Update on COVID-19 Vaccinations

 

Swope Health is offering the COVID-19 vaccination at a new location, 4401 Blue Parkway, Kansas City.

The vaccine is available – by appointment only – to Swope Health patients and Missouri residents who meet state vaccination guidelines.

This Swope Health vaccination center is in The Shops on Blue Parkway near Swope Health Central. The center will be open 9 am to noon and 1-4 pm Monday through Friday.

“This facility, provided by Community Builders of Kansas City, allows us to provide vaccinations for more people in a safe and open space,” said Jennifer Frost, M.D., acting Chief Medical Officer at Swope Health. “Our goal is to provide up to 400 vaccinations a day – that’s double our capacity at Swope Health Central.”

If you are interested in an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine:

MISSOURI:

We are offering COVID-19 vaccinations to Swope Health patients and community members who meet state criteria — by appointment only — at our new COVID-19 Vaccination location: 4401 Blue Parkway, in The Shops on Blue Parkway, Kansas City.

  • IF YOU ARE A SWOPE HEALTH PATIENT, please call (816) 321-3398 to schedule an appointment.
  • If you are a Missouri resident (not a Swope Health patient): please fill out the Fill out the Missouri Vaccine Navigator(More information at MOStopsCovid.com.)

State Vaccination Guidelines: Missouri

 

KANSAS:

  • IF YOU ARE A SWOPE HEALTH PATIENT: We are offering COVID-19 vaccinations to Swope Health patients who meet state vaccine guidelines by appointment only at Swope Health Wyandotte. Please call (816) 599-5112 to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccination at Swope Health Wyandotte.
  • If you are a Kansas resident (not a Swope Health patient) – Fill out a health department Vaccination Interest Form.  (The form is also available in Spanish.) If you need assistance filling out the form, call 311.

State Vaccination Guidelines: Kansas

Swope Health is also supporting the Unified Government Health Department with its vaccination program at 7836 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas, 66112. Every Thursday, Swope Health providers and clinical staff are assisting with distributing vaccinations to eligible individuals by appointment and in accordance with state guidelines at the Wyandotte County center, a former Kmart facility.


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Swope Health appoints Dr. Thurston Smith as Chief Information Officer

Swope Health, Kansas City’s leading provider of healthcare services for the medically underserved, today announced Dr. Thurston Smith as Chief Information Officer.

Dr. Smith is an IT professional with experience in health information systems management, project management of complex systems, and operational leadership. He comes to Swope Health from Cerner Corp., one of the nation’s leading health information systems firm, where he served as senior engineer manager, leading an engineering team in code design and development.

Dr. Smith also has experience working in a federally qualified health center, having previously served as CIO at the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center in Kansas City. Here he led all aspects of IT systems including development and implementation of new electronic medical records, pharmacy, imaging and laboratory services.

“We welcome Dr. Smith’s passion for coaching, mentoring and continuous learning, as well as the deep technical expertise he brings,” said Jeron Ravin, JD., President and Chief Executive of Swope Health. “Dr. Smith understands our commitment to serve our whole community and will help us improve access to healthcare, build new efficiencies and enhance our services through technology.”

Dr. Smith brings expertise from roles at Truman Medical Centers; Datafile Technologies; and DST Systems Inc., all in Kansas City; and at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, in Iowa City, Iowa. A veteran of the U.S. Army and Army Reserve, Smith has also held positions as an adjunct professor with Johnson County Community College and DeVry University, where he received the highest student evaluation rate of his peers for two years.

He holds a Doctorate of Health Administration, emphasis in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics, from Capella University in Minneapolis; and a Master of Business Administration from DeVry University, Keller Graduate School of Management, in Naperville, Ill. He received a Master of Arts in Educational Technology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Associate degree in Applied Science in Information Technology from Hamilton Business College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Computer Science from Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, Miss. He also holds several professional certifications.

Dr. Smith has received accolades in his field of study, including the Black Family Technology Awareness Association of Kansas City Award in February 2011, which recognizes an exceptional technology professional with the African American Community.

In the Kansas City community, Dr. Smith is active in his church and fraternity. He also serves on the boards of Jackson County CASA, a court advocacy group for children, and his non-profit organization, Iron Men Ministry, which mentors young men in positive development and empowerment.

