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It is undeniable: Racism is a public health crisis.
As members and leaders from many of Chicago’s healthcare organizations addressing the disproportionate black and brown mortality from the COVID-19 pandemic, we say without hesitation that Black Lives Matter.
No person of decency can look at the images of George Floyd’s killing without feelings of rage, horror, shame and grief. The deaths of Mr. Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor — and too many others — are unjust and unconscionable.
We must double down on our efforts. Systemic racism is a real threat to the health of our patients, families and communities. We stand with all of those who have raised their voices to capture the attention of Chicago and the nation with a clear call for action.
The health centers and hospitals we represent are deeply woven into the fabric of the communities we serve, live and work in, and we stand united as frontline staff against racism, injustice and inaction.
Racism results in generational trauma and poverty, while also unquestionably causing higher rates of illness and death in black and brown communities. We have seen— in its rawest form — how the trauma of systemic racism adds to the historical injustices that have disproportionately affected communities of color. Community health centers and Chicagoland hospitals work to provide high quality, compassionate care in the face of health disparities and poor outcomes resulting from social and economic inequities.
These social determinants of health include poverty, inadequate housing, underperforming schools, police brutality, mass incarceration, food deserts, joblessness, poor access to health care and violence. All of these factors contribute to health inequities in our communities. And they serve as a recipe for pain, suffering, premature mortality — and understandable civil unrest.
In our communities, there is also resilience, innovation, a tradition of faith and a spirit of unity that manages to thrive even under the weight of this systemic burden. Imagine the potential for our communities with dramatically improved social and economic conditions and health outcomes.
It’s time to fully realize this potential. It’s time for action. We will work more intentionally with community-based partners in building and sustaining the sweeping change that is needed to ensure health equity across the city and particularly in our most vulnerable neighborhoods.
As healthcare organizations, we are committed to being part of the solution, both within our organizations and in partnership with local community groups. We are focused on improving access to care and eliminating racial biases that contribute to poor health outcomes.
We have come together as healthcare providers from all across the city and partnered with community-based organizations to respond to COVID-19 as part of Chicago’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team. Here are some of the steps we already are taking to help overcome the healthcare disparities in our communities:
- COVID-19: We are providing testing, direct care and contact tracing while also partnering with the City of Chicago to provide services and personal protective equipment to marginalized communities, educational programs and advocacy for personal practices that flatten the curve.
- Hiring Programs: We have implemented hiring programs that build pipelines for people of color to find careers in healthcare.
- Community Investment: We are keeping dollars in our community to create jobs and help rebuild strained and decimated economies.
- Pharmacy and Grocery: As thousands of residents are left without essential pharmacies, which have closed following vandalism and looting, healthcare providers are partnering to bring them back as rapidly as possible. We call on pharmacies and grocery stores to commit to reopening their shuttered stores on the South and West Sides of Chicago to ensure access to vital medications and food.
- Restoration and Rebuilding: Members of our organizations are literally working side-by-side with other volunteers to rebuild following demonstrations across Chicago.
- Listening: Many in our organizations will never know the struggle systemic racism has created for our colleagues at work and for members of our community. We vow to listen to our patients and colleagues of color and to learn from their experiences. We commit to be allies, advocates and partners in being the change we want to see in the world.
We also are committed to continue working to help Chicago and Illinois overcome systemic racism and the health care disparities it creates.
We commit to:
- Re-examine our institutional policies with an equity lens and make any policy changes that promote equity and opportunity.
- Improve access to primary and specialty care.
- Continue to focus on helping our communities overcome chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and asthma.
- Continue to advocate for investments that create innovative solutions to achieve enduring improvements in access, quality and health outcomes for our communities.
- Continue our commitment to hiring locally and promoting leaders of color.
- Renew and expand our organizations’ commitment to providing anti-racism and implicit bias training for our physicians, nurses and staff.
- Advocate for increased funding for social needs, social services and programs that promote social justice.
Our society only truly thrives when everyone has an opportunity to succeed and live a healthy life. We are committed to moving forward together. By harnessing the collective strengths of our organizations, we will help serve our communities as agents of change.
