Page 14 - Care Delivery System Colition
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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and its seemingly endless challenges, Essentia Health’s colleagues have continued to achieve our mission to make a healthy difference in people’s lives. It’s a privilege to deliver this “shot of hope” in the communities we serve—many of them in rural areas—and extend this mission-based work beyond our facilities’ walls.
We recognize that our decisions and vaccine planning efforts have a significant impact on those we are privileged to serve. To guide our decisions, we have relied on the following ethical principles:
• Promoting justice
• Maximizing benefits and minimizing harms
• Mitigating health inequities
• Promoting transparency
Our underserved, low-income, persons with disabilities, LGBTQI and
Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In alignment with our mission,
we prioritized these “Communities of Focus” for vaccination and tasked our Community Outreach team with planning measures that will help mitigate health inequities. We’ve committed to allocate as much vaccine to our Community Outreach team as they can use to vaccinate Communities of Focus.
Based on work Essentia Health has been doing for many years to address health equity in our communities, we have well-established relationships with community coalitions, neighborhood groups, Federally Qualified Health Centers, free clinics, advocacy groups, community based nonprofits and
local and regional social service agencies. We’re using existing community infrastructure to identify locations and groups that could benefit from vaccine outreach.
We have initiated numerous conversations with community partners, local public health agencies across 28 counties in northern Minnesota, rural free clinics and Regional Health Care Coalitions to inform process development and identify gaps to reduce barriers to our vaccination administration. We have learned that we need to meet Communities of Focus where they are and offer different avenues for access, including priority access to existing processes, removing technology barriers through high-touch outreach using community health workers, and bringing vaccine to neighborhoods. As a result, we have developed three tracks of access for Communities of Focus that include:
Deployment of mobile vaccine outreach team
Prioritized appointments at existing vaccine clinics
Access to end-of-day waitlists

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