Every day for more than thirty years, Family
Health Care has stood up against disease and suffering for vulnerable people in the KC metro area. When HIV/AIDS first showed
up in our gay community and then began to infect so many men, women and children, Family Health Care stood up. Before the
government allocated funding for HIV services, the staff (some who are still with Family Health Care) simply provided what
they could (limited at times to no more than handholding) for the uninsured and others who were dying of the newly recognized
infection. Family Health Care has continued moving forward and has lead the health care community, showing the importance
of caring even when there is no clear map to follow.
Now our community is facing the invisible yet pervasive and deadly SARS-Corona-2 virus and the
illness it causes – Corona Virus Disease-19 (COVID-19). This virus, like HIV, infects without regard to race or gender
or social status. It is not clear everyone will be ok. As soon as the leadership of Family Health Care understood the gaps
in the Kansas City metro response, we stepped up. Family Health Care is standing up by being the first testing site in Wyandotte
County and the only one in the metro open to anyone meeting the criteria recommended by the Department of Health and following
CDC guidelines without regard to insurance or ability to pay. Family Health Care is standing up to host what is now the primary
COVID-19 information line for the metro area, with staff and volunteers who are helping identify who should be tested, directing
the sick who are seeking care to clinics or the ER, reinforcing the Stay-at-Home directives to blunt the spike of infection,
and reassuring people who are mildly symptomatic.
We chose to do this work and we choose daily to continue. But as a small clinic, not funded by
government 330 grants like many of the community health centers, we need support from our community to continue. We do not
charge for the Corona virus testing and so far, we have no extra money to pay for those tests which are done at private labs
who charge $50-$65 per test (we are not using labs that quoted $250 or more for each test). FHC is working closely with the
Wyandotte Unified Government Health Department following the guidance of the CDC and other experts, but they also have no
funding to pay for these tests. And there are no funds for the staff on the front line performing these tests and continuing
to provide other health care services to infected and non-infected patients in the out-patient clinic.
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