Watermark Health opens a COVID-19 Testing Site
Updated: Sep 15, 2020
As Texas begins the process of opening back up businesses this weekend, Watermark Health continues to find ways to serve and bless the city.
New this Week- Testing for the Uninsured
Watermark Health is pleased to share that we have opened up a drive-through COVID-19 testing site on the Watermark Community Church Dallas campus, providing free testing for the uninsured. The COVID-19 tests are provided through a partnership between Watermark Urgent Care clinics and Questcare Medical Clinics, a division of Envision Physician Services. To use the testing site, a provider referral is required from one of the partner clinics.
As the novel strain of the coronavirus has continued to spread worldwide, it is clear that widespread testing availability will be a key part of providing the correct diagnosis, accurate public health information, as well as limiting the spread to uninfected individuals. We continue to see city officials and public health officials call for more testing sites. As DFW seeks to learn how to best open up services, testing will be a helpful component in understanding both the spread of the disease as well as which individuals are healthy. We also continue to have a talented staff and volunteer pool of medical and pastoral professionals. In short- there is a need, and we can help meet it. Not only will this site open up access to the general public, but it is also specifically service the uninsured community. All throughout scripture we see that God’s people are blessed to be a blessing. In this time of great need and uncertainty in our world, our ministry has been overwhelmingly blessed. We are excited by the opportunity to be a solution to both physical and spiritual needs. By revisiting the same partnership with Questcare that helped us launch our clinics 7 years ago, we’re able to open up this additional service to the community. In Jeremiah 29:7, the people of God are reminded to seek the welfare of the city they’re in. Opening a testing site for the insured and uninsured is just one way we’re able to do that during COVID-19.
How the Site will Work
Patients at the site are tested without ever leaving their cars, using a simple nasal swab. For people who have health insurance, the tests will be billed to their insurers; but for uninsured patients, the testing will be provided for by Watermark Health. Currently, 90 percent of the patients served by the two Watermark Urgent Care clinics do not have health insurance.
“Our main goal is to help those who otherwise could not access or afford COVID-19 testing,” says Christy Chermak, Executive Director of Watermark Health. “This site will be an extension of what we do every day at the clinics: providing quality medical and spiritual care to those who may have nowhere else to go.”
Dallas County offers two government-run drive-through testing locations, but those are located in central and south Dallas, and they have specific limits on who can be tested. The new Watermark drive-through site is in north Dallas, located near several neighborhoods that have high levels of uninsured residents, including many refugees.
Before being tested at the Watermark site, patients need a referral. This is not a financial barrier, explains Chermak, because anyone can conduct that visit with a provider at Watermark Urgent Care for free.
“The test, by itself, doesn’t provide any information other than ‘positive’ or ‘negative.’ A physician can determine whether a test is needed, explain the results, provide appropriate treatment options and advise the patient on how to protect others from infection.”
The COVID-19 testing and lab relationship is being managed by Questcare, which has partnered with Watermark Urgent Care since the first clinic opened seven years ago.
“They were the fuel behind the medical portion of almost everything we do,” says Chermak. “We definitely couldn’t do this without them. Partnering with their staff allows our team to focus our time and energy on leadership and ministry interactions, rather than testing logistics. They have multiple other drive-through sites for the insured around DFW. We trust their expertise and are grateful to meet this specific need alongside them.”
In addition to providing COVID-19 testing, the staff on site are also continuing to offer the same spiritual care and support that's been given through our two urgent care clinics since they've been open.
Samantha Parsons, Watermark Health Operations Director explains, "After being tested, we have a chance to talk with patients about what else is going on in their life. We offer to pray with them and get a chance to point them to resources and connections with the church. We've even been able to bless them with coffee and tea from the Watermark Coffee shop. We hope to provide the best testing experience possible. Right now, many people are anxious and worried about about their health. We can provide for their healthcare needs while also reminding them of their innate dignity, value, and worth."
Interested in Testing?
The Watermark drive-through testing site is currently open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is located at the Watermark Community Church Campus. For more information, including how to seek a provider referral (whether you are insured or not) so you can be tested, visit watermarkurgentcare.com/testing.
Wondering how you can help?
If you'd like to serve our staff and volunteers that are seeing patients at the clinic and testing site, one way to do that is through providing meals. Check out this link for details on how to do that.
Additionally, Watermark Health is covering the cost of uninsured patients. We need help to make that sustainable for our operating budget. You can help cover the $70 cost of an uninsured patient's lab test via North Texas Giving Day's special push this week. Scheduled giving is open now!
Pray with us that God would be glorified in this new endeavor!