To be in the healthcare industry these last sixteen months has been analogous to navigating a battlefield; it has been a long, slow, grueling slog. Perhaps it was the constant pivoting, ceaseless planning for the What if? scenarios that could materialize, and my endless worry for the health of our staff, that led me to that comparison.
Today, we are still slogging, but our steps are more swift and sure, the incline before us a bit less steep. Fewer people appear to the clinics with COVID-like symptoms, fewer COVID tests return positive, and the staff have been virus free since mid-January. More patients are returning to the clinics – children are getting school physicals, smiles are being restored, adults are attending again to chronic health issues – and students and volunteers have returned as well. We are back to our normal operating hours and are once again offering the full range of medical and dental services we are known for. It almost feels “normal”, and our thinking has shifted from short-term tactical to long-term strategic.
In short, we can see the light that shines ahead, and we are moving toward it.
We are profoundly grateful to you and everyone else who supported and encouraged us during the past sixteen months. If not for your support, things could have turned out differently for our ministry. We know a few safety-net clinics have ceased to be while others have converted exclusively to telemedicine, but because of you, we were able to continue to provide face-to-face care to the nearly 30,000 people who entered our doors last year. It was a challenge yet an honor to remain in the field to care for those who had fewer places to turn during 2020.
In an immediate sense, the light that shines ahead is an increasing optimism that the COVID crisis may be nearing its end. In a near-term sense, it is the opportunity to look ahead once again and rationally think about where and how we might continue to increase access to healthcare for the poor and uninsured through expansion elsewhere in the metro area.
In a less temporal and more important sense, the light that shines ahead is the evidence of the providence of God. He remains on the throne, and all is in His control. There is no doubt in our minds that we were favored with His protection during the pandemic, and we plan to honor Him by working for His cause and in His name for all time to come. We thank you again for helping us to accomplish just that. Together, now, toward the light!