Covid-19 Update From Vivent Health
At Vivent Health, your health and well-being remain our top priority. To ensure we are continuing to help you thrive during this time, we have engaged in a radical response to COVID-19 that balances the needs of the people we serve with the need to protect the health of the workforce that provides care to you. We have made a commitment to continue paying all staff, who are also known as Champions, during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing us to be dynamic in allocating staff resources where they are most needed. This has been no easy task with almost constant updates via the media related to new incidence, public health emergencies, guidelines and closures.
Our radical response efforts ensure the delivery of essential services for everyone affected by HIV. Although we have modified operations, we continue to find solutions to deliver care, treatment and prevention services to you during this unprecedented time and are working to overcome challenges as we aim to minimize disruptions to access to quality health care.
To receive the most up to date information about our programs and services, please visit viventhealth.org/coronavirus.
Stay healthy and safe!
Virtual Visits Are Now Offered
Now there are more ways than one to connect with your provider at Vivent Health. In response to the growing number of cases of COVID-19 in our communities, we are following the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce unnecessary health care visits and prevent transmission by offering virtual visits.
Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, reduces the risk of exposure for providers and for you as a patient. This technology can speed up our response and slow down the spread of COVID-19, while ensuring you have access to care while staying safe in your home.
Telemedicine can be used for your upcoming medical appointments with your provider and for behavioral health appointments (in locations where the service is available). All you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer, and you can have video visits via EPIC MyChart or via Zoom (in Austin, Texas). Visits via telephone are also available for those without access to a smartphone, tablet or computer. Providing care via telemedicine also allows for billing and reimbursement with most insurance providers, private and government.
Connect with your provider to learn more about virtual visits. We look forward to virtually meeting your health care needs soon!
Supporting Clients Via Social Services
Vivent Health Staff Working in Food Pantries in Milwaukee & Austin and Loading Food to Deliver to Patients
Serving patients via efficient and effective case management is an ongoing priority at Vivent Health. Weekly, our Champions are doing check-ins via phone calls with our clients to assess needs and to continue to provide services.
Our food pantries are also still open for clients via drive-thru pick up and through expanded mobile delivery. We are also providing one-month supplies of pre-boxed food to clients. If you are not a current food pantry client, but are interested in this service, please call us at (800) 359-9272.
Are Black Americans Disproportionately Impacted By COVID-19?
Recent news, including a report out of Milwaukee, WI has suggested that black Americans are contracting and dying from COVID-19 at an alarming rate compared to their counterparts. In Milwaukee County, 70% of deaths from COVID-19 have been African Americans even though they make up only 26% of the population. Early research shows that the risk of developing complications from COVID-19 and dying is higher in people who already have underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease and high blood pressure, which are conditions that are more common in blacks.
The best course of action for everyone is to remain educated and aware of how the virus is spreading in their community. Things you can do now are:
- Stay home whenever possible. That also means no visitors. People without symptoms can still have COVID-19 and spread it to others.
- If you have to go out, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet, because the virus is spreading quickly from person-to-person via droplets in the air from people coughing and sneezing. Only go out for essential activities such as the grocery store or work.
- If you have to go out, wear a face covering to limit the spread of COVID-19 to others.
- Call your health care provider if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before eating, after using the restroom, and after touching public surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops.
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Frequently clean touched surfaces and objects daily using a regular household cleaner to keep your home and work areas as safe as possible.
- Continue to take your daily medications. Keeping your chronic conditions in good control is one of the best ways you can protect yourself from serious complications of COVID-19.
Take 5 With Vivent Health’s Vice President of Medical Affairs & Infectious Disease Specialist
Leslie Cockerham, MD, MAS
1. Do people living with HIV have an increased risk of contracting the Coronavirus?
Our patients with normal CD4 counts and suppressed viral loads are not expected to be at an increased risk of getting COVID-19 or having complications. On the other hand, patients who have low CD4 counts or are not suppressed are likely at an increased risk and every effort should be made to get their HIV under control with treatment. Taking all of your medications daily is the best way to protect yourself from Coronavirus.
2. How is the coronavirus different than the flu?
We are still learning a lot about the Coronavirus. There is currently no specific treatment or vaccine for the Coronavirus. It also seems to be easier to spread Coronavirus to others than the flu and it may be deadlier than the flu. Therefore, avoiding infection is best.
3. Should I be wearing a mask when I go out for essential services?
People without symptoms can be infected with COVID-19 and can spread it to others. Therefore, the CDC recommends that people wear masks or other face coverings when going out. You still should keep a 6-foot distance from others when possible in addition to wearing a mask.
4. What are the best ways for me to limit my exposure to Coronavirus?
Stay at home whenever possible. If you have to go out, keep your distance from others. Avoid touching your face and clean your hands often.
5. If I am a patient at Vivent Health and I am experiencing symptoms associated with Coronavirus, what should I do?
Please call your medical provider. Your provider will work with you to determine the next best steps depending on your unique situation.
How To Practice Self-Care
by Freda Russell, Vice President of Cultural and Organizational Development
This is a quote I recently read that resonated with me given our current situation: “Wash your hands and then open them.” To me it means be open to new ways of thinking, being and doing.
There are many ways to manage your emotions during this time. One of the most reliable ways is to engage one or more of your senses—sight, sound, smell, taste, touch—or through movement. Below are some ideas of sensory experiences to consider so that no matter where you are, you’ll always have a tool to help manage your emotions.
Look at artwork, a cherished photo or a favorite keepsake
Look out the window, take a walk, step into the backyard or take a scenic drive
Surround yourself with colors that lift your spirit
Smell fresh fruit, a favorite cooked dish, a scented candle, incense or essential oils
Smell fresh air in the great outdoors or fresh linen
The laughter of children or funny conversations with friends
Play a soundtrack of nature such as crashing waves, the wind rustling through trees, birds singing or an orchestra of raindrops making music on your windows
Indulge in your favorite chocolate
Sip a steaming cup of coffee, tea or a cold drink
Enjoy a healthy, crunchy snack (celery, carrots or popcorn)
Wrap yourself in a warm blanket
Cuddle with your pet
Wear clothing that feels soft against your skin
Participate in low impact activity
Dance around the house
Stretch or roll your head in circles to loosen tense muscles
As we care for ourselves, we care for each other. We may be physically distant from each other, but we are not alone when we open our hands, heart and mind—choosing to encourage ourselves and be an encouragement to each other.