Our Coronavirus Story
We are living through a historic time — not only for the world, our communities, ourselves and our families, but also in the life of Greater Seacoast Community Health. This page is a place to capture, document and honor the work we are doing during this time, the changes we’re making to get through it, and what moves, scares, saddens, motivates or inspires us.
Greater Seacoast employees, this is your page. Please visit often to see what your coworkers have shared, and use this form to share your own thoughts and photos. Do it for your children and grandchildren, if not for yourself! (Someday this will be converted to a more permanent form that will be shared with all employees.)
Scroll down for:
- Photo Gallery & Time Capsule
- Shout-Outs to Your Coworkers (a.k.a. virtual Star Card)
- How Things Changed
- Acts of Kindness & Support from the Community
- Silver Linings & What I Hope Will Stay
- Patient/Client Stories and Comments
- Messages from GSCH Donors & Community
Photo Gallery & Time Capsule
If you were creating a COVID-19 time capsule, what might you put in it to tell the story of this time? Think photos — like screening tents, respiratory clinics, your new home office, staff wearing masks, etc. Think posters and signs. Click below for a look at what we have so far and how you can contribute.
Shout-Outs to Your Coworkers (a.k.a. virtual Star Card)
- Shout out to Matt Chandler for rushing from Goodwin to Families First before 8am without hesitation to help out with an IT issue before patients started arriving! He even went above and beyond to fix the issue once he was here! – Breanna B.
- Thank you to the Payroll and HR teams which have helped many employees navigate the potentially confusing details involved in furloughs and in the types of leaves covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. You have been rock stars, and I really appreciate it. – Kendall
- Angela McCann– thanks for taking a few minutes to lift my spirit during all the madness. You are my Public Health hero 🙂 – Cori M.
- Thank you to the front office staff who have shown amazing flexibility and willingness to tackle each day’s challenges as they unfold, with half the woman power and fewer hours. I appreciate you! – Hilary O.
- Through wind and rain and the coldest April in years, Sheena and Anthony and others have stepped in at Families First in the screening tent. Thank you for your hard work! – Hilary O.
- I want to give a huge virtual hug and shout out to Mary M. She always goes above and beyond, but this one in particular was really amazing. She took a patient who was having trouble understanding insurance/sliding fee info and sat down with them to dive deep into explaining it. Her compassion and attitude were so caring and positive. It was clear that she made the patient feel understood and cared for. It was beautiful to watch. – Lynne D.
- Coreen has been a rockstar since before this all started, through Team Based Care transitions and holding down the fort during COVID, she is always there to help and I appreciate her so much during this time and all the time! – Nicole B.
- Thank-you to Lynne for assisting with verifying insurances, mailing letters, Initial consents, and for keeping a close eye on patients who are in need of the BDAS grant or who need updated paperwork. You are truly a Rockstar! It is a sincere pleasure working with you! – Sullivyn P.
- To the front desk staff, Lynne, Lauren, Ginny, Sheri for taking care of the new procedures and helping us all handle the telehealth transition. Special shout out to Lynne for dealing with all the BH appts! – Nicole B.
- Shout out to our Amazing Payroll Team: Brenda and Melissa! They have been rock stars with the continuing changes that are happening with payroll with furloughs, FMLA etc. They have also been a huge help to our HR department, keeping track of these changes and helping employees with all sorts of questions! Thank you both for staying so positive and helpful! 🙂 – Nina M.
- Thank you Robin Barber for holding down the fort! Your hard work and flexibility is appreciated! – Megan A.
- To Dawn and Donna, thank you for keeping our dental department going. Without you two, there would be no way we could see any patients and I want you to know how much I appreciate it. – Brian C.
- Danielle has held down the Portsmouth office like a force of nature! Assisting with rooming patients, immunizations, the prescription refills and PA’s. – Jennifer B.
- Shout out to John (SOS) and Jannell (MAR) for working to get a mobile MAR program up and running in Dover – this is the PERFECT time to trial something like this and I commend everyone involved for taking the time to think and work on this. You are all amazing and I (and the community) thank you!! – Rebecca F.
- Dawn & Jocelyn (FF), Donna & Tricia (GCH): Thank you for your hard work during these trying times. It does not go unnoticed!! – Amber C.
- I’m shouting out to Tricia Guilbault for running the Dental Front Office like a champ! She is kind, fearless, and is tackling the front wonderfully! Just wanted to say amazing job! – Lynne D.
- I just want to say that I knew I worked with a great team before but the way we have all pulled together during this crisis and have kept up with the many changes and challenges each day makes me proud to be a part of the Billing Team. Some are temporarily away, some are working from home and some are coming in for a few days a week. No matter how we’ve all chosen to do our part I can definitely say that I’ve never worked with a better bunch of people! You’re the best! – Diana B.
