Dr. Jimenez and his team at ImplementHIT teamed up with his former classmates from Cornell's top-ranked healthcare MBA program to launch FreeCovid.clinic to help support this nation's fight against COVID-19 within at-risk populations.
The Press Release
Four former classmates from Cornell’s top-ranked healthcare MBA program aim to help mobilize an army of medical volunteers to deliver free COVID-19 virtual screening, monitoring, and education in vulnerable communities around the nation through www.freecovid.clinic. Dr. Jimenez, founder of ImplementHIT, a seasoned digital health company focusing on education, training, and virtual care collaborated with Dr. Ofrona Reid, Natasha VanWright RN and Cynthia Morel to strategize on program design, strategic partners and implementation.
As experts warn that COVID-19 may become even more
difficult to manage next winter, virtual care delivered online provides hope by keeping patients who do not need hospital care isolated and out of the ER, protecting limited hospital capacity for those who need it most.
“During a recent conversation with Gary DeJarnett, our company’s CIO who lives in rural Texas, we discussed how urban and rural areas would need more support,” said Dr. Jimenez. “When I mentioned how only 7k out of the 89k medical volunteers like myself who signed up in NY were deployed, we thought perhaps we could connect these volunteers to rural and urban communities through virtual care online.”
Medical volunteers interested in participating can sign up for more information at www.freecovid.clinic. Due to recent state government waivers, physicians with an active state medical license in NY can deliver COVID-19 related care in 30 states (some require a fast-track temporary license). The CARES Act passed in March provides even greater liability protection for volunteer health care professionals providing COVID-19 care. The virtual clinic will be available for free to patients later this week.
“This program can offer an opportunity for more communities to receive screening and monitoring, particularly those communities who are facing this pandemic from a deficit that is rooted in social determinants of health”, said Ms. VanWright. According to Dr. Ofrona Reid, “many of the patients I see via Telehealth become anxious and struggle with self-isolating, making the virtual monitoring and education components of this program unique and extremely important”.
Blacks and Latinos in urban communities like NYC are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as whites (Mays 2020), and as the virus spreads to rural communities the outcomes could be worse. Rural communities tend to be older in age, with more chronic conditions and their local hospitals are already in fragile financial states; with as much as a 1 in 4 at risk of closing prior to COVID-19 (Williams 2020).
Some areas are more susceptible
During conversations with individuals living in rural areas, it was quickly evident they would not have the capacity to handle what is coming, and the impact could be devastating.
Willing and able, but on the sidelines
Volunteers were willing and able but stuck on the sidelines. With a shortage of PPEs and masks, volunteering was dangerous, potentially deadly for older individuals.