Dear Fenway Health Community,
So much has changed in just a few short weeks. The rapid emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant has again necessitated that we respond nimbly, and rapidly adjust our day-to-day efforts in order to minimize COVID-19 transmission in our facilities, maximize patient and client access in light of the circumstances, and do everything we can to provide the high quality care our patients and clients rely on every day.
Because Omicron is so contagious, we are currently contending with the fact that many Fenway Health staff members are being exposed to or contracting COVID-19 themselves. This has impacted our work force and our operations. We expect this will continue to be a fluid matter in the coming weeks as the full impact of the Omicron wave moves through our region. The situation is unpredictable, and unfortunately many important variables are outside our sphere of control.
Fenway Health remains committed to providing quality, culturally competent health care to LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and other underserved communities. We are grateful for the dedication, teamwork, and compassion of our staff in working to safeguard the health and safety of our Fenway Health community.
Maintaining the stability and the quality of our care, services, and operations and remaining patient and client-centered is our top priority. As a federally qualified health center, we recognize that we are a safety net for many of our patients, and it is in difficult times just like this that you need us most. I want our entire Fenway Health community to know that, despite any current and future challenges, we will always remain committed to providing the care and services you need and deserve.
We have made some temporary changes to our operations in recent days that will help maintain stability in our services, including:
- Encouraging providers to convert in-person appointments to telehealth appointments when patients want to do so, and when clinical conditions allow.
- Temporarily closing the Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center and redeploying those providers and redirecting those patients to our other locations. Borum patients can still schedule appointments with their providers by calling 617.457.8140.
- Deferring or temporarily reducing the length of some routine visits and non-essential services to allow more access to care for sick patients.
And finally, we have some good news: Fenway Health is one of a number of Federally Qualified Health Centers across the country selected to receive the new COVID oral antiviral therapies Paxlovid and Molnupiravir. Studies of Pfizer’s Paxlovid showed that it reduced the risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization or death by 88% when taken within five days of a patient’s first COVID-19 symptoms. Merck’s Molnupiravir has shown to result in a 30% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths when taken during the same time period. You can read more about this on our blog.
Another bit of good news is that, starting January 15, most people with a health plan will be able to go online or to a store to access free at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. The tests will be available at no cost either through reimbursement or free of charge through your insurance provider. This applies whether you purchased your health plan on your own or whether you get health insurance through your job. Learn more about how to get your free at-home COVID tests here.
Thank you all for entrusting your care to us, and for your understanding as we work as a community to weather this latest storm. Together, we will get through this.
Take good care.
Best,Ellen LaPointe Chief Executive Officer