WNC Primary Care COVID Impact and Assessment Survey

MAHEC has engaged regional practices through our Practice Support Team and responded to many existing needs. Regional educational conferences occur daily to assist with telehealth support and COVID-19 updates. We remain committed to actively working with community partners to preserve access to care for our region at such a critical time.

As a result of this study, we have identified key areas for intervention and a recognition that needs will evolve relative to caseloads, resources, and our ability to flatten the curve.

Current Summary

  • 113 primary care practices included throughout the region.
  • 19 practices with urgent needs that they want addressed.
  • Approximately 65% have sufficient PPE for the next two weeks to evaluate respiratory patients. However, that number goes down to around 39% who will have sufficient PPE in 4 weeks, primarily due to shortages of masks and face shields.
  • Approximately 48% of practices in the region have the capability of doing COVID testing at their practice location using current CDC standards.
  • Encouragingly, over 90% of practices have protocols in place for suspected cases.

Do you have enough N95 respirators?

Two Weeks
Four Weeks

Do you have enough face shields?

Two Weeks
Four Weeks

Do you have enough surgical masks?

Two Weeks
Four Weeks

Do you have enough staff gowns?

Two Weeks
Four Weeks

Do you have enough hand sanitizer?

Two Weeks
Four Weeks

Do you have enough single use gloves?

Two Weeks
Four Weeks

Is your practice offering COVID-19 testing?

Do you have a protocol in place for directing suspected cases to screening?

Do you have a protocol in place for handling confirmed cases seeking help?

Do you have a protocol for referring patients to social service agencies?

Do you have resources to help staff with childcare?

Do you have process for caring for substance abuse disorders patients?

Do you need training on identifying patients that should be tested?

Do you need training on appropriate use of N-95 respirators?

Do you need training on testing for suspected COVID-19 cases?

Do you need training on directing patients to COVID-19 testing sites?

Do you need training on dealing with staff shortages?

Are you currently using telephone and/or telehealth services?

Do you know how to bill for providing telephone & telehealth services?

Do you need help with providing or billing for telephone/telehealth?

Has your practice registered with NCCARE360?

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Regional and Rural Needs

  • A significant number of practices are already in distress, many with reduced hours and services.
  • Themes for most urgent needs include PPE and financial viability with billing and loan opportunities.
  • Rural reporting counties have increased needs of PPE relative to larger counties such as Henderson and Buncombe.
  • The most specific disparities are noted around N95 masks, face shields, surgical masks, and hand sanitizer.
  • Most practices have actively converted to telehealth services, but uptake remains slower in rural areas and with older patient populations.
  • Needs vary based on time, location and practice.
  • Protocol development, training, and education desired.

Medical Practices with Needs by WNC County

Medical Practices that have Experience by WNC County

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Safety-Net Practices with Disproportionate Needs

  • 22 participating practices including FQHC’s, FQHC look-a-likes, WNC County Health Departments, and other regional family practices.
  • A smaller minority of practices, approximately 27%, have a full complement of appropriate PPE for 2 weeks.
  • No practice reported projections of sufficient equipment or materials for 4 weeks.
  • 50% of reporting practices reported available testing.
  • 41% of reporting practices reported needs with assistance focused on childcare, referrals to social services, or addressing patients with substance use disorders.
  • 68% of reporting practices reported that they were using telehealth services.

Percentage of Safety-Net Practices Reporting Sufficent PPE at 2 and 4 Weeks

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Thank You to Our Partners

This work would not have been possible without the generous contributions and in-kind support of our partners:

  • Buncombe County Health and Human Services
  • North Carolina Biotechnology Center
  • Parsec Financial
  • The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research
  • Dogwood Health Trust
  • UNC School of Medicine Asheville Campus
  • NC Office of Rural Health
  • North Carolina Network Consortium
  • Mission Health Partners
  • Western Carolina Medical Society
  • NC Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute/ National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), Grant # UL1TR002489
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