Legal-name: Harbor Community Clinic, Inc.
Previous-name: Harbor Free Clinic
Address: 593 W. 6th Street
City: San Pedro
Organizational-status: 501(c)(3) nonprofit
Officer-title: Chief Executive Officer
Contacttitle: Chief Executive Officer
GrantPurpose: To expand Harbor Community Clinic’s existing mental services to meet the mental health needs of the low-income, vulnerable children and adults in the Long Beach communities during the the coronavirus pandemic.
Periodoftime: 5/15/20 – 11/15/20
Audienceserved: Low-income children and adults
Demoofaudience: Harbor Community Clinic (HCC) serves low-income residents of the South Bay and Long Beach. The diversity and expanse of our network enable us to reach those who most need our services: 85% of HCC’s patients live in households at or below 200% FPL or $51,500 for a family of four; 24.7% are uninsured; and 70% have Medi-Cal. The majority of patients are Latino (63.8%), White (14.8%) and African American (7.1%). In 2019, HCC served 6,400 unique patients with 25,150 visits; 1,230 (19%) patients were children ages 0-17. Of these patients, approximately 500 were from Long Beach.
Numberofserved: 100 children and adults will be provided mental health services through 500 encounters (average of 5 visits per client)
District: District 1
1. What disaster recovery service have already been provided? : As a Federally Qualified Health Center, HCC is on the frontlines combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. In consultation with the county public health department, HCC has developed and implemented new safety protocols for patients and employees. We have expanded care outside our clinics with outdoor assessment areas to screen all employees, and to screen and triage all patients; set up emergency containment tents; distributed masks to every staff person providing patient care and face shields for other staff who interact with patients; and instituted more rigorous sanitation protocols. We also offer COVID-19 testing for patients who meet the LA County Department of Public Health testing criteria. Furthermore, HCC is supporting county efforts by outreaching to homeless encampments and shelters, conducting screening, triage, and isolation; testing for COVID-19; distributing hygiene kits; and ramping up housing assistance services. HCC has implemented all of the above while continuing to safely serve patients with other conditions, such as mental health issues (which have increased during the time of the pandemic), substance use disorder, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, HIV, and attend to prenatal/postnatal patients. California’s Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) requested and was granted a waiver by the Federal government to allow for telephone and telehealth visits for Medi-Cal patients to be reimbursable. As of April 10, 2020, we have successfully transitioned approximately 60 percent of our encounters to telephone visits. This minimizes foot traffic at the health center to avoid putting patients and providers/staff at a greater risk for COVID-19 exposure; and reduces the need for personal protective equipment. HCC submitted a recent application to the Federal Communications Commission to increase our capacity for telehealth implementation and distribute connected devices to high-risk patients. The Medical and Operations teams are developing the workflows and procedures for telehealth consultations, which will triage patients and direct them to the appropriate service. If patients exhibit COVID-19 symptoms but are not considered at-risk, they will be urged to stay home. HCC will call them every day to check on their progress. If a patient’s condition is acute and they are considered at-risk, HCC will coordinate getting them to the hospital. HCC’s CEO is in daily contact with the LA County Department of Public Health to keep abreast of changes in policy and protocol. HCC is using all of its communication methods (website, automated texting, Call Center) to disseminate educational messages to patients to ensure that they understand the latest directives for slowing the virus’ spread.
2. What additional services, above your standard operations, will be conducted with this grant funding?: HCC’s respectfully requests disaster recovery service funding from the Long Beach City Foundation to support the expansion of mental health services in order to address the growing mental health needs among the low-income, vulnerable children and adults in Long Beach as a result of the pandemic. In the last month we have seen first hand the effects isolation and social distancing can have on mental health as well as the fears around the pandemic in general. Some children already struggling with anxiety or depression are experiencing higher levels of symptoms given the increased anxiety in society as a whole and increased isolation from physical distancing. Parents are being confronted with job/income insecurity or loss, balancing parenting children at home while working, striving to obtain potentially scarce resources such as food and supplies for their family, and parenting with increased isolation during a time of physical distancing. These stressors in turn can take a toll on a parent’s own well-being and mental health. Patients are displaying symptoms and reactions such as: irritability, anxiety, or excessive sadness; cognitive dysfunction such as difficulty making decisions or following directions; physical symptoms such as headache, or stomach pain; behavioral reactions such as consuming more alcohol or interpersonal conflict.
The need for disaster recovery mental health services is critical. Research shows a link between exposure to trauma and the onset of other health care needs immediately following an emergency event, and often for many years after. Studies correlate trauma with later cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and neurological illness, as well as psychiatric diagnoses such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and substance abuse disorders (A. Bowirrat, 2010). HCC is in a unique position to address the mental health needs of the low-income, vulnerable residents of the Long Beach communities by expanding our existing affordable mental health care (sliding fee scale, no one is turned away without ability to pay) to meet the demand. Our mental health providers are trained to facilitate the resiliency and recovery of survivors and responders by: providing psycho-education and information on the pandemic; engaging in supportive listening; screening individuals who are at greater risk for longer-term adverse reactions; and ensuring referral to appropriate medical, or supportive services. For many of our patients, our Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) are a lifeline to help them manage and understand their mental health concerns. Our therapists are now offering telephonic services (telehealth services will be available in mid-May), so individuals do not have to leave their homes to receive care.
The goal of HCC’s disaster recovery project is to improve mental health through prevention and by ensuring access to appropriate, quality mental health services. Over the 6-month project term, HCC will provide mental health services (psychoeducation, counseling and treatment) to 100 children and adults from Long Beach.
Funds will be used to pay a portion of the salary of HCC’s part-time LCSW (who will expand hours from part-time to full-time). HCC’s request represents 11.3% of the total 6-month program budget.
3. What individuals (and/or organizations) will you assist? : Funding from the Long Beach City Foundation will enable HCC to provide expand its existing critical mental health services during the time of the pandemic to low-income children and adults residing in the communities of Long Beach.
For 50 years, HCC has been dedicated to reducing health disparities among low-income children and families residing in the South Bay and Long Beach communities that have a persistent shortage of accessible healthcare options and where health centers have been challenged to penetrate communities due to socioeconomic and cultural factors. We provide affordable, comprehensive primary medical care, mental health, substance use disorder services, dental care, and enabling services and have earned our reputation as a safe and secure place to seek care with dignity and without judgment. While primary health care provision is the cornerstone of our work, HCC goes beyond the traditional healthcare model to address the social determinants of health with impacting access and outcomes, including case management, referral coordination, eligibility assistance, care coordination, community outreach, and transportation services.
4. What other disaster recovery funds have you received? What amount?: A. Health Resources and Services Administration – Coronavirus Supplemental Funding – $57,700 to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
B. Health Resources and Services Administration – Coronavirus Supplemental Funding – $648,065 to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
C. United Way of Greater Los Angeles $2,500 to provide hygiene kits to individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the South Bay and Long Beach.
5. What other disaster recovery funds have you applied for? A. Federal Communications Commission – $145,000 for telehealth (pending – we should receive notification this week).