Over the past several months, COVID-19 changed our world and challenged us to do things differently. It deeply impacted people and communities, exposed strengths and weaknesses, and shifted priorities. HealthierHere is no exception. The pandemic put our values to the test and drove us to rapidly adjust our path and mobilize in response to these new, evolving conditions.

How we strategized

In early March, HealthierHere hosted its first “virtual” Governing Board meeting to focus  on the pandemic. We learned  about the emerging situation and local response from Board members Patty Hayes, Director at Public Health –Seattle & King County, and Leo Flor, Director of Community and Human Services at King County. Our 27-member Board brought their multi-sector expertise and perspectives to the table to discuss challenges, voice concerns, and exchange ideas to support and align efforts across our county and state.

We also began hosting virtual opportunities for our community-based, Tribal, and clinical partners to collaborate and discuss challenges and solutions. By leaning into our established relationships and being open to ideas and feedback, we created space for partners to share the strengths of their organizational responses as well as the needs and concerns being experienced in their organizations and the communities they serve.

Thanks to insights and support from our diverse network of Board members and partners, we were able to develop an informed plan to address urgent community needs while continuing to strengthen the system through collaboration, innovation and focus on equity.

What we did

HealthierHere paused many of our existing Medicaid transformation efforts and pivoted our work. We worked with our partners to develop  goals to address specific community needs, supported partner-driven solutions, and provided $5.1 million funding towards the delivery of care, services and supports in vulnerable communities. Our efforts to date include:

Maximized pandemic response resources by flexing requirements and timelines for preexisting partner contracts, reprioritizing staff time and reallocating funds.  

Shared pertinent information with individuals, families, organizations and decision-makers by launching a COVID-19 Resource Hub, elevating local insights to inform decisions, and developing tools, including a Telehealth Resource Guide and Collective Platform COVID-19 Enhancements Tutorial.

Contributed to local and statewide efforts, such as distributing donated KN95 face coverings to community and clinical organizations struggling to obtain personal protective equipment for staff. We’ve received 2,200 face coverings to date, which we distributed to:

Consejo Counseling & Referral Services • International Community Health Services • Renton Area Youth and Family Services • Sea Mar Community Health Centers • Valley Cities Counseling and Consulting • You Grow Girl! • Sisters in Common • El Centro de la Raza • Falis Community Service • Zanzibar Community of WA •  Eastside Baby Corner • Neighborhood House • Teenagers Plus.

We recently received an additional 2,200 face coverings and are in the process of distributing them to:

Youth Eastside Services •  Center for Human Services •  Childhaven •  Congolese Integration Network •  Mercy Housing Northwest •  Living Well Kent •  Plymouth Housing •  Sound Generations •  Intercept Associates •  King County Sexual Assault Resource Center •  Kin On.

Click here for a PDF summary of our COVID-19 Response work

Supported safe access to traditional medicine, herbs, and culturally responsive care and supports for American Indian, Alaska Native and Indigenous community members during Covid-19 in partnership with:   

Advocates of Sacred • Chief Seattle Club • Cowlitz Indian Tribe • Mother Nation • Nakani Native Program • Seattle Indian Health Board • Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska – WA Chapter • United Indians of All Tribes Foundation • Unkítawa.

Supported linguistically and culturally responsive COVID-19 recovery support services for individuals with limited English proficiency who have been impacted by COVID-19 through deployment of multilingual support services provided by our partners. The partners involved in this effort are:

Association of Zambians in Seattle • Interim CDA • Pamoja Christian Church • SOAR • HealthPoint • Vashon Youth and Family Services.

Increased access to culturally and linguistically appropriate navigation and enrollment services to help individuals and families access public benefits and social services to meet basic needs such as food, health care and employment. To help meet increased needs in communities most impacted by COVID-19, we partnered with:

Center for Multicultural Health • Consejo Counseling and Referral Service • Cowlitz Indian Tribe •  El Centro de la Raza • HealthPoint • Neighborhood House • Seattle Indian Health Board • Sisters in Common • The People’s Harm Reduction Alliance • Villa Comunitaria.

