Lynn Community Health Center,
however, has been and continues to be a place of refuge and a beacon of reassurance for individuals.
Lynn Community Health Center (LCHC) is a nonprofit, multicultural, community health center. It is located in the heart of the Lynn community, and recognized as a leader in developing new initiatives that result in high-impact, low-cost health care. Most of the health center’s patients live below the federal poverty level—with more than 90 percent at or below 200 percent of that level—and more than half are best served in a language other than English.
Upon the COVID outbreak in Massachusetts, LCHC went through significant operations changes. Moving to telehealth consults, over three quarters of the staff work remotely today; shifts are segmented to allow staff working on site to practice social distancing; and a walk-up COVID testing unit has been constructed on site.
LCHC CEO, Kiame Mahaniah, and his team have been meticulous in the broad outreach they have done within the community—highlighting their services, gathering care kits to be given out at shelters and foodbanks, and clarifying questions around insurance. Thus, even with a significant number of staff and patients being remote, LCHC is busier than ever, navigating the daily needs of patients on and off site, and contingency planning for the future.
And now, as some Greater Boston businesses prepare to reopen, LCHC is making plans to aid that reintegration while also continuing to provide round-the-clock care to its patients. Mahaniah anticipates that reopening will be locally driven, and is working with staff to create processes to help local businesses get employees tested before returning to work, and to keep up a high level of daily testing for all members of the community.
Mahaniah is proud that "everything LCHC is doing is aiding marginalized individuals and communities." He is especially proud of his staff, for swiftly adapting to new treatment protocols, taking on additional work (including joining the state COVID tracing team) and responsibilities, and continuing to provide high levels of care for every patient who calls—at rates 50 percent higher than before—or walks in the door. “Every person we are serving helps [counter] the inequity of the response,” he says. For example, Lucinda*, a woman with COVID symptoms, recently called LCHC, terrified that she may have the virus; living in a multigenerational home, she was concerned not only for herself but for the health of her grandkids and grandparents . Fortunately, LCHC was a five-minute walk from Lucinda’s house, and she was able to be tested the same day she called and get reassuring results—she was negative—within 24 hours. Stories like Lucinda’s illustrate the LCHC staff’s dedication to creating individualized treatment plans and caring for every person’s needs, and being a pillar of reliability in their lives.
*Not her real name
Uncertainty. That is the sentiment shared by many members of the Lynn community about which COVID facts, figures and testing information they can trust. The