Dr. Smith lives in Kansas City. He and his wife have four children and three grandchildren.

Free Support for Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment

Do you need healthcare insurance?

Swope Health can assist you with finding a healthcare insurance plan in the federal insurance marketplace – and now’s the time! We are in an Open Enrollment period, now through May 15, 2021.

Why now?

One of the earliest actions President Joe Biden took was to re-launch the Open Enrollment period for Americans to sign up for healthcare insurance under the Affordable Care Act or ACA. The executive order is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has left 30 million Americans without healthcare coverage.

The act specifically recognizes the exceptional circumstances caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: “Black, Latino, and Native American persons are more likely to be uninsured, and communities of color have been especially hard hit by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn.”

What is the ACA Marketplace?

The marketplace (Healthcare.gov) is operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It brings together a range of health insurance plans to provide coverage – including for pre-existing health conditions – you can buy regardless of income. The program is designed to improve access to healthcare services, especially for those who may be unemployed or unable to afford traditional healthcare insurance.

At the Healthcare.gov Marketplace, you can select insurance that covers healthcare services from doctors, hospitals, community health centers and other providers in the United States.

Swope Health can assist you with registering for healthcare insurance in the ACA Marketplace.

How to get help:

You can call Swope Health at 816-599-5590 to talk with an enrollment specialist at Swope Health. Spanish-speaking specialists are available.

Or, if you prefer, you can schedule an appointment to meet with a specialist – either in person or through a video conference call. If you schedule an in-person meeting at any of the Swope Health clinic locations in Missouri and Kansas, you will be required to wear a mask, be screened upon entry and maintain appropriate physical distancing.

In the appointment with the specialist, you can also learn if you qualify for Medicaid and if so, the specialist can help you sign up for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

What do I need to apply?

You can start by exploring the marketplace (Healthcare.gov) on your own to get an idea of 2021 health plans and prices. You’ll be asked about your income, so be prepared with tax information or pay stubs.

 

Additional resources:

Swope Health Presents The History of Vaccination and Inequity Among Communities of Color

The video of the first in our  special two-part noon virtual lecture series focusing on the importance of vaccination for the KC community is now available.

The first lecture originally was presented Feb. 18, on “The History of Vaccination and Inequity Among Communities of Color” featuring Jason Glenn, PhD, assistant professor in the department of history and medicine at the University of Kansas.

A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard University, Dr. Glenn’s research makes the history of medicine directly applicable to resolving local inequities of health and well-being. His areas of specialty include the history of drug policy in the U.S., the ethics and history of human subject research, health inequities research, and the social and structural determinants of health.

Watch the video to learn the history of vaccination and how we can shape our own future in the midst of this global pandemic.

 

Kansas City Mayor Appoints Swope Health’s Jeron Ravin, JD, to COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force

As President & CEO of Swope Health, Ravin was selected for his ability to contribute valuable strategies that reach the medically underserved

 

KANSAS CITY, MO (February 5, 2021) – Jeron Ravin, JD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Swope Health, has been appointed by Mayor Quinton Lucas to serve on Kansas City’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. Ravin joins an esteemed group of leaders on the task force whose roles range from healthcare and public health to operational and organizational logistics. Mayor Lucas assembled the task force on Wednesday to ensure equitable and efficient COVID-19 vaccine distribution across Kansas City.

Swope Health is Kansas City’s leading provider of healthcare services for the medically underserved, with 50+ year legacy of ensuring access to healthcare, including preventive medicine, to the area’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations.

Swope Health has been active in COVID-19 testing and relief efforts, operating COVID-19 clinics on both sides of the state line as well as dozens of drive-through and pop-up community testing events. Swope Health has tested more than 13,000 individuals and continues to operate regular community testing events.

Recognizing the impact COVID-19 has had on families in our community, Swope Health partnered with several non-profit agencies and corporate sponsors to host 1st Saturdays, monthly give-aways of essential family supplies such as food, school supplies, cold weather gear and other necessities. These events, which included COVID-19 testing, served more than 7,000 people representing approximately 2,800 families in need.

Swope Health is now delivering COVID-19 vaccines to patients, following state guidelines and vaccine availability.

