Marking a Milestone in the Fight Against Covid
For over 40 years, JoEllen Embry has served the people of Arizona as a nurse practitioner and in 2020 rose to the challenge with the support of her team to attack the COVID-19 pandemic head on. Since then, Embry Health has served almost 2 million people and administered more than 3.1 million tests to patients who’ve returned to Embry for testing because of the expertise and convenience Embry provides.
“I’ve always been passionate about helping people,” says JoEllen Embry, co-founder of Embry Health. “I started my career caring for women and their unique health needs. When the pandemic hit, I knew it was time for our team at Embry Health to act, provide easy access to testing, and to ultimately save lives.”
And that’s exactly what her team has done. With every new strain, the demand increases. So much so that Embry Health, which already employs more than 1,000 people and is the largest testing provider in the state, increased its staff by almost 50% to meet that demand and make the testing process as easy and seamless as possible for the millions of people who rely on them.
“We are doing everything we can to stop the spread of the virus and help our community,” says Embry. “We have 100 testing sites in the state and needed to hire more people to help us handle this unprecedented demand. The more people we have on-site, the better and faster the testing experience is for all patients.”
JoEllen Embry and her team at Embry Health even kept nine centers open on Christmas day for testing and has two large testing centers open 24-hours a day. Embry Health partners with Maricopa County Community Colleges, multiple school districts, and local businesses to provide testing on a large scale for students, parents, and employees. More proof of the demand and need for testing: 300,000 appointments have already been scheduled over a 10-day period for people wanting a Covid test – – whether for health concerns, travel requirements or just peace of mind.
However, contributing to the safety of the community is no small task – – from the logistics of the testing sites to notifying patients of their Covid status within hours. When much larger entities were scrambling to figure out how to help the Arizona public with accessibility to testing, JoEllen’s desire to make an impact and provide access to testing created one of the first and most robust testing approaches within the state.
Like nearly every healthcare institution that has chosen to provide testing, the first nine months of the pandemic not only involved a healthcare crisis, but changes to processes, billing requirements, and codes from insurance companies, operational challenges, new governmental directives, and other unexpected hurdles related to lab availability. With each change, Embry Health has pivoted and admitted to any missteps related to billing (less than 20% of total billings) and identified and changed the process with full transparency to the insurance institutions. In addition, Embry has spent millions in building new technology to better handle the continued complexities in billing for Covid related services, all while providing excellent patient care.
Not only have JoEllen and her team at Embry Health given back to the community through health services, they have also donated more than $400,000 to over 20 charities and disaster relief efforts including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix PRIDE, Wings for Warriors, Toys for Tots, and are continuing to look for ways to serve the underserved.
Without JoEllen and her team at Embry Health being available to test tens of thousands of people daily, Arizona could face a real healthcare emergency