Access Community Health Network
Advocate Aurora Health
AHS Family Health Center
Alivio Medical Center
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness
Chicago Family Health Center
Cook County Health
Erie Family Health Centers
Esperanza Health Centers
Heartland Alliance Health
Howard Brown Health
La Rabida Children’s Hospital
Lawndale Christian Health Center
Medical Home Network and MHN ACO
Mercy Hospital and Medical Center
Near North Health Service Corporation
New Roseland Community Hospital
NorthShore University Health System
Norwegian American Hospital
Oak Street Health
PCC Community Wellness Center
PrimeCare Health Community Health Centers
Rush University System for Health
Saint Anthony Hospital
Sinai Health System
South Shore Hospital
St. Bernard Hospital
TCA Health, Inc.
UI Health Mile Square Health Center
University of Chicago Medicine
University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health)
What Erie Wants You To Know About Coronavirus
Erie Family Health Centers is working hard, working carefully, and working quickly to make sure we are keeping our patients and healthcare providers safe, while still making sure that you can still access the healthcare that you need.
If you are sick, PLEASE CALL Erie first. DO NOT WALK IN to an Erie health center without calling ahead to 312.666.3494.
If you have an appointment scheduled, you must come by yourself if possible. If you need support, or the patient is under 18, you may bring no more than one healthy adult with you.
Patients and their guests arriving at Erie health centers will be screened at the door.
Erie is now offering telehealth appointments for some types of visits. This will allow you to speak to a healthcare provider over the phone or on a video chat. When you call Erie to schedule an appointment, the representative who answers your call will let you know if a telehealth visit is an option for you.
Erie provides care for ALL people – people with or without insurance, and people with or without legal immigration status.
Illinois is Under a “Shelter in Place” Order starting on Saturday, March 21. Why? What does that mean?
The State of Illinois is taking this step to help prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19. It means that all residents of Illinois need to stay home and avoid any unnecessary travel or business.
While “shelter in place order” sounds dramatic, to many of us in Illinois who have already been following advice to stay at home and only travel out when necessary, like to work or to the grocery store, this new situation probably won’t feel much different.
You are still allowed to:
-See a medical provider, or pick up prescription medications
-Shop for groceries, food and home supplies, and pet food and supplies
-Go to the gas station, bank or laundromat
-Pick up take-out food from a restaurant offering that service
-Care for a family member or other dependent in another household
-Go outside and exercise, walk, run or walk the dog, as long as you stay 6 -feet away from anyone else
-Go to work at an essential business
The shelter-in-place order also does not apply to people going to work at a business that is considered to be “essential”. Essential businesses include:
-Health care operations, including home health workers
-Essential Infrastructure, including construction of housing and operation of public transportation and utilities
-Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores
-Businesses that provide necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals and shelter facilities
-Pharmacies, health care supply stores and health care facilities
-Gas stations and auto repair facilities
-Hardware stores, plumbers, electricians and other service providers necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences and other essential businesses
-Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning
-Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers
-Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residences
-Restaurants providing delivery or carry-out
-Child care facilities providing services that enable essential employees to go to work
-Roles required for any essential business to “maintain basic operations,” which include security, payroll and similar activities.
Erie’s healthcare providers thank you for continuing to follow instructions like these, stay home as much as possible, and help us prevent our communities and loved ones from getting sick!
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The symptoms are similar to flu or pneumonia and can include cough, fever and shortness of breath. Unlike the flu, the coronavirus usually does not cause a runny or stuffy nose, diarrhea or vomiting. A person with coronavirus typically has symptoms between 2 and 9 days after they were exposed to the virus.
What should I do if I am worried that I or a family member might have coronavirus?
If you believe that you were exposed to someone confirmed to have coronavirus, OR have traveled outside of the country or within the US in the last 14 days AND have a fever AND respiratory symptoms…
CALL ERIE at 312.666.3494 to discuss your symptoms with our team of healthcare providers.
PLEASE DO NOT WALK INTO THE HEALTH CENTER
WITHOUT CALLING AHEAD.
Am I at risk?
Coronavirus continues to spread in Illinois, and no one is immune. The following groups of people are at a higher risk:
A person who has recently traveled outside of the U.S. or to certain areas of the US that have high rates of infection: Washington, Massachusetts, New York or California. A person who has had close contact with someone confirmed to have coronavirus.
The following groups of people are at a higher risk of severe illness if they are exposed to coronavirus:
-Anyone with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure
-Older adults (greater than age 60)
How can I protect myself and my family?
As much as possible, stay at home and avoid group gatherings.