“I am honored that Mayor Lucas put his trust in me to deliver real solutions that enable everyone to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting the vaccine,” said Ravin. “I know I speak for all my task force colleagues when I say we take this responsibility very seriously.”

One challenge facing the task force is informing people without internet access about when, where and how to receive the vaccine. The task force will develop a plan that provides proper focus on people in areas most devastated by the pandemic and least connected to online information. Swope Health provides healthcare services to more than 43,000 people each year, many of whom represent the vulnerable populations the task force plan will aim to protect.

“I agree with Mayor Lucas that every loss from COVID-19 is one too many, and I share his vision to ensure no one is forgotten when it comes to receiving this potentially life-saving vaccine,” said Ravin. “Through collaboration and innovative thinking, our task force will create a plan that is broad in reach but targeted in approach to protect the health and wellness of our community.”

Top 10 things to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine

At Swope Health, our providers are talking with patients every day about the new COVID-19 vaccine. We’re hearing a lot of questions, and want to share our answers with you. Here’s the Top 10 list with answers from Dr. Jennifer Frost, Swope Health Chief Medical Officer.

Why should I get vaccinated?
Because the COVID-19 Vaccine helps protect you from getting COVID-19. The vaccine, along with the other preventions – wearing a mask, staying physically distant from others, and washing your hands frequently – are the best tools we have to protect against COVID-19 and end the pandemic.

Does it work?
The vaccines have remarkably high rates of effectiveness – actually higher than many flu vaccines. So, yes, it works to give you immunity to COVID-19. The two vaccines have been proven to be about 95 percent effective. And if you do get infected with COVID-19, your symptoms will likely be less severe if you have been vaccinated.

Will it make me sick?
You can’t “catch” COVID-19 from the vaccination. The vaccination doesn’t actually contain the virus. You may have mild symptoms after a vaccination, like soreness in your arm, aches or tiredness. These are signs that your body is building a response to fight the coronavirus – exactly what you want.

Is it safe?
Yes. The COVID-19 vaccines have been thoroughly evaluated, using the same procedure as every other vaccine that is available in the United States.

What about long-term side effects?
Each of the COVID-19 vaccines has been studied in more than 30,000 people. There is no evidence of any long-term side effects.

I have a condition (asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.). Should I get vaccinated?
Yes! People with chronic health conditions are at increased risk of severe illness with COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself is with vaccination. The only people who should not get the vaccine are those who have had a severe allergic reaction to one of the components of the vaccine.

I already had COVID-19. Do I need to get vaccinated?
Yes. It is possible to be re-infected with COVID-19. The natural immunity you get after the illness may not be long lasting – it varies from person to person. The best way to protect yourself – and others around you – is to be vaccinated.

I’m pregnant or breast-feeding. Should I get vaccinated?
Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding receive vaccination to protect against COVID-19.

This is a new kind of vaccine. Why should we trust it?
It is true that this is a different kind of vaccine, one based on messenger RNA technology (mRNA). This technology has been studied for decades and has been proven safe.

What does the vaccine cost?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that vaccines purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. Vaccination providers are allowed to charge an administration fee, although Swope Health is not charging a fee at this time. Swope Health provides care regardless of ability to pay.

 

BONUS QUESTION!
How can I get the vaccine?

Swope Health is offering the vaccine to current Swope Health patients by appointment only. If you are interested in receiving the vaccination, please let us know by registering at https://swopehealth.org/vaccine-interest/

(If you need help, call the helpline at 816-321-3398.)

Swope Health will contact you to schedule an appointment when vaccine is available. Scheduling is based on state guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.

We are also planning community vaccination events later in the spring – please check back with us here  frequently.

If you have other questions, please talk with your provider.

Learn more from the CDC

The Top 4 Tools YOU can Use to Stop the Pandemic

The New Year brings a promise of fresh starts, a new beginning, a time for building new habits. With that thought in mind, Swope Health presents the Top Four Tools that can help you do your part to protect against COVID-19 in 2021.

These may sound familiar, and some may be healthy habits that you have already adopted from 2020. (If you’re already doing these, congratulations and keep up the good work!)

