New Advisory Board Member

Checking In

Good morning, I hope this email finds you doing well, relatively speaking. With all of the stress surrounding us, please take time to care for your mental, physical, spiritual and social wellbeing. Go outside, find an online exercise class, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, attend a virtual church service or other source of spiritual inspiration, and check in with family, friends and neighbors.Dr. Mark Malone I’m happy to announce that we have a new Advisory Board member, Dr. Mark Malone. Mark leads the Advanced Pain Care team, is a champion for veterans’ health and has been supporting Samaritan Center for the past couple of years. Welcome, Mark! This is certainly not the way I envisioned 2020 unfolding when we met in February to discuss strategic initiatives. The COVID-19 pandemic and related economic crisis has caused some shift in our priorities, but we are still moving forward. On March 19 we closed our doors and began offering all services through a secure telehealth platform, with staff working from home. It has been challenging, but things are going well.

First Responders

Plans for bringing First Responders into our Hope for Heroes program are advancing. We have a new agreement with Austin Police Department to provide free counseling services to sworn officers and their family members through 2020. APD received some funding for mental health services, and we are pleased that we will be providing services for them. Also, we are offering free services to Austin EMS while we have extra capacity to do so. Chief Rodriquez and I are communicating about how to make this a successful program. We are looking for funding so that this can be more than a short-term offering. In partnership with Georgetown Health Foundation, we are offering free services to all law  enforcement first responders, medical personnel and frontline non-profit workers who are providing food, childcare, and other basic needs in Georgetown during the COVID-19 crisis.

Veterans and Military Families

We have created several virtual therapy groups for veterans and their spouses, and our Tai chi and Pilates classes are now online, as well. If you would like copies of flyers for these groups to share with your networks, please let me know.

Community Programs

Although we had to cancel a March 30 community meeting in Dripping Springs, due to shelter in place, we are making headway in our plans to open an office there, after receiving a lot of support from the community and the school district. Our plan to consolidate Williamson County satellites into a single “hub” office in Georgetown is also moving along. Georgetown Health Foundation has presented a possible solution with office space in the strip mall that they own, which includes Lone Star Circle of Care. So, things are going well, considering the circumstances. Unfortunately, we are experiencing reduced revenues and anticipate more losses this year, related to the economic crisis our community is experiencing. We did receive a Paycheck Protection Plan loan, which provides funding for salaries and occupancy for 8 weeks, and we continue exploring other financial relief opportunities. As you have likely heard, experts predict a mental health crisis linked to the pandemic and high unemployment rates. Sadly, we are seeing increased substance abuse, domestic violence and suicides. Our work has never been so important, and we will need additional resources to meet the needs of our community. Thank you for your continued support and for helping us promote our work. Please contact me with any questions, concerns or ideas. With gratitude, Cindy Long, CEO [contact-form][contact-field label='Do you have questions or comments for Cindy?' type='textarea' required='1'/][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][/contact-form]