COVID 19 – Effects on small non-profit medical office in Geauga County
In response to COVID-19/Coronavirus, DDC Clinic made the difficult decision to close our building to everyone but our patients. The children we serve with rare diseases are at high risk of severe complications if they caught the virus. Their safety was our first concern. We asked families to postpone well child visits and new patient appointments. We increased hand washing, the use of personal protective equipment and the frequency of disinfecting surfaces, especially before and after a patient visit. We really miss seeing the Ladies Quilting Group, the Coffee Club, the MSI clients and others who use our facility. We continue to reach out to our Amish families and supporters about the importance of social distancing and not gathering in groups. This is difficult for them because of their religious practices and beliefs. Our patient families became strong advocates to protect their children.
Dr. Wang and Valerie, our nurse, are still seeing patients, as needed. Dr. Wang is busy supporting families through telephone consultations. Dr. Bao Xin, Julia and Karen are still performing tests in the lab to help diagnose rare conditions. Two of the eight staff work remotely. The Board of Directors is still meeting via conference calls.
Valerie reports that three immunization clinics have been cancelled to date. This means 60 children have not been vaccinated. Patient visits are down 90%. For example, during the first six weeks of the year we saw 17 new patients and saw 100 patients. Dr. Xin reports that lab testing is down 65%, other than Amish panel testing. Our partnership with the Middlefield Care Center/birthing center using the Amish panel to screen newborns continues and we test an average of 15 samples per month. Usually our lab performs other genomic tests at an average of 43 samples per month and we currently test an average of 15 samples per month.
The decrease in medical appointments and lab testing means our earned income is down approximately 80% since we choose not to bill for telephone consultations. Many of our families are struggling during this difficult time. Our spring fundraiser, Patchwork, has been postponed until September, which means a loss of immediate funding of approximately $60,000.00. We are concerned that two Amish/Mennonite community fundraisers which support DDC Clinic and are scheduled for this summer, will have to be cancelled. This would be a loss of another $100,000.00. We never had a large staff, but we have not filled a receptionist/billing position and our Executive Director is a volunteer. We continue to pursue all options to maintain our operations and support children with rare diseases.