One of the newest members of the Canby community, Neurotherapeutic Pediatric Therapies, finished its extensive renovation at the former Grand Central Station restaurant downtown and opened its doors in September 2019 — only to close them six months later when the coronavirus struck.
Since then, the nonprofit provider has pivoted to a primarily telehealth-based model for its many clinics across the state — including Canby. Though in-person visits in some areas were able to resume in May for occupational and physical therapy — speech therapy, mental health and other services have remained strictly virtual.
The landscape has changed dramatically, Marketing and Development Director Melissa Youd says, but the needs are no less than they were when Neuro opted to bring a clinic to this area in 2019 — specifically because of its severe lack of pediatric therapy services.
“I mean, just think back to the first conversation we had with the Canby Now Podcast and the reasons why we opened the Canby location,” Youd says. “Community-based services were extremely limited in Canby and surrounding areas long before the pandemic hit. The Covid-19 pandemic exposes the fragile state of our health care and behavioral health system, specifically in underserved areas.”
The move to telehealth was not a seamless transition, Youd admitted, and many of the more than 90 families the Canby clinic serves were deeply impacted.
“When we closed and were required to move to telehealth, 60 percent of our clients were not able to access any services,” she says. “Multiple factors contributed to this percentage, but the fact is that the shutdown impacted over half of our Canby families.”
Now that some in-person appointments have resumed, the clinic is able to serve about 75 percent of its clientele through traditional visits or telehealth. However, that leaves 25 percent of families who were being seen before the Covid shutdown that are still not able to access any services through Neuro.
“As a community, we must acknowledge that the need for mental health support and services will only continue to increase in the coming months,” Youd says. “Now more than ever, there is a critical need for equitable services, especially in our underserved communities.”
The pandemic has also brought unprecedented financial challenges to many local families, with record unemployment and other difficulties that have beset virtually every segment of the economy. Some families have no longer been able to access services due to cost or uncertainty related to their insurance coverage.
To that end, the nonprofit established the Covid-19 Response Fund, which provides full and partial scholarships to families whose ability to pay has been impacted by the economic crisis.
“We are primarily concerned with our families’ ability to access care during and immediately after this crisis and how we can continue to meet their health needs over the long term,” she says. “Breaking down barriers to care is a core value of Neuro.”
Canby has been a huge supporter of the fund thus far, Youd says, and has helped the nonprofit raise over $24,000 of its $30,000 goal.
“The generosity of the Canby community is truly unique and we are so thankful for the partnerships already built in this past year,” she says. “But we are in need of more partners who will join us and support our efforts to meet the needs of our most vulnerable community members.”
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