Central Outreach’s main mission is still being a resource for care for underserved populations, particularly the LGBTQIA and HIV+ communities, and that continued in 2020. They saw and provided care for 1,459 trans and nonbinary patients, and 816 HIV+ patients, offering them all the competent care they deserve. And this extends past simply the people that Central Outreach sees in its different clinics. In 2020, they also launched their Street Outreach Program, offering care to those that don’t feel comfortable receiving it in a hospital or formal medical setting.
This drive to serve these communities delivers tangible results as well. Central Outreach provided 6,700 STI screens in 2020, all made available for free. They also extended past HIV treatment to HIV prevention, having 2,100 patients on PrEP during the year. To further this goal, Central Outreach hired a PrEP navigator to engage high risk individuals and connect them with their care. These measures to prevent STIs continued with curing 1,070 people of Hep-C throughout 2020, the product of testing 3,224 people across 104 different facilities.
Of course, with 2020 came extreme change, and Central Outreach responded by expanding and facing these new challenges. This started with their Aliquippa Satellite office, which opened in December 2019. This office now sees 15% of all new patients. Additionally, Central Outreach has opened another new location to expand their reach, this time in Erie, PA.
The biggest challenge of the year, however, was COVID-19. As the pandemic hit Western Pennsylvania, Central Outreach was at the forefront of COVID testing in the area. They quickly established the first drive-thru testing site at the Pittsburgh Zoo, and added two more testing sites at Central Outreach locations. In total, they provided 4,600 COVID-19 tests, with 40% being administered in March and April, providing a crucial stop-gap for the area’s large health organizations to set up their own procedures and sites.
So what does 2021 bring for Central Outreach? Well, more of the same mission and focus, with the desire to further expand and grow that mission to serve as many residents of Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio as possible. As Dr. Lane has said, “It’s our job to do our best to decrease those health disparities to our own community.” Central Outreach will continue to fight for their patients in 2021, to ensure the care they deserve, and will continue to expand these services so that no one in any community faces barriers to health care.
Central Outreach Wellness Center. 127 Anderson St. Suite 101, North Shore; 95 Leonard Ave Suite 203, Washington; 2360 Hospital Drive Upper Suite 1, Aliquippa; 3104 State Street, Erie, PA 16508. centraloutreach.com