The Institute for Family Health Collaborates with New York State to Provide COVID-19 Testing in Harlem
New York, NY (May 5, 2020) – The Institute for Family Health has provided free diagnostic testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) for over 200 people at its Family Health Center of Harlem, in cooperation with New York State. The Institute established the health center as a testing site at the request of the Office of the Governor, and New York State is furnishing the test kits and supplies. Testing is available by appointment through New York State’s testing hotline.
Nicole Nurse, RN, BSN, MBA, Senior Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Training at the Institute led the effort to open the site for COVID-19 testing, which is staffed entirely by volunteers from the Institute. “Communities of color have not had sufficient access to testing, so when the Governor’s office reached out to us, I was sure we could help,” said Ms. Nurse. She put out the call for volunteers among the Institute’s staff, and within hours, 31 people responded that they were willing to help. “On the first Saturday,” continued Ms. Nurse, “27 volunteer staff from all different Institute locations and job titles showed up and said, ‘put me to work’. The fact that so many volunteers turned out to help, in spite of the personal risk, made this my proudest moment in 20 years at the Institute.”
Institute staff members volunteered to assist with COVID-19 testing at the Family Health Center of Harlem.
The first weekend (April 25-26), 53 people were tested. During the second weekend (May 2-3), the number tested increased to 153. Testing is available by appointment on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm; people who want to be tested must call the NYS hotline to schedule. Results are available in two to three days, and the Institute is offering telehealth follow-up appointments for anyone who is concerned about their results and does not have a primary care provider. To schedule an appointment for testing, call (888) 364-3065.
“This testing is an important part of making sure that people in our hardest-hit communities have access to the information they need to make appropriate decisions about caring for themselves and their families. I share Ms. Nurse’s pride in the number of Institute employees who have stepped up to help”, said Neil Calman, MD, the Institute’s President and CEO.
The Institute plans to continue offering the Family Health Center of Harlem as a weekend testing site for the foreseeable future. The Family Health Center of Harlem is one of the Institute’s busiest community health centers, offering primary care, mental health and dental care. The center has been open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic on weekdays for in-person care; the center also offers telehealth services on evenings and weekends. To access care at the Family Health Center of Harlem, call (844) 434-2778. To access COVID-19 testing, call the New York State hotline at (888) 364-3065.
The Institute for Family Health (www.institute.org) is a federally qualified health center network that operates 32 practices in New York State serving more than 115,000 patients annually. Services are available to people of all ages, regardless of ability to pay. To make an appointment with a health care provider, go to www.institute.org/locations or call 844-434-2778.