The operational impact of COVID-19 on primary care and behavioral health providers have had an unprecedented impact on health centers’ financial sustainability: staff furloughs, site closures, clinical conversion to telehealth, investments in PPE, capital upgrades and site redesigns, etc., have resulted in an enormous and unplanned drain on capital resources and liquidity. While government programs have been a source of support for many primary care and behavioral health providers, not all have been eligible and those that have received support have been challenged to appropriately apply funds.
PCDC’s financing programs are supporting primary care and behavioral health providers during this time of crisis. By utilizing a mix of low-cost and flexible programs, centers can maintain or increase their liquidity by allowing organizations to retain their own cash while maintaining or even expanding current operations:
PCDC has hosted a series of webinars to help providers and community health centers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics include implementing telehealth, developing reopening plans, addressing key issues affecting primary care, and more.
Telemedicine is one solution that can sustain communities’ access to care and providers’ access to revenue throughout the pandemic. PCDC is available to provide technical assistance on initiating and sustaining telehealth services, including deploying standalone and integrated solutions, retooling scheduling, panel management, and population health processes, improving telephonic/virtual communication, and enhancing billing and coding practices. For financing needs, PCDC’s Transformation Loan Fund enables health centers and other community-based health care organizations to undertake critical investments that support new delivery and payment models, including implementing and sustaining telehealth programs.
PCDC has produced COVID-19 resources that can be found below.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents exceptional challenges to health care workers and the health system as a whole. It has strained the provider community and shined a bright light on the U.S. health care system — both its strengths and weaknesses. The fragility of the primary care payment system has been demonstrated while our primary care providers have shown unparalleled strength in the face of unprecedented challenges. This crisis has also laid bare the racial disparities that continue to persist across our nation. PCDC believes a strong primary care infrastructure is a necessary first step towards reckoning with the stark reality we face today. We believe the pandemic presents an opportunity for meaningful policy change. A health system rooted in primary care, with highly functioning hospitals and close collaborations with public health, will strengthen our country’s ability to address and manage future threats and achieve health equity.
For more information on these policy issues, please visit the policy page.
PCDC joined Mathematica and 25 leading health care organizations to launch #PrimaryCareCOVIDChat on Twitter, a recurring conversation about challenges facing primary care practices and practitioners in the time of COVID-19. Review highlights from the Twitter chats with PCDC experts below:
The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened inequities in health outcomes and access to care across the United States. In the virus’ epicenter, New York City neighborhoods with higher rates of chronic disease and a higher proportion of black and low-income residents have disproportionately high rates of COVID-19. Many of these same neighborhoods also have poor access to primary care. However, need for primary care is expected to increase significantly following the pandemic, particularly in the communities with disparities in acute and chronic illness. Rapid and responsible investment in the primary care system will play a critical role in mitigating the growth of health disparities in NYC, helping ensure recovery and resiliency in these communities. Learn more.
The COVID-19 public health crisis has had an unprecedented impact on primary care practices across the country and throughout New York City. PCDC is offering a four-part webinar series to support primary care practices across New York City as they adjust their processes to best respond to the needs of their patients during this challenging time. Learn more.