If you need to go out, keep 6 feet of distance between people, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. You can measure this by singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Use hand sanitizer when soap is not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or in your elbow, and throw away used tissue.
Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces in your home like door knobs, light switches and counter tops.
Limit unnecessary travel, especially for those at higher risk of severe illness
Stay home if you are sick!
You may have read about or see people wearing masks when they are out in public. There is no need to wear a mask if you are not sick. It is much better to save any safety equipment like masks for the medical providers and sick people who need them.
What is Erie doing to prepare for the virus?
Erie is closely following instructions from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and our local public health leaders. We are making sure all of our staff have the most current information and instructions for how to keep our health centers clean and our patients and staff safe and healthy. We are updating our instructions frequently, as new information comes out.
What if I need a note to return to work or school?
Erie is not offering coronavirus testing to fulfill work or school clearances. Anyone who has been sick recently can call Erie 72 hours after your symptoms completely go away (feeling 100%) to receive a note. If you have never been sick and your employer or school is requesting documentation that you are not at risk for transmitting COVID-19, Erie is unable to provide that.
I have more questions – where can I get answers?
If you are not sick, and you do not have any of the risk factors for coronavirus, but have general questions, please call one of these community hotlines:
Chicago residents: Call the Chicago Department of Public Health hotline at 312.746.4835
Illinois residents who live outside of Chicago: Call the Illinois Department of Public Health hotline at 800.889.3931 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are sick and have traveled recently or been close to someone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus, please call 312.666.3494 to discuss your symptoms with a member of Erie’s healthcare team.
PLEASE DO NOT WALK INTO THE HEALTH CENTER WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT. PLEASE CALL FIRST.
Erie will continue to keep you up to date as we learn more.
Lo que Erie quiere que sepa acerca del Coronavirus
Los Centros de Salud Erie están trabajando arduamente, trabajando cuidadosamente y trabajando rápido para asegurarse de que mantenemos a nuestros pacientes y proveedores de salud a salvo, mientras nos estamos asegurando que usted puede tener acceso a la atención médica que usted necesita.
Si usted se encuentra enfermo, POR FAVOR llame primero a Erie. NO SE PRESENTE EN PERSONA a los Centros de Salud Erie sin haber llamado con anticipación al 312.666. 3494.
Si usted tiene una cita programada y le es posible venga solo/a. Si necesita ayuda, o el paciente es menor de 18 años puede traer solamente a un adulto saludable.
Pacientes y sus acompañantes serán evaluados en la puerta.
Erie ahora está ofreciendo citas telesalud para algunas consultas. Esto le permitirá hablar con su proveedor de salud por teléfono o chatear por video. Cuando llame a Erie para programar una cita, el representante que le conteste su llamada le dirá si una consulta telesalud es opción para usted.
Erie provee atención para TODA la gente –a gente con o sin seguro médico, y gente con y sin estatus legal migratorio.
Illinois está bajo orden de “Refugio en Lugar” a partir del sábado. ¿Porque? ¿Qué significa eso?
El estado de Illinois está tomando esta medida para ayudar a prevenir o reducir la propagación de COVID-19. Esto significa que todos los residentes de Illinois necesitan quedarse en casa y evitar cualquier viaje o negocio innecesario.
Mientras la “orden de refugio en lugar” suena dramática, para muchos de nosotros en Illinois quien ha estado siguiendo el consejo de quedarse en casa y solamente salir fuera cuando sea necesario como; al trabajo o al supermercado, esta nueva situación probablemente no se sentirá muy diferente.
Todavía se le permitirá:
-Ver a un proveedor médico o ir a recoger sus medicamentos
-Comprar comestibles, comida y productos para el hogar al igual que comida y suministros para mascotas
-Ir a la gasolinera, banco o lavandería
-Recoger comida para llevar de un restaurante que ofrezca el servicio
-Cuidar de un familiar o de algún otro miembro de otro hogar
-Salir fuera para ejercitarse, caminar, correr o caminar a su perro, mientras permanezca a 6 pies de distancia de alguien mas
-Ir a trabajar a un negocio esencial
La orden de refugio en lugar no es aplicable a gente que trabaja en un negocio considerado ser “esencial”. Un negocio esencial incluye:
-Operación de atención médica, incluyendo empleados de atención medica domiciliaria.
-Infraestructura esencial, incluyendo construcción de casas y operaciones de transportación pública y servicios públicos.
