30 Jul CHI First South Florida Facility to Provide Covid-19 Drive-Through Testing
With South Florida facing a health crisis, Community Health of South Florida, Inc. became the first facility to offer drive-through COVID-19 testing in Miami-Dade and Monroe County. The non-profit organization sprung into action, mobilizing its team and providing many communities invaluable health resources when they were most needed.
Those efforts began on a blustery mid-March day outside CHI headquarters on SW 216th Street in Miami, with patients’ cars lining up as far back as three-and-a-half blocks as occupants sought testing.
“We were just beginning to learn about COVID-19 and how to stop it,” said Monica Mizell, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at CHI. “We were testing for, and handling a live virus, and we knew the seriousness of this situation, but we were ready to respond.”
Miami police were also on hand doing crowd control as news helicopters hovered overhead assessing the scene.
CHI went on to expand COVID-19 testing operations in more South Florida locations. With these services successfully in place in Coconut Grove, Florida City, Marathon, Homestead, and Key West, CHI then extended its commitment to the community by venturing into homeless communities and partnering with the Homeless Trust to provide critical COVID-19 testing services to this vulnerable group.
“Our medical team was passionately involved in this effort,” said Mizell. “We were able to provide testing for this at-risk community, giving them masks and educating them on the dangers of the virus, knowing we were reaching people who might otherwise not have those needs met.”
Even as these timely emergency response services were deployed, CHI’s 10 South Florida health centers remained open, active, and fully operational.
To address the needs of patients fearful of venturing out, CHI kicked its telehealth services into full gear, providing a wide range of virtually accommodated services including primary care, pediatrics, behavioral health, dental, OB/GYN, and urgent care.
Meanwhile, community partners such as TD Bank Charitable Foundation rose to the occasion providing critical funding support for those telehealth services.
“We know that over 80% of CHI’s patients identify as Black or Hispanic/Latino, a population traditionally facing barriers to healthcare which the COVID-19 pandemic has further perpetuated,” said Akash Mahajan, Manager Citizenship Partnerships, TD Bank. “TD is honored to support CHI’s tele-health platform, expanding access to care for the community’s most vulnerable and ensuring equitable health outcomes for all, in alignment with the bank’s TD Ready Commitment.”
CHI wants its patients to know it is safe to return to the health center for care. CHI has put in place social distancing and access control protocols while increasing hygienic procedures to ensure its patients are safe, comfortable, and welcomed back.
“We temperature test all employees before entering our facilities, all of whom must wear masks, and abide by CDC protocols. It’s simply the new normal now,” said Mizell.