BVCHC: Lessons learned during pandemic: A Blackstone Valley Community Health Care News Article

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BVCHC: Lessons learned during pandemic

Blackstone Valley Community Health Care: Lessons learned during pandemic.

"We are a much tighter team and a much stronger organization," said Dr. Cristina Pacheco, chief medical officer at BVCHC.

The pandemic has had a positive impact on how Blackstone Valley Community Health Care, which has three sites-to better serves two underserved populations in Pawtucket and Central Falls.

Pacheco said half of their 21,000 patients speak little to no English. To reach as many as possible: "We have our community health workers who outreach, sometimes door knock, call, reach out to our patients to bring them in," said Pacheco.

During the height of the pandemic, they continued to see dental patients on an emergency basis.

Medical care didn't stop either.

"We developed a system called curbside care, where we had patients drive up and get blood pressures, checks for diabetes, blood sugars, etc. and then follow them up with telephone visits with their primary care physicians," said Pacheco.

She said the pandemic has truly opened their eyes, helping to further reduce barriers.

"I think it's really made us think about what visits really need to be in person and which visits are better or, at least as good by telephone, or virtually, by video," said Pacheco.

Making childhood immunizations a priority, they saw a 15% increase in 2020.

"It's probably one of the things I'm the most proud of," said Pacheco.

Behavioral health needs grew, too. Televisits made them more accessible and convenient

Now, it's all about expanding COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

"Since the last week in December, we've been administering about 600 vaccines a week. We've given over 6000 vaccines. There are 3700 patients fully vaccinated," said Pacheco.

The community center was also recently awarded $4 million and is using that money to expand its outreach.

In conjunction with Collette Travel, Blackstone Valley Community Health Care has developed a Beat COVID Hotline for folks living in Pawtucket and Central Falls still in need of vaccination.

That number is 855-843-7620.