As with all COVID-19 vaccines, there is no out-of-pocket costs to vaccine recipients.
President Joseph Biden and First Lady Jill Biden sent Easter greetings to the staff of Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas this week in the form of Easter eggs.
“Your organization’s efforts are a testament to the hard work that needs to occur in order for our country to reopen safely,” read the letter from the White House. “The health and wellbeing of Americans remain an utmost priority to the President and First Lady, and your efforts and dedication are truly appreciated. On behalf of the President and First Lady, we wish you and your family a safe and Happy Easter!”
The commemorative wooden eggs were originally produced for the traditional White House Egg Roll held on the White House lawn each year. However, with the ongoing pandemic the event was canceled this year. Instead, the White House decided to send the eggs in recognition of community health workers.
“We are honored to be recognized by the President and First Lady for our efforts to make our communities safer and healthier,” CHC/SEK President and CEO Krista Postai said.
In March, the Biden Administration created the Community Health Center Vaccine Program and chose CHC/SEK among 250 Community Health Centers serving vulnerable populations in the country’s most underserved communities to receive COVID-19 vaccine directly from the government.
“With the Biden administration’s support, CHC/SEK has been able to distribute more than 22,022 vaccines to help us get closer to ending this pandemic,” Postai said.
New buildings/expansions are on the horizon for the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas.
CHC is working on the purchase plan for moving from its’ Fort Scott present site to the former Price Chopper building on Main Street at 23rd Street.
The present site is the former Mercy Hospital building at 401 Woodland Hills.
“We are… closing on our purchase of the 40,000 sq. ft. Price Chopper Building in Fort Scott on April 9,” Postai said. “The plan is to combine our walk-in care and main clinic together. The renovation will start as soon as possible, with a goal of completion prior to the expiration of our current lease with Mercy in December 2022.”
There is also a new CHC building in Pittsburg.
“We have scheduled our groundbreaking for our new Medical Education Building in Pittsburg which will be home to all the students we are/will be training,” Postai said.
The groundbreaking will be May 3 at 12:30 p.m. at the John Parolo Education Building, south of the CHC/SEK System Office.
“About $5.6 million in donations have been raised to cover the full cost of the building and its furnishings scheduled for completion in the summer of 2022,” she said. “In the meantime, work continues on the establishment of a family practice residency program in Pittsburg in collaboration with Kansas University Medical Center and Via Christi/Ascension; the application for accreditation has been submitted with a ‘virtual’ survey planned this fall.”
CHC is planning a clinic in Chanute in the near future.
“We also bought 10 acres of land in Chanute on which to build a clinic in Neosho County,” she said. “Given all our other projects, it will probably take us 3-5 years to get this done.”
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas/Fort Scott will be vaccinating against COVID-19 using Moderna vaccine on Saturday, March 27 at the 401 Woodland Hills Blvd. clinic. All vaccinations are by appointment.
Individuals age 18 and older qualifying under KS Phase 3-4 include persons with conditions that increase the risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including: Cancer; Down Syndrome; heart conditions; Type 1 & 2 diabetes; Pregnancy; Asthma; Cystic fibrosis; Liver disease; Neurological conditions like dementia; and other medical risks. Non-health care workers in critical infrastructure who cannot work remotely, including: Agricultural and food workers not included in previous phases; workers performing in-person activities indoors; Utility workers; Social service and government workers not included in previous phases; Logistics workers, such as truck transportation workers and couriers; Water and wastewater workers; Shelter, housing, and finance workers; information technology and communication workers. Persons from previous phases are also eligible to be vaccinated.
Request an appointment by clicking the get-my-shot button at www.chcsek.org, or by calling 866.888.8650.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in reducing sickness and death from the virus. It is up to each of us to do our part to get life back to normal, schedule your COVID-19 vaccination today with CHC/SEK.
CHC/SEK creates www.chcsek.org/getmyshot for vaccination appointment requests
PITTSBURG — Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is seeing a strong interest for the COVID-19 vaccine under phase 2 of the Kansas COVID-19 vaccination plan.
On Friday alone CHC/SEK had almost 9,000 phone calls to its 866-888-8650 number, not including additional vaccine inquiries from its general phone lines, and obviously many went unanswered. The number is still active for vaccination scheduling.
