Telemedicine, curbside pharmacy provide continuum of quality care for uninsured during COVID-19
April 27, 2021
The mission of San José Clinic is made possible through the dedicated service of 52 staff members and more than 300 volunteer healthcare providers and other community volunteers from institutions of higher learning, church groups and other faith-based and community service organizations and retirees. (Photo courtesy of San José Clinic)
HOUSTON — While strict social distancing mandates during the global pandemic could have further restricted access to quality medical, dental and pharmacy care for uninsured clients, San José Clinic used this opportunity to deliver uninterrupted comprehensive care in new, innovative ways, including telemedicine and a curbside pharmacy model.
“At the start of the pandemic, our clinic was faced with the fear of having to close our doors to protect our patients, volunteers and staff,” said Maureen Sanders, president and CEO of San José Clinic. “Thankfully, we were able to quickly and succinctly transition to a telemedicine platform, as well as a curbside pharmacy model, that ensured uninterrupted care for our patients.”
Sanders said while the clinic was still able to care for nearly 3,000 patients while protecting the safety of all concerned, the new telemedicine platform allowed the team to continue with plans for opening the new satellite clinic in Fort Bend county. That location treated 114 patients and completed over 360 visits between August and December 2020.
“In addition, the newly innovated curbside pharmacy allowed the clinic to dispense 10,426 prescriptions between March and December 2020,” said Sanders. “COVID-19 and its impact on the underserved population has, in fact, strengthened our clinic’s focus to not only maintain our mission but seek out ways to innovate our already comprehensive care.”
Marking its 99th year of serving the uninsured in need living within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, San José Clinic’s mission is to provide quality healthcare and education to those with limited access to such services in an environment that respects the dignity of each person. Its mission is made possible through the dedicated service of 52 staff members and more than 300 volunteer healthcare providers and other community volunteers from institutions of higher learning, church groups and other faith-based and community service organizations and retirees.
Through their efforts, a wide range of medical services are provided, encompassing primary medical care, 15 different specialties (gynecology, cardiology and neurology), dental care, eye care, pharmaceutical, mental health, diagnostic services, disease state management, physical therapy and counseling.
Dr. Georgine De Roth, a volunteer primary care physician for adult patients with acute and chronic medical conditions since April 2018, said serving with San José Clinic has been an incredibly rewarding experience.
“I have seen first-hand how the clinic makes a difference in the lives of so many patients,” said De Roth. “It has been a blessing to know that I am contributing in a small way to this important mission. The clinic staff and volunteers are such a dedicated, collaborative group of individuals, working together to provide quality healthcare to the underserved and uninsured.”
As one of 60 ministries directly supported by the faithful in the Archdiocese through the Diocesan Services Fund (DSF), Sanders said this funding is critical to San José Clinic’s operating budget.
“As Texas continues to lead the nation in uninsured residents, DSF funding is critical to our clinic’s mission,” said Sanders. “Every day, we work to ensure that these residents in our community can receive the care that they need. In turn, many of these patients are able to continue their important essential work in industries like agriculture, hospitality and construction, allowing them to support their families and improve our overall community.”
De Roth agrees supporting the DSF annually allows ministries like San José Clinic to continue providing quality care to those in need.
“The clinic provides comprehensive care to a large number of patients who would not otherwise have access to such services,” said De Roth. “This includes primary care, sub-specialty care, dental care and pharmacy care. By supporting this ministry through the DSF, you are helping to ensure the safety and health of many families throughout the community.”
To learn more about the DSF, San José Clinic, and additional ministries supported by the fund, go to archgh.org/dsf.