percent of all tests in Washington, and 2 percent of all tests in Oregon within the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic network of care.

COVID-19 tests by county pie chart

As health professionals are fighting this pandemic with a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic chose to postpone all elective dental procedures in order to conserve PPE for the battle against COVID-19. All Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic dental sites continue to see patients for emergency visits and arrange for dental case management.

Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic providers urge everyone to continue with their regular medical care, practice social distancing by avoiding all gatherings, and continue hand hygiene including washing hands for up to twenty seconds.

Patients are able to continue their care through telephone or in-person visits with their providers. Providers are now performing nearly 70 percent of their regular medical visits over the phone.  “Not only can many of your medical needs be met over the phone, we are also offering phone visits with behavioral health providers and our public can even have their WIC appointments done on the phone,” Olivares said.

For individuals who may have lost health care coverage due to job loss or work reduction, the patient benefits coordinators at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic will help any community member apply for state health insurance coverage. Individuals do not need to become patients to take advantage of this benefit.

 “We want community members to know they may now qualify for state insurance,” Olivares added. “Through all that’s going on, we continue to keep our doors open for the health and safety of our communities, and we urge anyone needing to see a medical provider to give us a call.” Benefit coordinators can help determine if a patient qualifies, and help them get enrolled in a plan that best suits them. 

Olivares continues, “While we are doing everything we can to help our patients and communities, it is vitally important that our communities hear this: stay at home, don’t gather for parties or in groups, and do everything you can to follow the shelter in place orders. Our providers are relying on you.”