Oregon Health & Science University's Scappoose Clinic has won this year’s FPM Award for Practice and Quality Improvement for its rapid deployment of COVID-19 vaccine in a primary care clinic. The award was presented as part of this year's Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Conference on Practice and Quality Improvement.
The Scappoose clinic is located in rural Oregon, and the members of its community often face many health challenges. Approximately 43% of its patients are on Medicaid, 17% are on Medicare, 5% are uninsured, and 29% have commercial plans. It is also one of the few primary care clinics within a two-hour radius that take care of veterans with TRICARE insurance (which makes up 7% of its patients).
As the first COVD-19 vaccine received emergency use authorization in late 2020, there was no existing public infrastructure to distribute it to the approximately 52,000 residents of Columbia County, where the clinic resides. The county public health system had no space, infrastructure, or expertise to vaccinate the entire population.
Brian Garvey, MD, medical director, Joe Skariah, DO, Columbia County Public Health Officer, and Stein Berger, practice manager, spearheaded a public-private partnership to rapidly deploy COVID-19 vaccines provided to the county using the existing clinic infrastructure and expertise. The clinic space was converted to a vaccine clinic on the weekends, and they developed and rapidly deployed an efficient system for scheduling, vaccinating, conducting post-vaccine monitoring, and coordinating second-dose follow-up visits.
Each day the vaccine clinic was open, its staff administered more than 500 vaccines (more than 1,000 each weekend). By May 2021, the Scappoose clinic had delivered more than 17,000 vaccines to the residents of Columbia County and was opening up evening times during the week as well.
The primary care clinic was the first site to lead the vaccine rollout in the OHSU Primary Care system. Leveraging technology, clinician expertise, and community partners made this model successful, and it has since been rolled out to other primary care clinics in the OHSU system.
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