DADE CITY, Fla. -- Premier Community HealthCare recently learned it was awarded $1.4 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security -- or CARES -- Act funding. 

  • Premier Community HealthCare was awarded $1.4 million in CARES Act funds
  • Funds will go towards telehealth service, PPE, and coronavirus testing
  • COVID-19 has led to sharp drops in patient volume, revenue

"The CARES funding was absolutely necessary, and if this continues, if the pandemic continues the way it is, we will have to look at additional sources of revenue," said Premier CEO Joey Resnick. 

Premier offers a range of primary care and dental services at its ten locations across Pasco and Hernando Counties. While all insurances are accepted, Resnick said the clinics are meant to help medically underserved populations regardless of their ability to pay. Resnick said 45 percent of its patients in 2019 were uninsured and 41 percent were on Medicaid. 

So far, the biggest COVID-19-related impact to the clinics has been on patient volume. Resnick said a big hit came after Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order temporarily putting a stop to any non-emergency dental procedures.

"With the stroke of a pen, we lost around 75 percent to 80 percent of our volume," he said. "Due to that, unfortunately, we had to furlough 25 of our staff."

Resnick said Premier has also seen patient traffic decrease by 40 percent to 50 across its primary care services, and about $500,000 a month in revenue is being lost. CARES funding will go towards Premier's telehealth service, and coronavirus testing. Resnick said right now, it's what's keeping the doors open.

"Community health centers are really a brotherhood/sisterhood. It is a tight knit group. We all have the same missin, and there are some that are struggling, that have closed their doors because of this," he said. "That's the fear. We are the safety net for primary care. So, if we have to close our doors, what's the impact of that?"

If restrictions remain as they are, Resnick said Premier may have to look at reducing staff and consolidating locations.