Collaborative Partnership to Bring Mobile COVID-19 Testing to At-risk Populations
DETROIT – Altimetrik, a Southfield-based fast-growing global business transformation company, and the 501(c)(3) Vattikuti Foundation have donated $400,000 as part of a partnership with Henry Ford Health System, the City of Detroit and its health department to bring 10,000 onsite COVID-19 tests to the city’s more than 126 nursing homes and senior assisted living facilities.
“I am proud that we are trending in the right direction in the city, but my heart breaks for the more than 730 members of our community that we have lost,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “We are still facing significant challenges in combating the virus in high-density sites like nursing homes. Through rapid testing and partnerships like the one with Altimetrik, the Vattikuti Foundation and Henry Ford Health System, we are meeting the needs of our friends, parents and grandparents and those who care for them through this initiative.”
High-density senior facilities are particularly threatened due to both COVID-19-specific risk factors, as well as issues associated with healthcare access and transportation safety and accessibility. Preliminary testing indicates high rates of infection at some sites with further testing urgently required. Senior assisted-living facilities are similar to nursing homes in terms of both the urgent need for attention and the socio-demographics of residents. In fact, many of these facilities do not have the medical staff we see in nursing homes.
“Henry Ford has always been a trusted partner with the communities it serves in meeting vital health needs, and this has been especially true in the City of Detroit,” said Bob Riney, president of Healthcare Operations and chief operating officer at Henry Ford Health System. “This partnership in response to the coronavirus builds on this commitment and will bring vital testing infrastructure onsite to the residents and workers of these congregate facilities to help prevent further spread of the disease as well as function as a venue for outreach and distribution of protective equipment.”
The testing deployment teams are managed by the Global Health Initiative (GHI) at Henry Ford, a unique collaboration of regional healthcare and academic institutions that seek to address some of the most pressing healthcare issues facing underserved populations in Michigan and internationally.
“The community outreach campaign will have meaningful impact by quickly identifying those who may be positive and limiting further spread of the virus in these vulnerable populations,” says John Zervos, GHI executive director. “It takes a village in this kind of crisis. The City of Detroit, its health department, Wayne State University and the philanthropic community have been phenomenal partners in advancing this critical work. Together, we’re making a difference.”
This testing program will have three operational components: mobile testing; education, outreach, and prevention efforts; and monitoring, analysis, and back-to-work planning.
Mobile testing is made possible thanks to this gift, which will allow for the purchase and deployment of 10,000 tests over the next six to eight weeks. The deployment teams of GHI staff and community volunteers use test-equipped vans to visit each site. They wear the required personal protective equipment (PPE), like hospital healthcare workers to protect against potential exposure, and aim to test about 200 people a day.
Results, treatment and care protocols, such as isolating COVID-positive residents, are quickly implemented. Site visits also allow for the delivery of education on preventative measures and distribution of PPE to patients and workers as needed. In addition to the monetary donation contributed by Altimetrik employees, Altimetrik will also provide operational support in building digital infrastructure for information collection and analysis. Building digital tools for the collection and analysis of data will help reduce future spread of the disease and help develop guidelines for infection-preventive work practices. These efforts are all intended to help drive return to a safer and more normal daily life for those currently afflicted and accelerate the reopening of the City of Detroit.
“We know that during this difficult time, our minority and low-income communities are struggling disproportionately with the impact of COVID-19,” said Raj Vattikuti, CEO of Altimetrik and the Vattikuti Foundation. “We’ve previously partnered with Henry Ford Health System to help establish Detroit as a global leader in robotic surgery, we’re excited to work with them again in building this service for the Detroit community.”
This partnership between Altimetrik, The Vattikuti Foundation, Henry Ford Health System, and the City of Detroit will help address both the immediate impact of COVID-19 especially impacting senior facilities and longer-term planning for procedures and practices in these sites. This gift also builds on the work that is already underway thanks to a grant from the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
“We are grateful for the ongoing generosity we have received during this time of incredible need in Detroit and across the county,” said Mary Jane Vogt, senior vice president and chief development officer at Henry Ford Health System. “This support is an instrumental part of our ability to respond to the ever-changing situation of COVID-19.”