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

The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.

The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.

Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.

The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.

For more information, visit