people as they try to go about their daily lives - with words of solidarity and speeches denouncing the horrors that play on loop with the headlines. But when the headlines change, and we take a closer look, we see that the systems have not changed and that the same horrors continue to be routine in the lives of so many of our neighbors.
In the past year, PCC has issued statements referring to our values of diversity and inclusion. Today, we once again re-affirm these beliefs. These are not hollow statements. They are deeply held values that guide our work in service to our community.
And yet we must do more.
Racism is a system - a structure - into which we are all socialized. Racism is not only the heinous acts of a few immoral individuals. It is also the biases held by the many, often unknowingly, within the social norms we have internalized. The biases cause onlookers to stand by and not intervene in the face of injustice. Bystanders are not innocent. In the face of injustice, bystanders are complicit.
PCC’s vision is for a strong, vibrant community that supports all people in achieving healthy lives. However, we cannot attain this vision in a racist society. The unjust killing and mass incarceration of black people is a visible, tragic and unacceptable result of racism. The policies that reinforce racism such as inequitable access to housing, education, healthcare and wealth have also created a less visible but profound tragedy – disparities in health and quality years of life.
PCC works to build partnerships and strengthening systems. However, we must break down the current system of racism that perpetrates injustice for black Americans – the unjust deaths, but also the slow and terrible burdens of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer mortalities and other poor health.
We join with our many partners in Montgomery County to stand for an anti-racist agenda. Together we can work to disrupt, then dismantle, and finally eliminate the structural racism that is still pervasive in our society and build safe, healthy lives for all. #BlackLivesMatter
Use the search box below to search for community resources in your area.
Resources for Our Neighbors:
COVID-19 General Information:
Click here for information on Montgomery County-provided testing: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/testing.htmlwww.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/testing.html
COVID-19 Symptoms - How can you tell if you have COVID-19?
The CDC identifies 11 main symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, and new loss of taste or smell. The CDC webpage offers a symptom checker tool, the “Coronavirus Self-Checker” here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
Not sure if your symptoms are caused by COVID-19 or seasonal allergies? The CDC also offers a chart of overlapping and distinct symptoms for each here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/infographic-overlap-symptoms.html
MedStar Health also provides a free coronavirus symptom checker and education tools for our community. Get started. https://clinic.prod-cv.prod.conversa.healthcare/l/gq-UmWX9IBEs9KZhAojqX4wXRXxswNdZYrvLt8nbuhk
Some confirmed patients who spoke to the Washington Post reported fatigue and headaches and plenty of worry. One of those patients is also an infectious disease expert, and his advice is worth remembering: “Stay calm. Monitor yourself. The number one thing to keep an eye on is breathing. If it becomes difficult to breathe, you should really get to a facility.” (Note: Call the facility before you go!) Others felt fine throughout and would not have known they were sick if they had not been tested.
Clients of Montgomery Cares Clinics please note:
Rental Assistance and Eviction Prevention
If you are behind on rent, get assistance before you receive an eviction notice. Montgomery County offers renter supports; click here for more information: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DHCA/covid-19/eviction_process_and_renters.html
The County is accepting applications for its rental relief program, which offers up to $4,000 toward rent for qualified households. You do not need to have a formal lease to qualify. Click here for more information in multiple languages: https://montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS/RightNav/COVID19_RentReliefProgram.html
Remember, your landlord CANNOT evict you without a court order. If you receive an eviction or court notice, call Maryland Legal Aid (240-314-0373). They will help you understand the legal process and how you may be able to avoid eviction.
The Montgomery County Housing Stabilization Service can help talk through your options if you're about to lose your current housing. Call them at 311 or (240-777-0311).
Montgomery County residents can call 311 and ask for the Food Access call center.
