Lisa Kilawee is the Director of Strategic Community Engagement of Family Health/La Clinica in Wautoma, WI. We did this Q&A on 3/18/2020
Q: What are your biggest challenges right now?
Kilawee: A huge challenge is lack of access to testing, supplies, and lab access. Community health centers are the backbone of public health services and we need to be able to test and have enough protective equipment for our clinical staff. We have very limited access to testing and supplies like nasopharyngeal swaps necessary to take tests. Because of the way the state labs are prioritizing tests, it’s difficult to get timely results in the outpatient setting.
We do not have access to timely testing and results for our clinical staff, which is an issue. If staff are exposed, they face long quarantines. Better access to timely tests could get them back in the clinic sooner.
Maintaining business operations with limited cash flow is a challenge. We have scaled down dental operations to only emergency services. We are scaling back and staffing differently. We have limited supplies of personal protective equipment.
Q: Do you have child care issues now that schools are closed?
Kilawee: Yes. Many of our clinical staff now have children home and there are childcare as well as meal issues. Schools districts are giving out meals in some cases, but there are issues with transportation and timing in getting them.
Q: Do you have enough supplies?
Kilawee: Absolutely not and we are advocating to obtain testing supplies and PPE.
Q: Is your clinic doing testing?
Kilawee: We are doing limited testing due to availability of supplies and lab challenges and state priorities for testing. Ideally, community health centers should have robust testing capabilities.