Adopt a Health Professional, Save Lives Today
The novel coronavirus from late 2019, more commonly known as COVID-19, has been declared a global pandemic, taking the lives of thousands and affecting almost half a million lives worldwide. While the coronavirus can affect virtually anyone regardless of age, COVID-19 can cause severe and critical illness among some of our most vulnerable populations — older adults and individuals with compromised immune systems. These problems are exacerbated when a patient is facing barriers to medical care such as lack of transportation, exorbitant healthcare costs, lack of service providers, cultural stigmas, fear of accessing services due to immigration or refugee status, difficulty obtaining follow-up care at a site other than the patients’ medical home, and lack of culturally and linguistically competent health and social service staff.
For almost 30 years, La Maestra has responded to every public health crisis that has hit San Diego County. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, La Maestra operates five medical clinics, ten dental suites, three school-based sites, a mobile medical and dental unit, and a state-of-the-art mobile mammography coach. The organization primarily serves the low-income and underserved communities of City Heights, National City, El Cajon and Lemon Grove in the central, south, and east regions of San Diego County. La Maestra staff members have extensive experience working with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention to provide triage and assessment services, as well as linkages to care for infectious diseases such as H1N1, swine flu, Ebola, Zika, MERS, and now COVID-19. Many service sectors are closing down to stem the tide of disease communicability. However, La Maestra, like many others in the health care arena, will keep its doors open.
La Maestra staff are working diligently to treat patients across all sites, and to ensure ongoing patient and staff safety while reducing the risk of exposure and transmission of COVID-19 in the community. The organization’s goal is to keep the doors open and offer the infrastructure needed to coordinate the new modalities for delivering care, including telehealth and telephonic visits during this difficult time. La Maestra’s existing call center is able to phone triage patients who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally, primary and specialty care providers have been utilizing the organization’s telemedicine equipment in order to continue to provide ongoing treatment while the clinic acts as a triage center for COVID-19 patients. Services being provided via telemedicine include health education, behavioral health, addiction psychiatry, case management, and substance use disorder services. Onsite clinic services include pediatric, well-child visits; internal medicine and family medicine, preventive exams; obstetrics and gynecology preventive exams, and social services, which include public program application assistance, financial literacy services,an onsite food pantry, and daily food drives. The organization is distributing food, including breakfast and lunch for children to more than 250 members of the community daily, and the organization continues to operate an onsite food pantry beyond capacity.
Despite La Maestra’s best efforts to prepare for this crisis, the organization is highly concerned about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) on hand to treat the homeless, public housing residents, low-income, uninsured, and underinsured populations served. While the organization’s leadership understands that everybody is taking the necessary precautions and PPE inventory is scarce across the globe, La Maestra needs PPE to remain open and to protect our 225 healthcare workers that will be in direct contact with patients.
Money raised through the La Maestra COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will be used to purchase the emergent PPE that the organization will need to continue to provide care through the duration of this crisis. Furthermore, funds will also be used to support the fantastic work that our primary and specialty care providers, case managers, and outreach workers are providing during this difficult time. Now more than ever, we need your help to to provide quality healthcare and education, improve the overall well-being of the family while bringing the underserved, ethnically diverse communities into the mainstream of our society.