With the outbreak of COVID-19, Olympic Community of Health’s purpose statement resonates on a whole different level: “Tackling health issues that no single county or Tribe can tackle alone.”
Collaboration, innovation, and teamwork are pillars upon which our work relies. In these urgent and frenzied times, we are invited to continue leaning on these pillars to collectively support our communities, those in most need, and those providing care.
Olympic Community of Health (OCH) works closely with hospitals, primary care providers, behavioral health providers, community-based organizations, and social service agencies.
To say that our partners have their plates full is a severe understatement. Their plates are always full on any given day, let alone amidst a pandemic.
The Olympic region is lucky to have such collaborative and committed providers and organizations prioritizing community health.
During the snowstorm a few months ago, I remember hearing about a few partners who cross country skied from their homes to their clinic in order to keep their doors open to clients in need. As the world is currently facing a crisis a bit more complicated than a snowstorm, I have witnessed a response from the Olympic region of even higher levels of courage and commitment.
Our partners are currently balancing the frenzy of COVID-19 with standard appointments, duties, their personal health, and family needs. Limited staff, resources, information, and time are adding to the complexity of the issue at hand. A few examples of challenges partners are facing:
Shortage of COVID-19 testing materials
Constantly changing information and recommendations
Working to centralize testing locations
Closing of some Tribal borders
Extreme shortage in personal protective equipment
Implementing telehealth in rural parts of the region
Supporting the health and wellness of staff
Reducing waiting room capacity to adhere to national recommendations
Reducing shelter capacity in order to adhere to national recommendations
…. The list could go on and on. We are truly in uncharted territory.
OCH is actively working to best support the region during these unprecedented times and creatively brainstorming an action plan. We are also working closely with other Accountable Communities of Health and the Health Care Authority to determine ways in which we can better support the community during these challenging times.
As a community, our biggest support is to encourage and practice social distancing, show kindness to those we encounter, and take initiative if you come up with a creative solution.
If you have resources you would like OCH to share, please reach out at OCH@olympicch.org.
ABOUT AMY BRANDT
As Communications & Special Projects Coordinator at Olympic Community of Health, Amy takes complex ideas and creates easy to understand graphics, newsletters, and webpages to communicate the impact of health initiatives in the Olympic region. With a background in non-profit marketing and communications, Amy has a unique understanding of design and storytelling. She loves being part of a team that prioritizes community empowerment. When Amy isn’t creating colorful charts for OCH, she can be found searching for agates at the closest Washington shore.
Olympic Community of Health brings together partners and representatives from a variety of sectors and tribes, working together to improve population health in the Olympic region. OCH is one of nine Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs) in Washington State. An ACH is a state funded regional organization that coordinates Medicaid Transformation work, including:
Promoting health equity
Creating and collaborating on local health improvement plans
Supporting local and statewide projects such as Medicaid Transformation, practice transformation and value-based purchasing
Aligning resources and activities that improve whole person health and wellness
Demonstrating the effect that new approaches have on health outcomes
Olympic Community of Health is also one of the very first organizations to join Vibe Coworks, starting in 2017 at the temporary Vibe Lab location. In the time since then, they have leveraged team memberships, a la carte conference room bookings, private office space and dedicated desks to adapt with the evolving needs of their organization.