  1. Wear a mask. Make sure it covers your nose and mouth, indoors and outdoors. And two layers are better than one – you can wear a scarf or ski mask over your face in cold weather. And especially in cold or wet weather, keep a spare at hand in case yours becomes moist.
  2. Stay six feet away from others, indoors and outdoors. Limit your interactions with others outside those who live with you. When you must be out, whether it’s getting groceries or at church, limit contact and be on high alert to keep at least six feet away from others. Avoid crowded places.
  3. Wash your hands! Often! Use soap and warm water, and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash with soap and water. Wash up whenever you can – before preparing food, after eating, after diapering a child, touching a pet or sneezing. When in doubt, go wash your hands!
  4. Get tested for COVID-19. The virus is spreading throughout the community. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, you should be tested to protect yourself and others. Swope Health is providing free community testing at a variety of locations in the KC metro area. Here’s the current list, and it is always updated under COVID-19 at the Swope Health website.
  • Jan. 5, 10 am-2 pm, George Washington Carver Elementary School, 4600 Elmwood Ave., Kansas City, MO 64`30
  • Jan. 6, 9 am-2 pm, Knights of Columbus, 5101 Blue Ridge Cutoff, Kansas City, MO 64133
  • Jan. 7, 10 am -2 pm, Quindaro Community Center, 2726 Brown Ave, Kansas City, KS 66104
  • Jan. 11, 9 am-3 pm, Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center, 3700 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64130 Register:https://mako.exchange/scheduler/registration/?location=2730 Missouri residents only.
  • Jan. 13, 9 am-2 pm, Knights of Columbus, 5101 Blue Ridge Cutoff, Kansas City, MO 64133
  • Jan. 14, 10 am -2 pm, Quindaro Community Center, 2726 Brown Ave, Kansas City, KS 66104
  • Jan. 20, 9 am-2 pm, Knights of Columbus, 5101 Blue Ridge Cutoff, Kansas City, MO 64133
  • Jan. 21, 10 am -2 pm, Quindaro Community Center, 2726 Brown Ave, Kansas City, KS 66104
  • Jan. 25, 9 am-3 pm, Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center, 3700 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64130 Register:https://mako.exchange/scheduler/registration/?location=2730 Missouri residents only.
  • Jan. 27, 9 am-2 pm, Knights of Columbus, 5101 Blue Ridge Cutoff, Kansas City, MO 64133
  • Feb. 1, 9 am-3 pm, Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center, 3700 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64130 Register:https://mako.exchange/scheduler/registration/?location=2730 Missouri residents only.
  • Feb. 3, 9 am-2 pm, Knights of Columbus, 5101 Blue Ridge Cutoff, Kansas City, MO 64133
  • Feb 4, 9 am-3 pm, KCI Expo Center, 11730 N. Ambassador Drive, Kansas City, MO 64153 Register:https://mako.exchange/scheduler/registration/?location=2730 Missouri residents only.

 

A New Tool is Coming Soon


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fifth tool– the new COVID-19 vaccines – will be available soon.

Swope Health will offer the free vaccines as soon as they are available, which will likely be in the early spring months of 2021.

While we’re sharing lists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers 8 things you should know about the vaccines:

  1. They are safe.
  2. The two-dose vaccine will help protect you from getting COVID-19.
  3. While supplies are limited, the initial distribution is prioritized.
  4. Supplies of vaccines will increase, making it available for everyone.
  5. The vaccination may have side effects that show it is working and your body is building protection.
  6. The vaccine will be available at no cost (and any administration fees can be reimbursed).
  7. More vaccines are in development and will be reviewed for Emergency Use Authorization.
  8. Vaccines are an important tool to help stop the pandemic.

Swope Health will offer more information about the vaccines in coming weeks. Check back at our website or talk with our COVID-19 team at any of the community testing events. Or visit with your provider – telemedicine calls also available – by scheduling at 816-923-5800.

Patient Entrance at Building A is Now Open

 

Starting Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, Patients will see a renovated main entrance at Swope Health Central, 3801 Blue Parkway.

For the past several weeks, Patients have been guided to use the C Building, while the A Building entrance was renovated. The vestibule renovation is now complete and the main entrance re-opens starting Monday.

Patient parking is available in the A, B and C lots.

Swope Health Associates will be at the renovated entrance to greet Patients and provide standard COVID-19 screening for all who enter. All Patients, vendors and non-staff enter only through the newly removed A Building entrance. Everyone visiting Swope Health must wear a mask and practice safe physical distancing. Patients arriving with COVID-19 symptoms or suspected exposure will be directed to the COVID-19 entrance.