- Shout out to EVERYBODY– whether you are here, at home, furloughed or not. Whether you freaked out or stayed calm. You are all amazing. We are doing the best we can and doing it together. I hope you feel proud of yourself. – Alicia B.
- Thank you to our clinical “skeleton crew” at GCH for stepping up and getting the job done in this difficult time! You are all rock stars and I am very proud to be part of your team!! – Coreen T.
- Dr. Zent is an unflappable magical star! He was before, but I’m amazed at his gusto for helping patients and GSCH! I have honestly never seen him in a bad mood or not be helpful. – Alicia B.
- Cori M. offered to make a signup form for staff to help at screening tents, and within a few hours she stepped up to manage the entire staffing of the tents! – Margie W.
How Things Changed
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- Our two health care vans had to be taken off the road because they were too small to allow for six feet of separation between patients and providers. They were parked at Goodwin and Families First and became a place for providers to put on PPE before outdoor respiratory clinics.
- Dentists and hygienists had extra time in their schedules because they were only able to do emergency care for patients, so they staffed the new phone line that we added to answer patients’ COVID-19 questions.
- Every morning, staff received an email with a link to the Daily Attestation, where we had to attest that we did not have a fever or certain symptoms before coming in to work.
- Because we had to suspend many services, and visits were down, we lost a lot of revenue. About four dozen staff members took voluntary furloughs, to help offset the revenue losses, home-school or care for their children, or for other reasons.
- We stopped having evening and Saturday hours.
- Many of our services went entirely virtual or by phone, such as SOS Recovery, parent and family programs, WIC and CSFP.
- We learned how to provide telehealth visits almost overnight, and began using telehealth for many primary and pediatric visits, most behavioral health visits, and some emergency dental visits. A “robot” (tablet on a stand) assisted!
- When schools and child care centers closed statewide with very little notice, our Family Center staff provided child care for a few days for some employees’ children, until other plans could be made.
- SOS staff and the Medication Assisted Recovery team piloted mobile (community based) access to Medication Assisted Recovery. An SOS van was used to transport supplies and anchor a staging area, utilizing canopy tents, at the Dover Transit Station. Clinics were staffed with Certified Recovery Support Workers from SOS and an RN or MA from Greater Seacoast. A Wifi hotspot and computer tablets were used to connect the patients with an off-site provider. Behavioral Health providers were also accessible by telehealth.
Acts of Kindness & Support from the Community
- Flatbread Company of Portsmouth donated pizza for our staff to enjoy! Yummy potato, spinach and artichoke, caramelized onion and bacon, as well as more traditional cheese or pepperoni. The staff in the office at Families First much appreciated it. Thanks Flatbread!
- The kids at Farmington Elementary School made this video to say thank you to essential workers.
- Trader Joe’s donated bunches of flowers for staff in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Many individuals and organizations made cloth facemasks for us, including Seacoast Maskmakers and the Portsmouth Senior Center.
- As a federal elected official, Senator Maggie Hassan sent a message through Bi-State Primary Care Association to thank staff on the front lines. If you would appreciate hearing some words of thanks Senator Hassan, view the video.
- Crocs donated free … Crocs … for health care workers, and did not even charge for shipping!
Silver Linings & What I Hope Lasts
- I like the way people are so thoughtful about checking in with each other about how are really doing and are keeping in mind that other people might be going through something difficult that you may or may not know about. I hope we keep that going. – Margie W.
- I have always enjoyed taking walks with my dog, but I have developed a greater appreciation for these daily walks. It is often the only thing I do outside the house. It is the only reason I take off my slippers on some (many) days! I’ve noticed that there are more people outside walking around my town, and I think maybe we are all feeling more grateful for the simple joy of taking a walk. This is something that I hope will stay with me.
Patient/Client Stories and Comments
- I received a phone call from Families First just calling to “check in” with me and see how I was doing health-wise, financially, if I was getting enough food, so on and so forth. I am calling to tell you that I appreciated that so much. I am fine. I am in great health, and I still work full-time so I am fine but again … that was really something, that meant a lot to me to hear from Families First like that. I am proud and honored to be a part of the Families First program. Again, thank you very much for calling.
- Hi! I had to have an emergency tooth extraction yesterday. I just wanted to thank all the staff that helped me, during these trying times. That starts with the nice woman, working outside in a tent to pre-screen me in. Then to also thank Jocelyn, who admitted me and then Dawn, who roomed me and took my x-ray and than to Dr. Brian Cicero, who guided me through the decision process and successfully and painlessly extracted a very painful tooth and infected tooth! None of us wanted to be there, but their commitment and professionalism, really saved the day for me and I can’t thank them enough for all they did to help me, at a very difficult time to have a dental emergency!
