“They Don’t Have Food, Period. Let Alone Healthy Options.” How Covid-19 Has Impacted Chronic Disease Care.

With more than 51 million Americans filing for unemployment since mid-March, the financial fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic has made managing chronic disease an afterthought for some, and an impossibility for others.

Lacking adequate resources, many are struggling to maintain their medical regimens, which often involve produce-rich diets and regular purchases of prescription medication.

“We definitely are seeing a number of patients who are really just barely getting by,” says Dr. Mary Herbert, the clinical director of the Birmingham Free Clinic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Herbert treats patients with chronic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. She says many of her patients are forgoing care to attend to more immediate needs, such as paying the rent or feeding their families. Others have been unable to pick up their prescriptions because they can’t afford the cost of transportation.

On this episode of the podcast, we speak with Dr. Herbert and other healthcare providers about how the financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are affecting patients’ ability to manage their chronic conditions.

Grace Medical Home received a Continuity in Care grant from a joint initiative between Direct Relief, BD, and the National Association for Free and Charitable Clinics. Since 2008, Direct Relief has provided $373.8 million in medical support to 863 free and charitable clinics, and has also provided more than $2 million in emergency grants and funding focused on chronic disease management.