The renovation at Building A now contains separate entrance and exit areas. The renovated vestibule helps provide improved climate control. The lobby is still a work in progress.

New Pharmacy, with Drive-through Service Coming

Also starting Monday, Jan. 11, Patients will find the Pharmacy has moved to the northwestern corner of the first floor. As you come in the new entrance, you’ll be facing the newly renovated Pharmacy.

The new Pharmacy features a private consultation space for discussions with the pharmacy associates about your medications. Construction is still underway for the new Pharmacy drive-through lane.

Over the next several months, we will complete the renovation of the lobby and will move the Swope Health Optical Shop and Optometry Clinic to the former Pharmacy space.

The entire lobby and Optical center renovation is scheduled to be completed by mid-year.

Take Steps to Celebrate Holidays – SAFELY

As we approach the winter holiday season, across the United States, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise. All of us at Swope Health encourage you to focus on precautions to celebrate safely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the safest way to celebrate this holiday season is to stay at home with the people you live with. “Travel and gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu,” the CDC says.

Meals and gatherings are especially important at the holidays, but this year, the CDC encourages some new precautions:

  • Bring your own food and utensils.
  • Avoid sharing food or being around food preparation. No gathering in the kitchen.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items.
  • Have a space for handwashing and provide plenty of hand sanitizer.
  • Consider having a virtual gathering, like a Zoom dinner. You can open gifts virtually, share a meal, prepare crafts or decorate, play games or even hold a dance party using a virtual meeting space.

Here are a couple of flyers you can print out and share with your family as you make your holiday plans.

We encourage you to stay home this holiday season and not have in-person gatherings with people outside of your household.

If you do celebrate in person with others, keep your gathering smaller and shorter, practice hand washing and sanitizing, mask wearing and safe physical distancing. Some precautions you can take:

  • Wear a mask, and remember, two layers are better than one! Make sure it covers your nose and mouth, indoors and outdoors. You can wear a scarf or ski mask over your face mask in cold weather. Especially in cold weather, keep a spare mask at hand in case yours becomes moist from breathing, snow or rain.
  • Stay six feet away from others, indoors and outdoors. If you are gathering with family or friends who don’t live with you, keep that same six feet of separation between family pods.
  • If you gather with your family, keep it outside if possible. The virus spreads through the air, so ventilation is critically important. If you must be inside, open windows and doors and keep your home’s fans on.
  • Keep it short! Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
  • Avoid travel. Stay away from large public gatherings, like at airports, train stations, bus stations and public transportation. Even if you drive, you’ll still face potential exposures at rest stops, gas stations and other places you stop.

Use C Entrance while Main Entrance is Renovated

Reminder: the Main entrance at Building A is closed and Patients will enter using a new temporary entrance at the C Building.

This temporary move is to accommodate the renovation of the A Building vestibule, which will be part of a larger new lobby development project. This vestibule work will continue through Jan. 11, 2021.

The majority of parking Lot C is reserved for Patient use.

As a reminder, standard COVID-19 screening will continue at this entrance for all Patients. All Patients must wear a mask and practice safe physical distancing.

The construction at Building A will create separate entrance and exit areas. The new vestibule will also give us improved climate control in the lobby, which is also in renovation.

This is just one of many updates completed or underway at Swope Health:

  • Adult Health Clinic – Located on the first floor of Building A, we have expanded the lobby by removing the hallway wall. This newly opened lobby will allow for better physical distancing and provide additional space for the clinic registration area. This development should be complete by late November.
  • New Pharmacy – We’ve begun renovating the former registration space off the Building A lobby as the new home for our Pharmacy department. This renovation will include the addition of a drive-through lane for increased convenience as well as a private consultation space for discussions with the pharmacy associates about your medications. (The Swope Health Optical Shop and Optometry Clinic will move to the former Pharmacy space in a later phase of renovation.)
  • Radiology Ultrasound Suite – Located on the first floor of Building A, this is a designated Ultrasound Suite constructed inside our Radiology department. New ultrasound equipment will soon be installed.
  • Dental Treatment Rooms – Dental treatment rooms have been reconfigured to allow for improved handling of X-Rays, making visits more efficient for our patients.