Cleveland, OH,
11:04 AM

MetroHealth Screens Patients for Social Needs at COVID Vaccine Clinics


Relieved – that’s how patients often describe how they feel after their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. But for many, their worries and struggles extend well beyond the pandemic.

And we know because we’ve asked.

As patients are observed for any adverse reactions following their shots, the MetroHealth Institute for H.O.P.E.™ and volunteers from throughout the System have helped patients fill out quick surveys with questions like:

How hard is it for you to pay for basics like food, housing, medical care, and heating?

In a typical week, how many times do you talk on the phone with family, friends or neighbors?

Do you have internet access at home?

Has a lack of transportation kept you from meetings work, or getting things needed for daily living?

Research shows that 80% of a person’s health depends on factors beyond the hospital walls – needs like housing, food insecurity, social isolation, employment and the like. Over the last few years, MetroHealth has screened over 35,000 patients for their social needs, including more than 2,400 during the System’s recent COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

“The vaccine clinics have been a perfect opportunity to touch base with some of our most senior and most at-risk patients, and identify their needs beyond traditional medical care,” said James Misak, MD, Medical Director, with the MetroHealth Institute for H.O.P.E.™ “And for patients who need additional assistance, we’re able to connect them with the resources that can help them live their healthiest lives.”

MetroHealth makes those connections through Unite Ohio, a network of greater Cleveland organizations that can electronically send referrals to one another.

Take a patient who expresses a need for food. Through Unite Ohio, MetroHealth can send a direct referral Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Staff from the food bank then connects the individual with feeding programs in their area or helps them enroll in public benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“The COVID vaccine is a dose of hope for our patients, but some have other pressing needs, too” Dr. Misak added. “We’re looking for any way we can get them the support they need.”

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please click here. The current supply of vaccine is extremely limited. We are working rapidly and efficiently to ensure that we are able to vaccinate the community. 

About The MetroHealth System

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit