For this week's edition of the CPA Member Spotlight, we chatted with Mike Reynolds of CPA member organization Community Bridges, headquartered in Ruston, LA. Mike discussed how Community Bridges has been affected by COVID-19 and how the CPA has played a key role in their response to this pandemic.
How Has The COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Community Bridges?
"This is a really good question that I will try to answer from multiple perspectives. The immediate effect of COVID was refocusing solely on the health and safety of our clients and those serving them. We were no longer focused on much of anything else other than trying to do this the best we can. The commitment of our core staff was unbelievable, with a comparatively low occurrence of staff not reporting to work due to the fear of this unknown enemy."
"Management (me) was not well-prepared to provide the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed for this event. Our unpreparedness was unfortunately shared by all levels of government and highlights the frailty of our overall service system. We, as a provider, have and will improve our future preparedness. But it is obvious that this is bigger than us."
"We have done what everyone else has done in trying to isolate staff to just one work location, taking temperatures before you can enter a home and every 4 hours thereafter. Improving overall infection control practices, limiting who can go grocery shopping, etc. To our credit, we did implement the self-isolation a little quicker than most."
What "Good News" or Positive Changes Have You Seen Come From This Pandemic Within The Community or Within Community Bridges?
"I'll take the liberty to answer this from a personal & spiritual perspective. I, and most of our staff, have seen the Grace of God protecting those we serve here at Community Bridges. This has been reflective of most agencies across Louisiana. The many conversations that I have had with others during this trying time reflect the love, care and concern for those we serve. [CPA members] Roma Kidd, Ben Pitts, Sharon Gomez, Sylvia Bush and a host of others in our field make me personally feel good."
Has CPA benefited you?
How has being a member of CPA benefited Community Bridges during this pandemic?
"Beyond the obvious rate increases, retroactive payments, integral involvement with all levels of State government and LDH? Peer interaction and support? A vibrant young, talented and mission-driven Executive Director? A very competent, well-known and respected lobbyist? I personally can't figure out what every provider is not a member."
"Specifically during this pandemic, Wendy Eschete from Lafourche Arc shared her COVID Infection Control Policy and Procedure with me early in this event. Sharon Gomez and Evergreen Life Services shared some of what they were implementing to help provide additional safety to those served. Roma Kidd of ARCO acted as our PPE group buying agent. Ben Pitts from GB Cooley offered me some of his PPEs if we had a need. CPA Executive Director Caroline Meehan provided TONS of information related to the Payroll Protection Program, LDH information, etc.
Being an active member of the Community Provider Association without question improved our ability to provide better care during this outbreak. If not already an active dues paying member, please make a wise investment of some of the rate increases and retroactive payments you have received and JOIN!!!
While we have accomplished much, there is much left to do and many new challenges looming on the horizon. Join us!"