I am writing to give you today’s update from Asian Health Services (AHS), the community health center and safety net for 50,000 AAPI patients in 14 Asian languages, throughout Alameda County. I want to share with you our front line experiences and perspectives, from the patients, our health care workers, and our broader community.
In these past weeks we’ve seen both great resilience and great need. Our community is faced with challenges of COVID-19 that are hitting everyone on the national level, with a focus on the need for tests, an emphasis on safety protective gear to prevent transmission (PPEs or Personal Protective Equipment), and addressing the anxiety and isolation caused by the pandemic and Shelter in Place. Our AAPI community is in a particular nexus of vulnerability as we are disproportionately affected by language barriers and escalating anti-Asian racism. Stories of courage, and also stark examples of vulnerable patients needing care and support. Our teams are working day and night to address clinical needs, and also the critical emotional and social services needs that are increasing by the day.
Just this week, we have seen a woman who attempted suicide, triggered by being kicked off insurance, financial pressure, and family discord. A parent with respiratory symptoms, walking in carrying two small children, and without the means to self-isolate at home from her other family members. Our teen program is getting desperate pleas from youth afraid of going hungry, out of school and without any stable hot meals. A young man just diagnosed with HIV, is petrified to go out for supplies, given his compromised immune system. We have no choice. AHS is here, providing health care, comfort, education, information, reassurance, problem solving, and advocacy, all in 14 Asian languages.
Two weeks ago, AHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. George Lee and his team of providers began going at warp speed to forge the AHS Telephone Visit Project. Harnessing their expertise and sheer will, within days, our clinics began transforming daily in person visits to virtual phone care. Telephone Visits are a lifesaving measure that enables us to triage and treat in language and culture, while protecting our patients and healthcare workers from transmission. While the majority of visits can be conducted through the phone, we continue to be here to treat those patients who need in-person care.
The ask is clear:
— Community Care Fund. Urgently needed for AHS patients and community members who are impacted by the economic consequences of COVID-19.
$200 to provide emergency and hardship support for an elder or family
— COVID-19 Protection Fund. Urgently needed now to protect our front line health care workers. This will provide funds for masks, face shields, goggles, gowns.
$375 to equip one provider with PPE for three weeks (personal protective equipment).
— Outreach and Televisit Lifeline. Urgently needed now to optimize our transformation to Telehealth and provide Smart phones, tablets, IT infrastructure, IT support.
$750 to equip one provider with IT devices.
$7500 for one mobile telehealth station that can support two exam rooms.
— Advocacy Fund. Urgently needed to ensure AAPIs are empowered to assert their right to health care and speak out against Public Charge.
$100 to mobilize and elevate our patient and community voices against Public Charge and rising anti-Asian racism and attacks.
As always, Asian Health Services upholds our dual mission of service and advocacy. We are working daily with our partners and colleagues in government, philanthropy, in the private and policy sectors to leverage all our collective strategies and power in service to the most vulnerable. We cannot do any of it without you. Asian Health Services is here on the front lines because of you.
Please stay in touch. Please donate.
On behalf of our AHS Team and Patients,
Chief Executive Officer