COVID-19 Response

A NOTE FROM ALICE

Alice V. Koehler, MBA | President & CEO

April 22, 2020

I don’t know about you, but today’s pace of life is like nothing I’ve experienced. We’re busy, but not like before. We are working differently, parenting differently, partnering differently. The roads are quiet; our minds are noisy. We enjoy fewer social commitments, but miss human connection. We have time to read, create, learn, hike, but we tend to stare into space – or Netflix – instead. We miss our friends and family and colleagues. We host virtual happy hours and game nights. We feel like we’ve gained and lost all at once. Why are we so tired? Why are video calls so exhausting? I read this yesterday from INSEAD organizational behavior professor Gianpiero Petriglieri, and it resonated with me. “It’s the plausible deniability of everyone’s absence. Our minds are tricked into the idea of being together when our bodies feel we’re not. Dissonance is exhausting. It’s easier being in each other’s presence or each other’s absence. Our bodies process so much context, so much information, in encounters, that meeting on video is being a weird kind of blind-folded. We sense too little and can’t imagine enough. That single deprivation requires a lot of effort.”

Humans need to name things. We crave knowing – a medical diagnosis, an emotion, when something will end. And when things are ambiguous, life gets really hard and we get tired. We forget to give each other permission to feel. We grow impatient and snap to anger. This week, I encourage you to give yourself – and your loved ones – permission to feel. Explore your inner emotions. Ask your kids, partners, colleagues, family members, and friends how they are feeling…and share how you are feeling, too. You will likely find that many around you are feeling similar things and that none of us has a monopoly on any one experience right now. We really are all in this together, learning how to be a community while so far apart.

Grateful,

Alice

A NOTE FROM ALICE

Alice V. Koehler, MBA | President & CEO

April 10, 2020

As if we needed a reminder to be aware of stress this month, April is actually National Stress Awareness Month. While we are all safer at home, we are challenged by the juxtaposition of boredom and an overwhelming sense of urgency to do something. It is normal to feel stress during these times, and it is certain that we are all internalizing that stress a little differently these days. For some of us, who are working parents, we are struggling to keep up with work and children who are home. Home has become both daycare and school. Being all things to our partners, children and work commitments is hard, y’all! For those of us who live alone and are isolated, the stress of inactivity and social distance can bring about depression. For those of us who are first responders, the fear of sickness and the weight of carrying others’ fears becomes quite heavy.

Every stress induced trauma plays out differently. And as part of our LVIM community, we want you to know we are here for you on this journey. Here, we share some of our stress relieving strategies with you. We’d love to hear how you’re taking care of you during this time, too! Message us on Facebook @WeAreLVIM, or send an e-mail to me at akoehler@lvim.net.

Be well, LVIM family!

You are loved and you are missed!

LVIM providers can now see patients virtually! Thanks to a partnership secured by Volunteers in Medicine America, this service is available to LVM at no cost through September. Last week, providers and staff held practice appointments with each other to learn how the system works and are ready to begin using it with patients this week! We are so excited about this opportunity in this critical time as well as seeing how it might help us grow in the future!

A NOTE FROM ALICE

Alice V. Koehler, MBA | President & CEO

April 3, 2020

How many times in the last few weeks have you made plans and then had to change them? Whether it’s the constant, and sometimes elusive, hunt for toilet paper or waiting for the next mandate from officials to decide if your family gathering will be an intimate one in your home, a picnic on the lawn six feet apart, or a virtual dinner on Google Hangouts or Zoom or FaceTime, we’ve all made plans until plans change. That seems to be the mantra that is keeping everyone sane in these strange times.

I wrote this update for you all two days ago.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-91, Essential Services & Activities During COVID-19 Emergency, an order we’ve been hoping for because it means our state and our communities will be safer. LVIM and all of our community’s healthcare workers, including our beloved volunteers, will be safer. In the next few days we will receive direction on how this order will be implemented locally; however, what we know for sure is that LVIM will remain available to serve the medically essential needs of our clients in the months ahead.

Will there be challenges? Of course! LVIM stands ready to face these challenges in order to continue being a light to this community, of service to our clients, and in support of our healthcare community.

In times of great challenge, the infamous Mr. Rogers is known for saying, “Look for the helpers!” In my lifetime I’ve lived through a number of uncertain times: hurricanes, third world poverty, declaration of war while living abroad, the aftermath of September 11th, social isolation, and a handful of personal tragedies. During these times, I always looked for the helpers to give me strength and hope. As I grew up, though, I realized Mr. Rogers was talking to the children; we adults are supposed to BE the helpers! I am elated and inspired by ALL the help and encouragement LVIM has received in the last few weeks, some details of which are in the following pages. I hope you all will join in being a helper alongside LVIM as we travel the road ahead together. Be safe and be well!

