Much planning and effort went into detailing how best to operate the medication pick up sites yet remain within the parameters of infection prevention. The medication clinics continue presently and likely will continue through the summer, at least to some degree.
Our first ‘reopening’ of a face to face clinic occurred June 3 at our Shakopee site. Again, much planning, guidance and workflow revisions were established to make sure we have proper supplies, protective equipment and cleaning materials in order to see patients. The decision to reopen clinic/s was discussed and planned with our medical director, beginning with patients whose health needs were of greatest concern. Nurses are knowledgeable about patient needs and have been monitoring them through the recent weeks. Depending on how the initial reopening goes and depending on the state’s guidelines for gradual reopening of services, we expect to reopen a second face to face clinic in St. Paul in late June or early July. Our clinic at the Park Ave. Methodist church remains a question at this point as to timing of reopening that site. Due to facility issues at St. William’s in Fridley, we will wait until late summer or early fall. Our Eastside clinic is held in a St. Paul public school and for now, that building is closed. This should bring you up to date on clinic status.
Volunteers have been contacted regarding their availability to return to face to face clinics as we begin to reopen. If you’ve not been contacted, please let us hear from your regarding your availability and any concerns you may have. We do have stringent practices in the clinics and remain very aggressive in preventive efforts regarding Covid-19, and we monitor health department guidelines consistently.
It has been an exciting journey for sure, one with many lessons, many highs and many lows. The SMHC team is steadfast in providing care to our patients and families and remain ever grateful for your continued support.
While the activities in response to the pandemic have been non-stop, another arena has added energy to our work. In response to the greater community needs related to the pandemic, such as unemployment, housing challenges, food shortages, etc., many organizations and foundations have expanded funds available in response to these community needs. As a result, grant activity in partnership with the Ministries Foundation has been extremely active. We are pleased to be recipients of funds from multiple organizations to help support our work in response to Covid-19. An especially exciting initiative is the availability of funds dedicated to direct financial support for our families. Grants were written to provide funding for food, clothing, shelter and basic needs for families who have been impacted by the pandemic. A process is in place for applying for and distributing funds to support these very basic needs in partnership with our Finance Department. Many of our patients’ families have been severely impacted by job losses in recent months and have suffered greatly. We are most grateful for the support provided by our funders in Response to Covid-19 challenges:
The St. Paul Foundation, Constellation Fund, Minnesota Department of Health, Otto Bremer Trust, the Twin Cities United Way, Medica, Cub Foods, Holiday Station Stores, and many individual donors.
Special thanks to our grant writer, Paul Tatro for his research, writing skills and commitment to St. Mary’s for re-energizing the many grant applications submitted and awarded in recent months.
Thanks also to Janis Ollwerther, RN, and Ann Fox, RN, for their extra hours in researching and helping to update SMHC policies and for their excellent work in developing guidelines and requirements for continued services during the Covid-19 journey.
Thanks to our Medical Director, Loie Lenarz, MD, who has led us in our Covid-19 adaptation journey, working with us consistently in response to restrictions and necessary modifications.
Special recognition to our Social Worker, Cathy Luiken, for her leadership in helping identify and provide resources for providing basic needs for our families, all while carrying an increased workload addressing the mental health needs of our patients.
Thanks also to our providers whose presence and leadership have made our medication clinics and virtual visits a success: Drs. Tom Davis, David
Tom King, Ellen Raeker, David Larson, Robert Suurmeyer, David Von Weiss, John Bordwell, Gayl Gustafson, Emily Lagace, Paul Haller, and Kim Hanson, ARNP.
Congratulations to Adriana Guerra for completion of the Community Health Worker Certificate program through St. Catherine University. Adriana works in outreach and at our Park clinic.
Finally, to our entire SMHC staff, Volunteers and Board of Directors, for their agility, adaptability and continued commitment to serving the needs of our vulnerable and often voiceless patients.
Nursing students from St. Catherine University are again with us over the summer. These are MSN students but as yet are not licensed RN’s. So St. Mary’s serves as their clinical experience for their Public Health rotation. The summer of 2020 is sure to be a unique experience for them as we adjust processes, practices and ways of serving patients in response to Covid-19.
So, you see that much is happening at St. Mary’s Health Clinics. Our work continues, our mission is evident and thriving. Thank you again for your continued support and presence, you are the strength and foundation of our services.
Happy ‘summering’ to all!