05 Aug Origin Stories: Neighborhood Health Center
By Penny Moore, Director of Development and Communications, Neighborhood Health Center
How and when did your CHC open? Neighborhood Health Center (NHC) opened in 2010 out of a need to provide a medical home for 1,200 high-risk patients. CareOregon originally started NHC because they had 1,200 patients that were not assigned a primary care practice as a result of limited access to healthcare in Washington County. By 2011, NHC became an independent Federally Qualified Health Center servicing 4,000 patients in Washington and Clackamas County. Today, NHC has 10 clinics, including 2 school-based health centers, in 2 counties servicing 21,000 low-income, at-risk patients.
Ways your CHC is meeting community needs now? To continue to meet the needs of our patients during the COVID pandemic, NHC quickly implemented telehealth options that allowed patients to continue to see their provider in a safe and secure environment. Although dental services were severely curtailed as a result of the COVID pandemic our dental providers continued to provide emergent need in-person visits while also offering triage telehealth options.
NHC is committed to keeping all staff employed during the pandemic while also serving the needs of staff that were confronted with increased need for day care when Oregon schools and day care facilities closed. A large number of dental staff offered to take on other roles that needed to be filled within the organization including developing a day camp for staff children to attend while their parents continued to work in vital roles such as front desk receptionists, ILI screening in clinic lobbies, rooming patients, sanitizing high traffic areas within clinics, patient outreach and scheduling, triage calls from the call center, etc.
Additionally, NHC quickly implemented a Care Management model that focused on calling 4000 high-risk patients to support their needs while remaining at home. These calls often included assessing mental health needs as well as social determinants of health which regularly resulted in scheduled telehealth visits with behaviorists, pharmacists and primary care providers to address their individual patient needs.
NHC Hunziker Pharmacy opened as a delivery-based service in May focused on high-risk patient prescriptions needs, allowing patients to get refills in a timely manner and without leaving their home.
Another important aspect of community health is providing access to COVID tests and screening. NHC quickly set up COVID ILI Drive-Thru Clinics in Washington and Clackamas Counties for patients to be screened and or tested for COVID in a safe and secure way. Clinics have been held in downtown Hillsboro at the NHC Hillsboro RN Clinic and at NHC Oregon City Medical Clinic, two days per week in each location. NHC recently added COVID Testing Clinic at the NHC Canby Clinic 1 day a week.
At NHC, All Are Welcome. This is the foundation of community health care that NHC communicates through our commitment to our patients and the communities we serve. We continue to promote the importance of diversity and equity in all that we do. Through the use of online communications, digital marketing/advertising, social media, and individual behaviors NHC continues to promote that all at-risk, people of color, individuals who attend protests, or asymptomatic individuals concerned about COVID will be tested upon request.