Stakeholder Appreciation Day
For decades, Santa Cruz County’s Safety Net clinics have worked closely together on shared initiatives such as increasing insurance coverage for uninsured children, integrating behavioral and oral health into primary care, and addressing opioid use and prescribing patterns. Now, they are drawing on the trust built over many years to address COVID-19 together. That trust extends to other partners and funders as well, and has been crucial during the extended COVID-19 crisis. “We’ve seen amazing generosity,” says one Safety Net clinic development officer, noting how funders have stepped up to help. Acknowledging the impact of COVID-19 among the County’s Latinx residents and among essential undocumented immigrant workers in particular, Santa Cruz Community Ventures launched UndocuFund to provide one-time emergency assistance.
Safety Net providers and executive directors are part of Incident Command calls, working closely with hospitals and public health officials to deliver consistent messages and provide care safely. The Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County started a local response fund and also has supported a local response effort, SAVE Lives Santa Cruz County, in conjunction with the Health Services Agency and local businesses. Second Harvest Food Bank has increased the amount of food delivered through its existing partnerships with local clinics. A lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) did its part by adding testing capacity.
The Safety Net clinics are accustomed to stepping up to meet local needs and realize that these times require sustained and intense extra effort. They are grateful that their funders and partners are stepping up with them.
[Staff from Santa Cruz Community Health Centers distributing food in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, photo shot by Schmuel Thayer]