- Having the responsibility of taking care of my family while navigating the uncharted waters of this pandemic has been stressful and overwhelming at times. Being able to rely on Families First’s virtual parenting groups as a way to connect to other parents and share frustrations and strategies has been a valuable resource for me and my family. These groups help me to stay focused on the positive. They reinforce my strengths as a parent and enable me to feel a sense of community in spite of remote learning and stay at home orders ~Kate
- I’m a 54-year-old disabled nana that one year ago took guardianship of my 5 grandchildren due to the drugs in the home and DCYF ready to put the children in foster care. … As we came into the month of March and the coronavirus hit my grandkids were once again disrupted in their routine. They are now home with Nana, Papa and auntie all day. … I have used Families First to the fullest and they have been such a huge help. They are part of my village taking care of this family. … I need all the advice that I get from other grandparents that have custody of their grandkids. … I have learned that everyone goes through hard times and they just want to give up. What we have to remember is that we are doing this for these babies, who have no one else. We do need to remember also that we ourselves need downtime. … My hour a week is my online grandparents meeting. I shut myself in my room and tell about my week to people that understand and give advice. I think without my groups right now I would be lost. You all have kept me going and given great advice to help through this crazy time in all our lives.
Messages from GSCH Donors & Community
The Development Team has been sending various appeals since this began, letting people and businesses know that we could use their support while we continue serving our community during this time. Some donors take the time to write a note when they send us checks and online gifts.
- Thank you for the great work you do for the community – Amy & Steven
- [We] wish your organization continued success in staying steadfast during these challenging times. On behalf of all of us, thank you for all that you do. Journey well! – Jo Ann, Newburyport Bank
- Thank you for all the community work you do! – Joann
- Thanks for your good work. – Sarah
- We recognize the importance of your organization’s efforts and applaud your hard work and commitment. – Tiffany, Bank of New Hampshire
- We are thinking of your staff and your clients and wishing all of you well. – Ed and Fran
- Thank you for the good work that you do. <3 – Susan
- We wish you the best as you care for those in need during this pandemic. – Debbie, Love and Justice team, Community Church of Durham
- Thank you for caring for our community. <3 – Denise
- THANK YOU!!! – Hannah
- Thank you for all you do! – Mary
- We are so happy to be of help. We thank you for all that you are doing for those in such need during these difficult times. We wish you all the best. – Cindy, Eastern Bank
- Love you guys. So grateful for your work and service every day! – Bernadette
- Thank you for all the work you do to support the community! – Catherine, Louis F. Clarizio Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center
- I appreciate all the work that you have had to do to adjust to this new reality in providing health services – it’s all a bit surreal and overwhelming – but the work you do, services you provide are essential and I am very honored to be able to support it. Please stay safe and well, thanks for all you do. Peace, Katie
- Thank you for all that you do. – Joan
- My son has depended on you in the past! – Ann
- Thanks for your important work! Be safe and take time to relax and do self-care! – Karolina
- Thanks for all you do and STAY SAFE. – Irene and Paul
- Thank you for continuing to provide life-saving resources to so many in recovery during this time of uncertainty. – Maria
- Thank you to the entire team at Greater Seacoast Community Health for all that you’re doing to support our most vulnerable neighbors during this unprecedented time. – Liz, Liberty Mutual Insurance
- Thank you for all the work you do for our community! – Judy
- So grateful that you are there. – James
- I am thinking about you all right now. I pray for your strength to get through this. – Constance
- So great that you are continuing to do everything you can to serve our community. Be safe, be healthy. Best wishes to the entire staff. – Madolyn
- Thank you for your service to the community. – Doug
- Keep up the good work. We have the utmost respect for the services you provide for so many people. – Dan and Joyce
Despite the Father’s Day 5K being cancelled, most sponsors agreed immediately to redirect their race sponsorship support to wherever the funds are most needed. Here are some of their comments.
- You are free to redirect Novocure’s sponsor donation into general support. We hope that this helps with your tremendous efforts. Please take good care. – Lori, Novocure
- Please, absolutely roll over our donation. Thank you all for your hard work in these very difficult times. You are so appreciated. Stay safe and well. – Melissa, Newburyport Bank
- Please use the funding as you see fit. These are unprecedented times. Take care! – Dawn, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
- Stay safe and appreciate all of your work on the seacoast during this time. – Justin, Digital Prospectors
- We absolutely understand and support your decision to cancel the Father’s Day 5K. We’re also in full support of you rolling over our sponsorship dollars to where they are most needed to help Greater Seacoast Community Health sustain in the coming months. We’re proud of our partnership and we’re of course so very appreciative of the vital services you provide for our shared communities, more than ever as we all navigate this uncertain time. – Rachel, Kennebunk Savings