As coronavirus cases continue to rise in Michigan and across the U.S., efforts by medical practitioners to both treat the sick and stop further infections have also ramped up. And for LGBTQ people, who tend to be more vulnerable to health disparities, it’s perhaps more important than ever for the health care they receive to be from LGBTQ aware and affirming providers. At Corktown Health Center in Detroit, a primary care clinic with just such a specialty, CEO Anthony Williams wants to reassure the community that Corktown is dedicated to providing the same quality of health care as ever.
“With regard to the services themselves, our team is available to make sure health care and support services continue. In the near term, the ways that patients and clients access those services has changed,” Williams said. “In our behavioral health program, for example, we’re doing telehealth sessions instead of having clients see their therapist in person. For medical care, Corktown will begin offering telehealth visits for patients.”
Williams added that with the governor’s recent “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, Corktown clinicians will screen all patients by phone first.
“In limited circumstances, an in-person visit may be vital to managing a health issue. In those cases, we have implemented safety precautions outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will schedule an in-person appointment,” Williams said. “In addition, our support services staff are providing ongoing services remotely. Those who need help navigating health insurance issues or who qualify for emergency financial assistance will be served by phone. Clients who receive food vouchers through one of the agency’s programs will continue to receive them by mail instead of in person.”
When asked how a potential patient should reach out to Corktown if they start to feel the symptoms of coronavirus, Williams urged everyone looking for services to call ahead and schedule an appointment at 313-832-3300.
“If you called us, we would be able to triage you over the phone. One of our clinicians would assess your symptoms and then direct you from there,” he said.
Still, that’s not to say that Corktown would be unable to help patients who could not contact the Center remotely. If a patient were to walk into the lobby today, they would notice that it has been reconfigured to allow anyone waiting for service to practice the social distancing guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those guidelines, Williams said, should be complied with and treated seriously.
“So that [people] can protect themselves, and so that they can protect the providers of services, to be quite honest,” he said. “Because we want to be able to say that we are always here, and if we have people who follow those guidelines it makes it more likely that we continue to provide these services even if things become more dire.”
At this stage, Williams emphasized that the most important thing for all people to do is to stay as calm as possible and to take care to listen to the advice of health care professionals from reputable sources.
“And most people, to be quite honest, should be fine. If you are older or have underlying health conditions that make you more susceptible, take extra care in limiting your interactions if you must leave home for groceries or medications,” Williams said. “The biggest danger is people who may not realize they have acquired a coronavirus infection and then go into an environment where others get exposed. It will take all of us supporting each other to get through this. Stay at home and stay connected remotely with others.”
To find out more information about Corktown Health Center or to schedule an appointment visit corktownhealth.org.