Anticipating a surge in primary care questions regarding COVID-19, the Andrew and Corey Morris-Singer Foundation has donated $1.6 million to OHSU to expand access to health care professionals.
Based on current models, many people who are infected by COVID-19 most likely will not need to go to a clinic or a hospital, although some may have symptoms that need further evaluation or testing. Primary care providers can address these important needs, but new tools and strategies are needed to meet the increasing demand. This gift supports the establishment of a phone hotline and telemedicine service that will enable many more Oregonians to access the COVID-19 primary care resources and information they need.
The hotline and telemedicine service will also help prevent OHSU’s primary care system from becoming overwhelmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will help prevent primary care clinics, urgent care and emergency departments from becoming overcrowded with patients who could more appropriately be treated with telemedicine services. This service will complement OHSU’s previous plan to use mobile phone applications to enhance patient care.
“COVID-19 represents an unprecedented challenge for our systems of care and our nation’s health professionals,” said Drs. Andrew and Corey Morris-Singer. “Primary care teams are working tirelessly on the front lines of this public health crisis. We hope our gift can help OHSU support this critical primary care workforce, provide patients access to the care they need, and advance primary care innovation in Oregon and beyond.”
Andrew Morris-Singer, M.D., is an assistant professor in the OHSU Department of Family Medicine. He is president and co-founder of Primary Care Progress, a national organization committed to strengthening the people at the heart of care through leadership development and community building. Corey Morris-Singer, Ph.D., is a biological and biomedical scientist, co-founder of Primary Care Progress, and president of the Morris-Singer Foundation.
“I am deeply grateful to both Dr. Andrew Morris-Singer and Dr. Corey Morris-Singer for their generosity and support,” said OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS. “Providing additional telemedicine resources will enable our primary care practices to operate more efficiently and reach more patients statewide, which is critical to properly treating the surge we expect in the coming weeks.”
Most OHSU patients who call OHSU primary care or specialty clinics will have the option to be directly routed to a COVID-19 hotline. This service will be available for the majority of OHSU clinics seven days a week, with extended hours, for at least the next three months. The hotline will initially be available to OHSU patients, with the potential to build out future phases to serve non-OHSU patients and primary care providers.
The hotline and telemedicine service will be developed and organized by OHSU Health System leaders who are experts in the use of information technologies, operations and logistics to deliver primary care to patients, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.