Vaccine calls are answered by a team of more than 20 people, 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone line itself only allows for 100 calls to come in at a time and last week after the vaccination number went live, it went down after callers overloaded the telephone capacity.
To reduce some of its call center’s stress, CHC/SEK has created www.chcsek.org/getmyshot where people can send their contact information. There is a short questionnaire to type contact information and indicate which CHC/SEK location the recipient would prefer to receive their vaccination. There is also an option to select “first available” if they are willing to travel to the site of the first available appointment.
CHC/SEK schedulers will contact people as soon as appointment slots become available at the preferred locations. Currently, CHC/SEK is booked out for more than two weeks in some clinics.
CHC/SEK began receiving weekly vaccine allotments last week after President Joseph Biden announced the launch of the Federally Qualified Health Center program for community health centers to receive a direct supply of COVID-19 vaccine to ensure underserved communities are equitably vaccinated.
To date, CHC/SEK has administered more than 6,300 first doses of the vaccine and 3,117 second doses across its service area.
The health center has also begun to reach out to essential businesses under Kansas Phase 2 by taking vaccinators on site.
“The purpose of going onsite is two-fold,” according to Dawn McNay, who’s leading the vaccination outreach effort. “First, essential businesses need their employees at work, so going on-site is the most efficient way to get them vaccinated quickly and without business disruptions; and, by getting these employees vaccinated at work, it leaves more vaccination appointments available in our clinic locations.”
CHC/SEK is also exploring other avenues to speed the vaccination process.
“Please be patient,” McNay says, “We are confident there will be plenty of vaccine available in the coming weeks, however with more than 170,000 people in our service area, it’s going to take some time before we can get to everyone who wants to get vaccinated.”
The complete list of eligible individuals under Kansas Phase 2 can be seen at https://www.kansasvaccine.gov/
Vaccine has arrived! Please note the time, date and location of vaccine clinics.
COVID-19 vaccinations clinics open Wednesday, Saturday
A shipment of 4,000 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has arrived at Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas clinics as part of a national effort to ensure underserved communities are equitably vaccinated.
Phase 2 includes people aged 65 and up, high-contact critical workers and congregate settings. High-contact critical workers include: higher education staff; first responders; judicial/court system participants; childcare workers; food processing including meat processing; grocery stores; food service to include restaurants; transportation organizations/suppliers; city/county public works; Dept. Motor Vehicles; U.S. Postal Service, home care providers, and supplier of critical infrastructure service/supplies.
Vaccines are already going into arms. On Wednesday, vaccines will be distributed from 1 to 4 PM at 924 N. Broadway, Pittsburg.
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas was one of 250 health centers, out of 1,400 health centers in America, that was selected to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine directly from the federal government, according to Krista Postai, President and CEO of CHC/SEK said.
“They have a million doses to distribute weekly, so we expect to receive – for the whole 10-county region we serve – up to 4,000 doses per week,” she said “Which means – I am excited to say – that we should have enough vaccine – along with what the counties are receiving — to take care of everyone in southeast Kansas over the next few months. We are required to still follow state guidelines on priority groups, but counties do have some flexibility.”
CHC staff spent last week building the infrastructure needed to set up a toll-free phone line and appointment schedule.
“We have already started calling our patients ( more than 7,500 people) who are 65 and older and getting them an appointment as early as Thursday,” Postai said.
“Companies who have been notified by the State of Kansas that their employees are now eligible to be vaccinated should email Dawn McNay at email@example.com with their contact information, employee count and a copy of the letter. She will be working with our outreach teams to take the vaccine to the companies,” Postai said.
“We know these vaccines are safe and highly effective against a very serious disease,” Postai said. “Now that they have become available to us, CHC/SEK is ready to get them delivered into the arms of our communities.”
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is now offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments for individuals aged 65 and older as part of Phase 2 of the Kansas Vaccine Prioritization Plan. There is no out-of-pocket cost to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinations will be available at all CHC/SEK clinic locations.
The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is a not-for-profit Federally Qualified Health Center dedicated to providing quality health care to everyone regardless of income or insurance status. CHC/SEK serves more than 50,000 children and adults annually and employs more than 400 professionals and support staff at 18 locations throughout Crawford, Cherokee, Labette, Linn, Montgomery and Allen counties, and Ottawa County in Oklahoma. CHC/SEK is governed by a 14-member Board of Directors, which includes patients from the communities it serves.