-Supermercados, mercados agrícolas, bancos de alimentos y tiendas
-Negocios que proveen las necesidades vitales para los individuos que están en desventaja económica y en alberges.
-Farmacias, tienda de materiales para cuidados de la salud y centros de atención a la salud
-Gasolineras e instalaciones para reparación de autos
-Ferreterías, plomeros, electricistas y otros servicios que proveen lo necesario para mantener la función, seguridad, sanidad y esencial de las residencias y otros negocios esenciales
-Instituciones educacionales, para el propósito de facilitar aprendizaje a distancia
-Lavanderías, tintorerías y proveedores de servicio de lavandería
-Negocios que envían y entregan comestibles, comida y productos directamente a residencias
-Restaurantes que proveen entregas y comida para llevar
-Instalaciones que proveen cuidado de niños que les permita a empleados esenciales ir a trabar
-Funciones requeridas para cualquier trabajo esencial para “mantener las operaciones básicas”, de las cual incluye seguridad, nómina y actividades similares.
¡Los proveedores de salud de Erie le agradece por continuar siguiendo instrucciones como estas, quédese en casa lo más que pueda, y ayude a prevenir que nuestras comunidades y seres queridos se enfermen!
¿Cuáles son los síntomas del coronavirus?
Los síntomas son similares a los de la gripe o neumonía y estos pueden incluir tos, fiebre y falta de respiración. A diferencia de la gripe, el coronavirus usualmente no causa catarro (escurrimiento nasal) o congestión nasal, diarrea o vomito. Una persona con el coronavirus típicamente tiene síntomas entre 2 a 9 días después de estar expuestos al virus.
¿Qué puedo hacer si estoy preocupado de que yo o un miembro de mi familia pueda tener el coronavirus?
Si usted cree que estuvo expuesto a alguien a quien se le confirmo el coronavirus,
O viajo fuera del país o dentro de los Estados unidos en los últimos 14 días
y tiene fiebre y síntomas respiratorios……..
Llame a Erie al 312.666.3494 para hablar de sus síntomas con nuestro equipo de proveedores de salud.
POR FAVOR NO SE PRESENTE AL CENTRO DE SALUD SIN HABER LLAMADO CON ANTICIPACION.
¿Estoy en riesgo?
El coronavirus continua propagándose en Illinois y nadie es inmune. Los siguientes grupos de personas tienen alto riesgo:
Una persona que viajo recientemente fuera de los Estados Unidos o cierta ares de los Estados Unidos que tiene alto riesgo de infección: Washington, Massachusetts, New York o California.
Una persona que ha estado en contacto cercano con alguien a quien se le confirmo el coronavirus.
Los siguientes grupos de personas están en alto riesgo de desarrollar una enfermedad severa si ellos están expuestos al coronavirus:
-Cualquiera con condiciones crónicas de salud como la diabetes, enfermedades del corazón o alta presión arterial.
-Adultos mayores (mayores de 60 años)
¿Cómo puedo protegerme, y a mi familia?
-Lo más que se pueda, evitar reuniones de grupos grandes.
-Si usted necesita salir, mantenga 6 pies de distancia entre las personas, y evite estar cerca de personas enfermas.
-Cúbrase cuando tosa o estornude con un pañuelo de papel o con su codo, y tire el pañuelo de papel.
-Regularmente limpie y desinfecte las superficies de su hogar como perillas de las puertas, interruptores de luz, y mostradores.
-Limite los viajes innecesarios, especialmente para aquellos de alto riesgo a enfermedades severas.
-¡Quédese en casa si esta enfermo!
Tal vez leyó acerca de o vio personas usando mascarillas cuando salen afuera en público. No hay necesidad de usar mascarilla si usted no está enfermo. Es mucho mejor que guarde cualquier equipo de seguridad como mascarillas para los proveedores médicos y para personas enfermas que lo necesiten.
¿Qué está haciendo Erie en preparase para el virus?
Erie está siguiendo muy de cerca las instrucciones de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) y nuestros funcionarios locales de salud pública. Nos estamos asegurando de que todo nuestro personal tenga la información más actual e instrucciones de cómo mantener nuestros centros de salud limpios y a nuestros pacientes y personal seguros y saludables. Estamos actualizando nuestras instrucciones frecuentemente, así como nos vamos enteramos de nueva información.
