Working together to maintain the community safety net
Dear community partners,
In talking with friends and loved ones over the past few weeks – from an acceptable, six-foot distance, of course – a near universal thread is the sheer unprecedented nature of our current situation. In recent history, we’ve navigated the economic and grief-filled aftermath of 9/11, and the financial challenges of the 2008 recession, but for many, this pandemic feels more impactful – in no small part because of a sense of uncertainty about the path ahead.
Today, I’m writing to help eliminate at least one piece of uncertainty for our Compass Health community: our team is here, on the front lines, doing everything in our power to maintain the mental and physical health of the most vulnerable members of our communities. We’ve earned our longevity as a 117-year-old organization by mastering perseverance and resilience – and we will continue to rise to the challenge of this situation, and the needs of those we serve.
As we collectively adhere to social distancing recommendations and cope with disruptions across our region, we know that delivering whole person care is more important than ever. And, with Governor Inslee's stay at home order, it is vital that our community safety net remains strong.
As this situation progresses, we will use this space to share updates on Compass Health’s actions and solutions to continue to support whole person health. For now, we want to reassure you that our exceptional professionals are on the front lines, working to maintain the health of our communities, prevent the escalation of this outbreak, and alleviate burdens on our healthcare partners in several ways:
Serving at-risk individuals: Nearly everyone we serve is in the high-risk group for COVID-19. For example, a 50-year-old client with co-occurring mental and physical disorders has the same medical risk factors as a 70-year-old and is more vulnerable to infection. These individuals are unlikely to seek care from a medical provider; instead, they view Compass Health professionals as their primary healthcare resources.
Acting as first responders: The clinical and medical staff on our mobile crisis outreach teams and in our triage centers are first responders, in partnership with EMTs, firefighters and others on the frontlines. We are adept at responding to emergent situations and have specialized skills to balance both mental health and medical needs of community members.
Treating children during a crisis: The children and families we care for often also receive support through special services in the educational system, which are now limited or suspended through school closures. While schools are closed, our youth programs fill critical gaps for children and families.
Supporting hospital capacity: Compass Health's triage centers and other services make a direct impact on keeping individuals out of the emergency room and inpatient care settings, freeing up beds for those who need treatment for COVID-19 or other serious conditions.
Before I close, I want to specifically praise the foresight of our behavioral health professionals in developing crisis protocol planning before any of us had heard the words “novel coronavirus,” and their innovation and ability to implement those plans to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and clients. We’ll continue to post more information about these efforts, including some really exciting innovations coming soon, on the Compass Health website. We’ll also share strategies we can all use to care for our own mental health and well-being.
Thank you for your continued support of Compass Health, the services we provide, and the communities at risk. I look forward to regularly communicating with you over the coming weeks about Compass Health’s evolving response.
Wishing you and your loved ones good health and safety,