Meals for Children EMERGENCY CLOSURE MEALS SERVICE FOR MCPS STUDENTS. Meals will be provided in a Grab-and-Go format and will be available Mon - Fri 11 a.m.–1 p.m. For up to date information and list of locations please visit https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/reopening/meals/
Montgomery County Food Council
Manna Food Center (Manna) is temporarily waiving income requirements to provide food to any Montgomery County resident impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Residents are encouraged to contact Manna as soon as possible to begin receiving food through regular distribution channels. Visit their food distribution page to see updated site locations & schedules: https://www.mannafood.org/about/contact-manna/manna-food-distribution-sites/
Ride On schedules were updated at the end of September, and the new FLASH line is now running on US Route 29. Check schedules here: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dot-transit/routesandschedules/rideonroutes.html
Remember, face coverings are required on public transit!
Mental Health Resources
SAMHSA Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19
The Montgomery County Family Justice Center (FJC) remains open throughout the pandemic and continues to provide services. The FJC can be reached by telephone at 240-773-0444 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Montgomery County Crisis Center is open 24/7 and can be reached at 240-777-4000.
Senior Call Check Program for Residents 65+ Register to receive informational phone updates and check Ins:
Advance Care Planning and COVID-19: Who Will Speak for You?
Voice Your Choice is a community-based program of the Nexus Montgomery Regional Partnership led by the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA). The program offers free trainings and webinars that provide a step-by-step process to support patients in identifying a health care agent and completing a plan to make their wishes known, in advance of a health care crisis.
During a health care crisis, it is critical to have an advance care plan. An advance care plan allows patients to control the health care they receive if they are unable to speak for themselves and names the person who will ensure their wishes are carried out.
Patients who have a proactive conversation with family and their health care providers about their health care values and wishes before an emergency happens can help alleviate the significant stress that comes from making uninformed choices.
Voice Your Choice provides access to an easy-to-use, free online tool for community members to complete an advance care plan, which is available to providers during an emergency.
Free webinars and trainings are available for community members to learn about the importance of completing an advance care plan and provides them with the tools to facilitate their own trainings.
For more information about advance care planning and completing an advance care plan, please visit VoiceYourChoice.org.
On Monday, in a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court of the United States cleared the way for revisions to the so-called Public Charge Rule to go forward. This ruling will allow revised regulations to go into effect that significantly alter significantly altering the 'public charge test' by expanding the definition of a 'public charge' to encompass a much wider array of federal benefit programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The changes(?) were released in August 2019 and have been challenged in the courts. The Supreme Court decision on Monday enables the regulations to go into effect.
In response, Leslie Graham, President and CEO of the Primary Care Coalition (PCC), released the following statement:
As an advocate for health-equity in a community where more than a third of residents are foreign-born the Primary Care Coalition (PCC) recognizes how decisions related to current and future immigration status are critical decisions for many households. Immigration status is a social determinant of health. Achieving an immigration status that brings residents closer to legal permanent residence or citizenship is often a gateway to greater socio-economic stability and long-term wellbeing. For those people affected, this ruling forces an impossible choice between accessing services and supports they may need today and the future stability that comes with permanent residence or citizenship.
As problematic as the new regulations will be for those groups affected, there are many exemptions: refugees, asylum applicants, immigrants from certain countries who have been granted relief and certain visa statuses are all exempt. Sadly, leaked versions of the rule and the overall technical complexity of the regulation have created a sense of fear and confusion among community members, effectively deterring people from accessing needed and available services, even if their U.S. residency applications would not be impacted.
Since the first versions of the revised regulation were leaked over a year ago, PCC has monitored changes in patient behavior. We've seen numerous cases of people being fearful to interact with the health care system; not wanting to apply for benefits for their U.S. born children; and, not wanting to remain engaged with locally funded programs even though these local programs are not included in public charge determinations. These fears are not about the text of the ruling itself but the overall environment of fear and confusion that has been created around the Public Charge rule.
As a community, we must respond to this issue by equipping residents with information and support in interpreting the ruling so they can make informed decisions based on their specific circumstances. We must also work to mitigate the mistrust and fear of interacting with government offices which is making it hard for people to access not only the federal benefits for which they are legally eligible, but also locally funded programs.
