Community Health Centers Bring Comfort to Cook County’s Most Vulnerable During COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Published On  Apr 21, 2020

CHICAGO— It is an unprecedented time for Chicago communities. We’re all being asked to do our part – stay at home, shelter in place. However, in a time where social isolation is considered a public service – how can we ensure those already isolated are still taken care of?

Some of Cook County’s most vulnerable residents are thankful for their community-based care teams during this fearful time.

Members of Medical Home Network ACO (MHN ACO) are doing proactive outreach to patients most at risk of COVID-19. This includes patients who have been identified as “socially isolated” meaning they live alone, are homeless, or do not have a close friend or family member to care for them if needed.

Comprised of 10 Federally Qualified Health Centers and 3 health systems, care teams at MHN ACO member clinics, like Esperanza Health Centers, are reaching out high risk patients to do wellness checks – screening for COVID-19 symptoms and ensuring they have the supplies they need, like food and prescription medications – while under Governor Pritzker’s Shelter in Place order.

But equally as important, care teams are providing a welcoming, friendly voice for Chicago’s most vulnerable.

“Patients are appreciative of the outreach,” said Sonia Ayala, a Care Manager at Esperanza Health Centers. “Many of them live alone so they really enjoy the phone contact. I’ve heard a lot of ‘thank you for thinking of me.’”

Of the 120,000 Medicaid patients receiving care from MHN ACO, more than 15,000 were identified as socially isolated in Cook County – including 368 who said they were homeless, 5,500 who lived alone, and 10,000 who indicated they had no close friends or family who would care for them if they became sick.

“While we need to socially isolate for the sake of public health, we are also aware of the negative impact loneliness can have on physical and mental well-being – especially with older adults,” said Cheryl Lulias, President and CEO of Medical Home Network. “Now is the time when a phone call from a familiar voice and trusted care team member can really make a difference.”

“Hearing patients express gratitude that they don’t have to leave the house to receive the information or resources they need shows the impact we are making,” said Ayala.


About Medical Home Network

Medical Home Network is transforming health care delivery for Medicaid patients by fostering collaboration and innovation. Our proven model of care unites communities of providers and patients around a common goal: To redesign health care delivery and transform the way care is delivered and managed, resulting in improved patient care, lower costs and better health in the communities we serve. MHN can be found online at and on LinkedIn at


About Medical Home Network Accountable Care Organization

Medical Home Network Accountable Care Organization (MHN ACO) is a provider-owned and driven approach to patient-centered healthcare delivery and population health management for Medicaid patients. Our members include ten Federally Qualified Health Centers, three Hospital Systems, and their Physician Practices. Within our ACO we strive to create a different kind of culture – one that includes shared decision-making and is focused on change, innovation, collaboration and delivery improvement for all our member/owners. For more information, visit