Covid 19: Health Centers Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Funding

Grants and Contracts Details


University of Kentucky Research Foundation UK North Fork Valley Community Health Center (UKNFVCHC) CARES Funding Activity Overview - H8DCS36338 Like virtually all health centers across the nation the UKNFVCHC has committed to combating the COVID-19 outbreak with the overarching goal of protecting the health and wellness of our patients and staff. Much time and resources have gone into a complete reworking of how we provide medical, dental, behavioral, nutritional, and pharmacy services to limit exposure or potential exposure to the coronavirus, while at the same time maintaining our capacity to provide services during a time of reduced clinical volumes. Safety As we have prepared ourselves for the potential surge in patients affected by the coronavirus, the safety of patients and staff has been a top priority. Training of staff is a key component of UK Healthcare quality and safety. Annual reinforcement trainings for the current year on the proper donning and removal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has coincided with this outbreak. Staff assignments have undergone major changes in the move to eliminate face-to-face, in-clinic visits to telehealth. Much work has gone into entirely new workflows for every service line. Drive through and curbside pharmacy services have been setup to reduce the risk of exposure of patients and staff. Where possible, staff who can perform their assigned responsibilities while working remotely have been assigned to work from home or otherwise outside of the clinic. Finally, screening stations have been set up at the employee and clinical area entrances to screen both staff and visitors to the center to assess if any symptoms of COVID-19 are present. Staff working inside the center are required to wear a mask at all times. Response With the overarching goal of patient and staff safety in mind, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic the UKNFVCHC has responded in various ways. A key activity aimed at educating the community has been through a social media campaign to share educational materials. The materials describe the symptoms of COVID-19 and how to differentiate those symptoms from other illnesses such as the flu, the common cold and seasonal allergies. In addition to the symptoms of COVID-19, information promoting and stressing the importance of social distancing is shared. Proper nutrition is promoted and instructions on making an appointment with our staff dietician are communicated. Finally, to help with the transition from face-to-face, in clinic visits to telehealth visits, patient relations staff have prepared a video describing how to connect to a telehealth visit via Zoom. In addition to our social media endeavors, Dr. Key Douthitt, medical director, participated in an interview with the local television station which focused on the services and testing, including testing for the coronavirus, provided by our facility. Chief among our responses is the move away from in-clinic services. All services, except in the case of an urgent or emergency situation, have been moved outside of the clinical area. Medical services are provided via telehealth or at a drive-up area. The drive up area is provided primarily for the use of screening of patients and testing for the COVID-19 virus. Two dental providers are available to work with urgent issues while another is available to address patient needs through teledentistry. During times of normal operations, our center operates two mobile dental units where services are provided to elementary and middle school aged children. One of these units has now been redeployed to operate as a “fixed site,” stationed just outside of our Hindman location to serve patients with urgent needs. Mobile dental support staff have been reassigned to work exclusively in the fixed setting. The Hazard University of Kentucky Research Foundation H8DCS36338 University of Kentucky Research Foundation UK North Fork Valley Community Health Center (UKNFVCHC) CARES Funding Activity Overview - H8DCS36338 location is able to see urgent issues in the newly reopened fixed dental site. Behavioral and nutritional services are now provided exclusively via telehealth. One area of limited infrastructure in our region is the lack of widespread availability of internet or cellular connectivity. This creates a barrier to the use of telehealth services to many patients. To eliminate this barrier we have employed the use of iPads. Patients who present to our health center are provided an iPad and connected to their provider while sitting safely away inside their vehicle. A major concern of many patients is their ability to secure their needed medications from our on-site pharmacies located inside our two health centers. Our pharmacy locations have set up curb side services where the patient is able to pull up to the clinic and a pharmacy technician will deliver their medications directly to them in their vehicle. The pharmacist is available to provide any counseling necessary on the proper use of the medications. To a lesser degree we have provided medications through mail order services as well. Capacity During this time of reduced clinical volumes, a point of significance has been on the proper utilization of staff while at the same time being mindful of efficient operations. On the other hand, and compounding the operational issues brought on by this pandemic, is seeing that our health center is adequately prepared to serve our area in the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases. This is especially important at this point in time as larger more metropolitan areas are beginning to see declines in new cases, rural areas such as ours are beginning to see increases in confirmed cases due in large part to increased testing capacity. Moreover, we must ensure we are still there, ready to serve, when the COVID-19 outbreak has passed. Where needed and possible, staff have been redeployed to other areas to carry out the provision of services under new models and workflows made necessary with the transition to drive through and telehealth services—the means by which predominately all medical, dental, behavioral, and nutritional services are now delivered. Examples include, medical records clerks have been reassigned to become full time screeners of staff, guests, and patients when necessary. Registration clerks have taken on the responsibility of moving previously scheduled clinic visits to telehealth visits with the added responsibility of “training” the patient on the connection and use of the telehealth medium. Pharmacy techs have been moved from inside the pharmacy to manning the curbside pharmacy service. Dental assistants who previously worked on our mobile dental unit have now been reassigned to working teledentistry and fixed sites to deal with emergency and urgent issues. While necessary these new assignments are less efficient than the previous model of service delivery. With the availability of CARES Act funding, our health center’s ability to maintain our current capacity to continue to provide services now and in the future is now possible. University of Kentucky Research Foundation H8DCS36338
Effective start/end date4/1/203/31/21


  • Health Resources and Services Administration: $623,105.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.