A Note from Our CEO

March 23, 2020

To our Faithful Volunteer Family,

Who would have guessed three weeks ago that we’d be where we are today?

Life has been altered perhaps permanently in many ways and as we navigate the uncertain waters ahead, some things have not changed:

How much we appreciate YOU…all of you!

and
Our commitment to our patients’ health and wellness.

 

To those of you who have weathered this storm alongside us inside the clinic thus far, THANK YOU!

To those of you who have weathered this storm from the security and safety of your own home, THANK YOU as well.

By working in the clinic alongside us you are helping us keep LVIM’s patients healthy, with uninterrupted access to their medications. We are keeping them out of the emergency room. By doing this, we keep beds open for those in our community who will soon be very sick.

By choosing to stay home, you are doing the same.  You are helping our community flatten the curve and increasing the chances of our community coming out on the other side of this less harmed.  By staying home, in many ways, you are ensuring you can come back to us when this is all over.

YOU ARE ALL IMPORTANT TO US!

As things are changing daily, I hope to keep you all informed and engaged in our mission.

Please accept my apologies that I haven’t been able to do so clearly until now. 

First, we have adjusted our operation in many ways to ensure everyone’s safety.

We are currently working with a skeleton crew of volunteers and staff.  A staff person is stationed outside the front door evaluating each person who comes to LVIM before they enter the building.  Everyone who wishes to enter the building is having their temperature taken and checked for any symptoms.  No guests or visitors are allowed in the building.  Medications are being delivered to patients by a staff member outside of the building.  We have moved many of our patient visits to a telehealth format and are triaging sick patients by phone before making any appointments.  We are honoring intake appointments that were already on the books, but we are no longer taking in any more new patients until it is safe to do so.  Our ophthalmology clinic is closed until further notice and dental is seeing only emergency cases.

Last week, I asked much of our admin staff to begin working remotely until further notice.

Kathy, Sonia, Ginny, Rebeca, Mary and Caroline have been working hard from their home offices to build the foundations on which we will stand on the other side of this. As they practice social distancing and self-isolation, they are working on the plans LVIM will use to rebound from the implications this will have on our organization. They are raising the money we need to keep caring for our community.  Though they are not in the office, their work is important, seen, and valued.

Our team’s health and wellness is my priority.

Without each of you healthy and well, staff and volunteers, we are of no use to the 3,000 patients who rely on us.

That being said, while we have significantly decreased the number of people coming in and out of the building, we are still open to serve our clients.  If you would like to pick up a shift, please let Kathy know.  We do have work for you.  Each day we have many phone calls to make and messages to which to reply, many prescriptions to order, to fill, and to prepare.

However, YOUR HEALTH IS MOST IMPORTANT!  Please DO NOT feel badly about staying home, either.  We know you value this mission whether you are in the building or at home.

Last week, as I was reflecting on all of this, not just for us at LVIM, but our lives as a whole, I wrote this:

Many of you know that I served our country and our world as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa from 2002-2004. For 27 months I lived in a place so foreign to me, and I foreign to it.

We struggled together. We worked together. We fought together.  We learned together.

We grew together.

That experience, and every single person I met along the way, made me so much of who I am today.

The sudden stop of all of it, around the globe, feels so hopeless.

The sudden isolation at home feels helpless.

And, yet…these words…

Mayi mava looooo – I go. I come.

In my village we said, “Allez Revenir.”

Go…to come back.

Over these days, I have cried a lot.  I have cried for the friends I can’t hug and the memories I can’t make in this time. I have cried for our volunteers who are most vulnerable to this vicious virus and cannot be with us during this time.  I have cried for my children and what they are missing.

But, I also know that going also means we can come back.

So, let’s all go…

so we can come back together.

******

In many ways, our new normal is a foreign land – at work and at home.

We have had to go away from all that we knew, make many changes, but doing so means we can come

back together, better and stronger.

It is often said that we cannot direct the wind, we can only adjust our sails.

Thank you for shifting your sails with us to meet the wind. Thank you for being patient with us during these times. Thank you for continuing to show up for our patients, for each other, and for our mission – whether in the clinic or from home.

I am grateful for you,

Alice

As we work together to keep our community safe and healthy, LVIM is planning and prepared to face the new normal that lies ahead.  We are currently seeing patients, we will just not be accepting NEW patients until further notice.

Stay informed:

CDC – http://ow.ly/fuwU50yNaVQ

Florida Department of Health – http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/

As we are adjusting to our new normal, our patients will see the information below posted on our doors.  If it applies to you, PLEASE CALL US before entering the building!