It would be hard to overstate just how difficult 2020 has been for the Napa community which has been confronted with a global pandemic, wildfires, uncertainty, and stress over the course of this year. The impact on those who are most vulnerable is unimaginable. Even the “new normal” has been anything but ordinary. OLE Health is the life support for those most at risk in the Napa Valley — for senior citizens, farmworkers, vineyard workers, those living with homelessness, and the individuals and families struggling to make ends meet as they face this extraordinary, challenging time in our history.
OLE Health CEO, Alicia Hardy said, “A healthy community starts by caring for the most vulnerable residents, but it doesn’t stop there. Our patients and our community need extra support during this time, and even the healthiest individuals need to know they are not alone.” Some of the unprecedented challenges of 2020 include:
COVID-19: The homeless population – many experiencing homelessness for the first time, agricultural workers, and the newly uninsured all find themselves in cri- sis. Many are living in crowded conditions in which they can’t protect themselves and their children.
Wildfires: One after the other took a devastating toll and left lost lives, homes, and jobs in their wake.
Unemployment: With the double wham- my of COVID-19 and the wildfires, job losses in Napa Valley have increased close to 10-fold compared with 2019. Families al- ready on the brink have been pushed over the edge and can’t put food on the table.
Stress: It’s real. Parents struggling to teach kids remotely, power shutoffs, evacuation orders, toxic smoke, and record heat; kids’ and parents’ mental health needs have skyrocketed with increases in anxiety, trauma-related symptoms, substance use, and depression.
HEALTHY STARTS WITH OLE
As never before, everyone needs affordable and high-quality healthcare; easily accessible care that makes a real difference in each member of the community’s daily lives. OLE Health steps in and steps up to provide essential services to those in greatest need. Since the pandemic began, OLE Health pivoted its service model to remain open to care for patients virtually via telehealth when possible and in-person when necessary.
“Because we’ve always been a warm and welcome place for our patients to come, I think the hardest thing for all of us at OLE Health was the pandemic induced social distancing from our patients and each other. Our team-based model is centered on the care team working closely together to coordinate care and offer multiple same-day services, including “warm hand- offs” from medical to behavioral health, which is why I’m so proud of our team for striking the perfect balance between virtual and in-person care, and navigating through these new parameters to do what’s best for our patients,” said Alicia Hardy.
Walk-Up & Mobile COVID-19 Testing
OLE Health has increased its outreach to farmworkers and Napa’s hundreds of individuals living in homelessness with accelerated Covid-19 testing and helping the newly uninsured get care. Working collaboratively with local healthcare providers, OLE Health’s new mobile unit performs on-site and workplace testing in vineyards and throughout the community for farmworkers and other essential workers.
Nutrition & Food Giveaways
With hunger dramatically rising, OLE Health started healthy food giveaways during the first wave of the pandemic. Through September 2020, OLE Health helped feed 9,677 families totaling 42,097 individuals. OLE Health also has a 3,400-square-foot garden at its Napa Valley Vintners South Napa Campus, with programs underway to support nutrition and wellness programming.
Behavioral Health Support
OLE Health’s Napa Valley Vintners South Napa Campus has a dedicated Behavioral Health Center, which has seen a 200% increase in patient visits in 2020 compared to 2019. Services include assessments, behavioral health interventions, stress and pain management, support groups and classes, psychiatric medication evaluation, and increased referrals. Much work has been done recently to help patients cope with anxiety, insomnia, grief, stress, and sub- stance abuse. OLE Health’s Behavioral Health team has also gone above and beyond to support the mental health needs of OLE Health’s frontline caregivers and staff to support them in the work they do for patients every day.
Without the structure and support of in-person schooling, our children are suffering, both mentally and physically. OLE Health has rolled out a wide range of tailored services designed to keep kids well, including expanded telehealth appointments for physical and mental health needs. OLE Health is also working through the backlog of vaccinations postponed during the shutdown earlier this year.
A MISSION TO SERVE
Since 1972, when farmworker advocates founded OLE Health, its focus has been to serve the most vulnerable in Napa County. Since then, OLE has made dramatic advances in the scale, range, and quality of its services — more critical than ever — including expanding its number of care centers to serve those who would other- wise have no access to care. Today, OLE Health serves more than 40,000 residents in Napa and Solano counties.
Close to three-quarters of OLE Health’s patients live at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. More than 4,000 farmworkers and their family members receive care from OLE Health, the largest bilingual outpatient services provider in the Napa Valley. And OLE Health is the only provider in Napa County accepting new Medi-Cal patients and Denti-Cal patients.
OLE Health operates care centers at seven locations, including two in Fairfield, one in St. Helena, one in Calistoga, and the new Napa Valley Vintners South Napa Campus, which has logged over 56,000 patient visits since opening in June 2019. This $32M investment was made to provide improved healthcare to the Napa Valley community, $6M attributable to the Napa Valley Vintners, a col- lection of 550+ wineries in the valley. The new South Napa facility is named to honor NVV’s long history of support and its generous donation toward the new building.
Designed to provide as many services as possible under one roof and to make it easy for patients to get the services they need, the impressive three-story facility has become a Napa landmark that includes 18 patient exam rooms, nine dental chairs, full optometry services, health education classrooms, a teaching kitchen, and consultation rooms for integrated behavioral health, nursing, nutrition, and pharmacy services. Modern conveniences at the fully wireless building include self-check- in kiosks. The new building was designed to support OLE Health’s team-based care model, and the ample space and team rooms are serendipitously well-suited for appropriate social distancing.
Since 1972, when farmworker advocates founded OLE Health, its focus has been to serve the most vulnerable in Napa County.
Caring for the Whole Person
Besides delivering care in its health centers, OLE Health traditionally hosts 60+ outreach events, pop-up clinics, and programs every year, reaching nearly 6,000 hard-to-reach and vulnerable com- munity members. OLE Health’s immediate focus during the COVID-19 crisis has been physical health, mental health, and food insecurity, including a coordinated series of free grocery giveaways. The demand is real. The need is now.
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