WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., Feb. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Health Net has selected Wesley Health Centers, also known as JWCH Institute, to participate in a national research study to understand the impact of COVID-19 on racial minorities and underserved communities.
Through the partnership, Wesley Health Centers is offering COVID-19 screenings at no cost to patients to confirm rates of current and previous COVID-19 infections. Community members in the Wesley Health Centers area can call a patient navigator at (866) 733-5924 to schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 PCR test (to confirm current COVID-19 infection) and antibody testing (to confirm previous COVID-19 infection) at no cost.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by a medical provider from their test site. They will also receive monitoring kits and a daily call from a study nurse for the first 14 days to provide medical advice and help monitor any progression of symptoms. Participants will also receive once-per-week follow up calls for one month and check-ins throughout the five-year study.
Communities of Color Disproportionately Impacted by COVID-19 in California
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that race and ethnicity are risk markers for underlying conditions that impact health including socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, and increased exposure to the virus due to occupation (e.g., frontline, essential, and critical infrastructure workers). Further, previous research has shown that Black and Hispanic Americans as well as American Indians/Alaska Natives are twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 as white Americans.
"COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on California, particularly in communities of color," said Brian Ternan, President and CEO of Health Net of California and California Health and Wellness. "As part of our mission to transform the health of our communities one person at a time, together with Wesley Health Centers, we hope to increase access to COVID-19 testing and provide important data and evidence-based solutions to improve health disparities."
"We need to fully understand how various social determinants of health place our communities at increased risk of infection and poorer health outcomes," said Al Ballesteros, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wesley Health Centers. "Our mission is to provide access to services, which improve the health status of individuals and families, including people experiencing financial, social, and cultural barriers to healthcare."
"Longitudinal studies of the health of survivors are going to give us vital information about this disease and the disparities that it exposes. I know the citizens of Los Angeles are eager to step up and share their experience over the next five years as their contribution to what we will know about COVID, and we're proud to serve alongside them," said Dr. Alex Chen, Chief Medical Officer at Health Net.
Quest Diagnostics will provide COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing.
"COVID-19 testing is critically needed in underserved communities, and we're pleased to team up with Wesley Health Centers and Health Net to provide testing in areas where it is needed most," said Ron Coursey, Vice President of Federally Qualified Health Centers and Public Health of Quest Diagnostics.
A National Initiative to Raise Awareness, Address Health Disparities
The testing initiative is part of a broader research study by Health Net's parent company Centene, a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise, and the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), an independent research and educational organization dedicated to ensuring high-risk racial and ethnic populations receive optimal healthcare. Together, the organizations will analyze testing data to assess the impact of COVID-19 on minorities and underserved populations in California and across the country.
Once testing is complete, Centene and NMQF have convened a team of researchers to analyze and translate survey data, and, based on the findings, provide valuable data and evidence-based solutions to inform the public health response and help reduce healthcare disparities among underserved populations.
About Wesley Health Centers (JWCH Institute, Inc.) Wesley Health Centers (JWCH Institute, Inc.) is a 501 (c)(3) Federally Qualified Health Center established in 1960. Wesley is the largest provider of homeless health care in California and our mission is to "improve the health status and well-being of under-served segments of the population of Los Angeles County through the direct provision or coordination of health care, health education, services, and research". We currently operate 35 sites, which include primary care clinics, dental clinics, school-based sites, mental health and substance use treatment sites, homeless health care, and mobile units to provide quality and integrated care to low-income and homeless residents throughout LA County.
About Health Net At Health Net, we believe every person deserves a safety net for their health, regardless of age, income, employment status or current state of health. Founded 40 years ago, we remain dedicated to transforming the health of our community, one person at a time. Today, Health Net's 3,000 employees and 85,000 network providers serve more than 3 million members. That's nearly 1 in 12 Californians. We provide health plans for individuals, families, businesses of every size, people with Medicare and people with Medi-Cal — Coverage for Every Stage of LifeTM. Health Net also offers access to substance abuse programs, behavioral health services, employee assistance programs and managed health care products related to prescription drugs. We offer these health plans and services through Health Net, LLC and its subsidiaries: Health Net of California, Inc., Health Net Life Insurance Company and Health Net Community Solutions, Inc. These entities are wholly owned subsidiaries of Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC), a Fortune 50 company providing health coverage to more than 25 million Americans. For more information, visit HealthNet.com.