“I have not the words to express, with humility, our gratitude to ALL HealthierHere in continuing to partner with us in service to our communities.”
– JC Ephraim, Sisters in Common

Supported the rapid transition to telehealth and remote delivery of social determinants of health services, increasing local capacity to meet rising needs for physical and mental health care, social services and supports during COVID-19 by partnering with:

Advocates of Sacred • Association of Zambians in Seattle • Atlantic Street Center • Catholic Community Services of Western WA • Center for Human Services • Center for Multicultural Health, Chief Seattle Club • Childhaven • Consejo Counseling and Referral Service • Country Doctor Community Health Centers • Crisis Connections • Downtown Emergency Service Center • El Centro de la Raza • Evergreen Treatment Services • Falis Community Service • Generations with Pride • HealthPoint • IAF Northwest • International Community Health Services • Kent Youth and Family Services • Kindering Center • Lifelong • Living Well Kent Collaborative • Lutheran Community Services Northwest • Nakani Native Program • Neighborcare • New Traditions • Pioneer Human Services • Project Access • Queen Anne Helpline • Sea Mar Community Health Centers • Seattle Childrens • Seattle Counseling Service • Seattle Indian Health Board • Sisters in Common • Solid Ground • Somali Health Board •  Southeast Youth and Family Services • Teenagers Plus • Tenants Union of WA • The People’s Harm Reduction Alliance • United Indians of All Tribes Foundation • Unkítawa • Upower • Valley Cities Counseling and Consultation • Vashon Youth and Family Services • Villa Comunitaria • WAPI Community Services • YMCA of Greater Seattle • You Grow Girl!.

Supported continued availability of direct clinical and social determinant of health services for community members impacted by COVID-19, emphasizing care aimed at improving health outcomes in communities experiencing disparities. The partners involved in this effort are:

Abundance of Hope • Advocates of Sacred • Arms Around You • Asian Counseling & Referral Service • Asian Pacific Islander Coalition • Association of Zambians in Seattle • Atlantic Street Center • Being Empowered Through Support Transitions • Center for Human Services • Center for Multicultural Health • CHI Franciscan St. Joseph • Chief Seattle Club • Childhaven • Chinese Information and Service Center • Colemans Family Services • Congolese Integration Network • Consejo Counseling and Referral Service • Country Doctor Community Health Centers • Downtown Emergency Service Center • Eastside Baby Corner • Eastside Legal Assistance Program • El Centro de la Raza • Fairfax Behavioral Health • Falis Community Service • Gay City Health Project • Generations with Pride • Global to Local • Harborview • HealthPoint • Hepatitis Education Project • Highline College • IKRON of Greater Seattle • Interim CDA • International Community Health Services • Kent Youth and Family Services • Kin On • Kindering • King County Sexual Assault Resource Center • Lifelong • Lutheran Community Services Northwest • Mercy Housing Northwest • Multicare • Nakani Native Program • Navos • Neighborcare Health • Neighborhood House • New Traditions • New Trails Navigators • Pioneer Human Services • Plymouth Housing • Project Access • Puget Sound Fire • Recovery Café • Ryther • Sea Mar • Seattle Childrens • Seattle Children’s Care Network • Seattle Counseling Service • Seattle Housing Authority • Sisters in Common • Somali Health Board • Sound Generations • Southwest Youth and Family Services • Swedish • Teenagers Plus • Tenants Union of Washington • The Maternal Coalition • The Peoples Harm Reduction Alliance • Therapeutic Health Services • Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska-WA Chapter • Transitional Resources • United Indians of All Tribes Foundation • Unkítawa • Upower • Valley Cities Counseling and Consultation • Valley Medical Center • Villa Comunitaria • YMCA of Greater Seattle • You Grow Girl! • Youth Eastside Services • Zanzibar Community of Washington

What’s Next?

The work to stop the spread of infection and support those impacted by COVID-19 isn’t over.

In addition to supporting the work outlined above, HealthierHere remains nimble and continues to assess our role in our region’s recovery. For instance:

We recently launched a new series of meetings bringing local behavioral health providers together to prepare and plan for the projected increase in the need for  behavioral and mental health care services resulting from the pandemic.

We continue to amplify messaging to help people stay informed and safe and to facilitate information and resource sharing via our COVID-19 Resource Hub.

We are  moving forward with the work to build a community-owned Community Information Exchange (CIE) network that will improve communication, care coordination and access to services across King County’s many health and social service providers (sign up for CIE updates).

We’re also preparing to resume system transformation activities that were put on hold to make way for pandemic response. As partners are able, we are reengaging in partner-driven initiatives, such as our Whole Person Care Innovations, that test new and different ways of delivering care to better meet community needs.

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