¿Tengo más preguntas- donde puedo obtener respuestas?
Si usted no está enfermo, y usted no tiene ninguno de los factores de riesgo para el coronavirus, pero tiene preguntas en general, por favor llame a una de estas líneas directas de la comunidad:
Residentes de Chicago: llamar a la línea directa del Departamento de Salud Pública de Chicago al 312.746.4835
Residentes de Illinois que viven fuera de Chicago: llamar a la línea directa del Departamento de Salud Pública de Illinois al: 800.889.3931 o al correo electrónico email@example.com
Si usted está enfermo y ha viajado recientemente o tenido contacto con quien se ha confirmado un caso de coronavirus, por favor llame 312.666.3494 para hablar de sus síntomas con un miembro del equipo de salud de Erie.
FAVOR DE NO SE PRESESENTARSE AL CENTRO DE SALUD SIN CITA. FAVOR DE LLAMAR PRIMERO.
Erie continuara manteniéndolo al tanto así como se va informando.
In February, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 that the new “public charge rule” could indeed go into effect in the state of Illinois. On February 23, the federal government confirmed that the effective date in Illinois – along with the rest of the United States – is February 24th.
Under the new rule, a person applying for a green card or visa could be denied if immigration officials determine that they are using or are likely to use certain public benefits, including some forms of Medicaid, SNAP and/or public housing assistance. The rule does NOT apply to refugees, asylees, pregnant women up to 60 days after birth, children under 21, or any of the applicant’s family members who use Medicaid.
Here is a helpful resource that explains the public charge rule in more detail.
The important things to remember remain the following:
- The public charge rules are complicated and do not apply to most Erie patients. The linked and attached English/Spanish flier includes information about groups exempt from the “public charge” rules, and the contact information for five organizations that provide free or low-cost legal services specifically on this issue. Current Erie patients can also be referred to the Health Justice Project.
- Erie strongly recommends that our patients speak with a legal expert before they make any decisions about their benefits, including Medicaid. Though the new rules do not affect the majority of Erie’s patients, news of their potential impact, combined with continuing anti-immigration policies, are causing fear and anxiety in immigrant communities about the use of public benefits like Medicaid.
- Four separate lawsuits, including one here in Illinois, are moving forward to argue that the public charge rule violates the Equal Protection Act, even as the rule goes into effect across the nation. This is able to happen because the U.S. Supreme Court voted only on the legality of the processes that were blocking the rule from going into effect, NOT on the merits of the case. Erie continues to remain hopeful that the judicial system will eventually permanently block this discriminatory rule.
Erie remains committed to serving all people, regardless of their immigration status or insurance status. We promise to keep you updated as further news unfolds and additional educational resources and training are developed.
How One Patient Found Support at Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center
Bryan has been a patient of Erie Evanston/Skokie since 2013, just a little after the health center opened its doors at Evanston’s Civic Center. Despite being pretty active all his life, in between working at a warehouse for over 18 years and enjoying weight-lifting and swimming, he was experiencing uncomfortable tightness in his legs. He wanted to see a doctor, but he was recently unemployed. He didn’t have health insurance, and wasn’t sure where to go. Fortunately, a social worker at the YMCA connected him with Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center.
Bryan was diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease, a circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to his legs. He needed intervention surgery to promote good circulation – and had three surgeries done at the nearby St. Francis hospital. “Those bills were over $90,000,” said Bryan. “But I worked with the patient navigation team at Erie and they got me health insurance that paid for it.”
Rebecca Calendo, Bryan’s nurse, says his condition needs constant care and monitoring. Because of the blood-thinning medication Bryan takes, he needs to come in to the health center every couple weeks to make sure he stays healthy. “It’s a chronic, lifelong condition,” said Rebecca. “I think it’s a testament to Bryan’s motivation to take care of himself that he’s so great about coming in regularly.”
Today Bryan lives at the McGaw YMCA. He’s on a cane now, but enjoys his walks and his visits to Erie Evanston/Skokie. “The nurses and the staff – everyone so friendly,” he said. “They really helped me.”
In 2017, one in five adults without health insurance went without necessary medical care due to the high cost. It’s our mission to ensure that no one goes without the medical attention they need to live a happier, healthier life. To learn more about what your contribution does to make our programs and services possible, please contact Ashley Moy-Wooten at firstname.lastname@example.org.