Florida’s federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) responded to the Florida Department of Health’s (DOH) request to partner with them on the effort to reduce the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Recent actions at the federal level have placed efforts combating COVID-19 as Congress’ top priority. FQHCs, the state’s primary care safety net, play an important role in Florida’s response to this outbreak.
“The mission of Florida’s Community Health Centers is to provide the very best quality primary care for all of Florida,” said Andrew Behrman, the president and CEO of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, last week. “Coordination, planning, and appropriate action are necessary to stop the spread of the coronavirus and Florida’s Community Health Centers stand ready to respond and work with other providers in the health care system to ensure that Florida’s residents and visitors remain safe and healthy.”
Community Health Centers provide comprehensive, quality care to patients, regardless of financial or insurance status. These centers also provide critical services such case management, interpretation, and transportation assistance to help patients overcome the multiple social and economic barriers they face in obtaining quality primary care. In the current fight against coronavirus, Community Health Centers will partner with DOH to use their services to help speed up the delivery of needed care to vulnerable Floridians.
“Florida’s Community Health Centers deeply appreciate that Congress recognizes that we are among key first responders in dealing with the novel coronavirus and other public health threats that may come our way. Legislative leaders have followed through on their commitment to provide the resources needed to help address this issue,” said Behrman. “At a time when our nation is facing a new public health crisis with the spread of COVID-19, now is the best time to bolster existing public health and primary care resources, and it is more critical than ever to shore up long-term and stable funding for critical programs like the Community Health Center Fund, Teaching Health Centers, and the National Health Service Corps.”
Florida’s network of Community Health Centers and related facilities – including mobile care units – have a presence in each of Florida’s 67 counties. They work closely with local health departments to coordinate efforts and are regularly responding to new public health situations while working to provide the absolute best care possible for Floridians.
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please first contact your local county health department and they can refer individuals to a Community Health Center for follow-up care or additional services. FDOH has opened a COVID-19 Call Center to answer any of your questions. The number is 1-866-779-6121 and the call center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.