PATTERSON, La., Nov. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Teche Action Clinic and the Louisiana Department of Public Health have been selected to participate in a national research study to understand the impact of COVID-19 on racial minorities and underserved communities. In partnership with Louisiana Healthcare Connections, Teche Action Clinic and the Louisiana Department of Public Health are offering COVID-19 screenings at no cost to patients to confirm rates of current and previous COVID-19 infections.
Current Patients of Teche Action Clinic
Current patients of Teche Action Clinic can call a patient navigator at 337-828-2550 ext. 2183 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. Testing is available Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the following locations:
Teche Action Clinic
Teche Action Clinic
1115 Weber Street
1124 7th Street
Franklin, LA 70380
Morgan City, LA 70380
Community Testing Initiative
Residents who are not current patients of Teche Action Clinic can also participate in the study and receive a COVID-19 PCR test and antibody test at no cost. The Community Testing Initiative will run Nov. 30 – Dec. 3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Dec. 4 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the following location:
Patterson City Hall
1314 Main Street
Patterson, LA 70392
Additional community testing sites will be announced, once confirmed.
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 over the course of the five-year study.
Communities of Color Disproportionately Impacted by Coronavirus in Louisiana
Research shows that racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and the virus has highlighted disparities in communities of color across the nation.
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, research shows Black and Hispanic Americans as well as American Indians are twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 as white Americans.
"We want to do everything we can to help underserved communities get the care and testing they need to fight this virus," said Dr. Gary Wiltz, M.D., CEO, Teche Action Clinic. "Our mission is to provide access to services that improve the health status of 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 St. Mary Parish 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. Chip Riggins, Medical Director for the Office of Public Health in Region 3.
"COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Louisiana, particularly our minority and rural populations," said Jamie Schlottman, CEO of Louisiana Healthcare Connections. "As part of our mission to transform the health of our communities by delivering better health outcomes at lower costs, together with Teche Action Clinic, we hope to increase access to COVID-19 testing and provide important data and evidence-based solutions to improve health disparities."
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 Teche Action Clinic, the Louisiana Department of Public Health, and Louisiana Healthcare Connections 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 Louisiana Healthcare Connections' 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 Louisiana 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 Teche Action Clinic
Teche Action Clinic is a Federally Qualified Health Center based in Franklin, Louisiana. The Center serves residents throughout rural southwest Louisiana, regardless of their ability to pay for services. Teche Action Clinic's scope of services includes primary and preventive medical care (internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology), behavioral health, pharmacy, laboratory, WIC and dental services).
About the Louisiana Department of Health
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. The Louisiana Department of Health includes the Office of Public Health, Office of Aging & Adult Services, Office of Behavioral Health, Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, and Healthy Louisiana (Medicaid). To learn more, visit www.ldh.la.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or our blog.
About Louisiana Healthcare Connections
Established to deliver quality healthcare through local, regional and community-based partners, Louisiana Healthcare Connections is a Healthy Louisiana plan headquartered in Baton Rouge, La. Louisiana Healthcare Connections exists to improve the health of its members through focused, compassionate and coordinated care. Because Louisiana Healthcare Connections believes healthy is a way of life, its members benefit from programs and services designed for their personal well-being. For more information, visit www.louisianahealthconnect.com.
SOURCE Teche Action Clinic