Local governments often develop programs to fill the gaps where federal programs fall short. Montgomery County has been a leader in providing access to health services for people ineligible for any other programs through the Montgomery Cares and Care for Kids program, which PCC proudly administers. These programs have been, and continue to be, an option for people who are not eligible for Medicaid. Yet in this climate of fear and uncertainty residents may understandably avoid interacting with government agencies to access benefits. Local governments, nonprofit organizations, faith communities, and other community organizations must work as partners to reach, educate, and sustain trust with foreign born residents.
The Primary Care Coalition (PCC) upholds the principles of diversity, inclusion, and respect for people from all cultures and backgrounds and recognizes that these values are directly related to the health of every individual and the health of the community as a whole. We look forward to collaborating with the local government, other community-based organizations, and the residents we serve to reclaim a sense of trust between our immigrant neighbors and the public and private institutions that serve them.
Who is Affected?
Who is Affected
October 15, 2019 9:00 AM to Noon
Silver Spring Civic Building
1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Aseem Nigam, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs provided opening remarks. Two panels of health and housing experts discussed the policy and funding environment needed to support strategic actionable links between housing and health systems.
Making health happen takes a concerted effort by people at all points in the health care safety-net system. Without their work, our neighbors experiencing vulnerability wouldn't be able to receive the care they need. On April 18, 2019, the PCC partnered with Story District to bring to the stage the real life stories of the people who weave our health safety net. This event was about celebrating their achievements and hearing who their work has touched the lives of the people who provide services and those who receive them. Event proceeds went to support PCC's Project Access program, which provides specialty care for low-income, uninsured patients.
Fiscal year 2018 marks the eleventh year that the Primary Care Coalition has published selected annual measures of clinical performance among clinics participating in Montgomery Cares. Emphasis on quality, guided by a robust clinical measure set, has resulted in consistent and sustained improvement in clinical quality over the past decade. Nationally endorsed measures and technical specifications are used, and Montgomery Cares performance is benchmarked against HEDIS results (Healthcare Effectiveness and Data Information Set).
Nonprofit organizations play an essential role in helping communities thrive. Here in Montgomery County, the local government and nonprofit community have enjoyed a history of partnership. Over the past 18-months, the Primary Care Coalition has collaborated with Nonprofit Montgomery, WorkSource Montgomery and the Montgomery County Food Council to convene a series of four community roundtable meetings to discuss how we can achieve even greater impact by collaborating more effectively. The product of these exchanges was the creation of a vision document that presents a new outlook for how nonprofits and government can continue to work together to make Montgomery County a place where all residence can thrive.
The vision document, which was unveiled at an event on January 31, has been endorsed by nearly 50 nonprofit organizations.
The reports from two community roundtable meetings that informed the New Vision for Nonprofit and Government Collaboration can be downloaded at the links below.
For 25 years the Primary Care Coalition has been "making health happen." On November 28th we celebrated our 25th Anniversary with a day-long conference featuring an esteemed line up of esteemed speakers. We were pleased to welcome 150 participants and present a compelling program designed to share information, spark conversation, and inspire action to create more equitable health outcomes in our community.
Disparities in health outcomes are often the result of inequitable socio-economic circumstances. The PCC works to support all people in leading healthy lives with the recognition that people who experience racial, gender, and other inequities are likely to experience poorer health outcomes. This conference explored the many different ways health inequities are apparent in our health care system and how to lift up opportunities to create more equitable, person-centered systems and culture of care delivery.
(Silver Spring, Maryland) – In October 2017 the Tree House formally separated from the Primary Care Coalition (PCC), which had served as its fiscal agent since the late 1990’s. The Tree House is now incorporated as a new nonprofit under the name The Tree House Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County MD.
Welcome to the Primary Care Coalition News Room. All media inquiries can be directed to Hillery Tsumba, Director, Strategy and External Affairs at
The Primary Care Coalition is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Donations to PCC are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
A copy of our current financial statement is available by contacting the primary care coalition.