WACO, TX — Unlike many businesses that have gone through employee furloughs and terminations, Waco Family Medicine (WFM) has done the opposite. They've successfully worked to retain all employees through this very trying time.
WFM has 570 employees and with their size, they did not qualify for PPP funding, like many they saw significant revenue loss over the last year. However, with grant funding, philanthropy, diligent clinical work and other innovations WFM worked through a pandemic.
WFM has taken on many new roles in this pandemic, one of them being a key contributor to COVID-19 information and help.
"The way that we were able to retain our employees and not cut any hours is doing our part in strategic leadership, some federal leave funds to help offsets we had financially, some grant funding and community contributions made retaining staff a big possibility," Chief of Staff, Fernando Arroyo said.
Arroyo joined WFM right before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Being scared about the unknown for WFM and its employees he said is an understatement.
"There were a lot of moments where we could have made a number of different choices, but we were humbled by the support we received."
Support like homemade mask donations and government funding are just a few things the WFM greatly appreciated and kept them going through this time.
Partnering with other city organizations like the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District and participating in weekly to monthly virtual COVID-19 conferences.
"The key to winning the battle against COVID is that we do it as a community, Waco Family Medicine has been so great they've been doing [COVID-19] testing on a regular basis, from the begging to their patients and the community," Kelly Craine said with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District.
The Health District and WFM have worked closely for years, Craine said it's important to have a relationship with organizations like WFM when everyone is in need.
"Taking in people who didn't have a doctor, or didn't know where to go they were encouraging people to come to Family Medicine," Craine said.
One of the many patients at WFM is Kayla Douglas, she's been a patient for 10 years. Now pregnant, in a pandemic, she was worried about what appointments might be like at WFM. Thankfully, there was no change.
"They are amazing and really good, they care about their patients, they really do," Douglas said.
She needed to swing by for a few questions but didn't have an appointment scheduled, where some places might take days or weeks to see a doctor Douglas just stopped by.
"I didn't even have an appointment and they fit me right in," Douglas said.
With a fully staffed health center patients like Douglas can have the care and access they need when they need it.
WFM has provided COVID testing, vaccines and much more during this time. With grant funding, WFM has been there.
"We had to pivot and figure out different ways to be able to make sure that patients have what they needed that they were able to get their needs met," Arroyo said.