CEO Anne Starr's Email Update to Employees - May 7, 2020

CEO Update

Dear All, 

As I mentioned in yesterday’s email, today, I want to spend some time writing about what are the indicators that it will be getting closer to a reopening of our outpatient, CCR&R, and home and community-based services.  

First, we will need to see a decrease in the community spread of the COIVD virus. Today, we are not seeing that decrease happening in Polk County. A decline is an indicator that we have in place effective measures to contain the spread. We may have those effective measures in place today, but it’s too soon to tell from the numbers still testing positive. 

Next, we will want to know that there is wide access to timely COVID testing. There are rapid results testing available today, but it is not widely accessible.  We need to be able to accurately and timely test community members to determine if they are carrying the virus as we “open up” our activities. Children, in particular, are often asymptomatic. A recent research study showed that nearly half of the children who tested positive with COVID had none of the usual symptoms. Rapid, easily accessible testing allows people to know especially when to isolate, when they may have infected someone else, etc. These are all important factors as we return to more contact. 

A reasonable plan for OP is a plan that takes appropriate precautions for employees and clients. We aren’t an organization that likes to “throw the dice” when the health of all is at risk. We will monitor, we will plan to ensure we have appropriate amounts of PPE, sanitizer, etc. available for a return, and we are working with our partners across the state to have some consistency across our types of services. 

The Iowa Medicaid Enterprise is not rushing to end the use of telehealth. They recognize the need and that we are not close to being able to return to the way we used to work. As of this week, we are not experiencing pressure from our funders to return to our clinic, schools, or home-based services.  


While I would like to say we would wait for a vaccine to be widely available before we have some type of return to face to face services, it is not necessarily going to happen in the time frame we would like. We know that containment works even without a vaccine, and we will most certainly continue those containment efforts for a long time in the future. We are going to be the best darn COVID containment people in our field! Believe it.  

Thank you again for all you do and for the care you’re extending to families who are afraid and isolated. There is no question you make a difference.  

Sanctuary on! Anne