(WTNH) – The Secretary of Health and Human Services is spending the day in Connecticut. He is heading to Waterbury to talk about reproductive rights, but he began the day in Norwich touring United Communities and Family Services. It’s a community health agency with 400 staff serving 16,000 patients.

Secretary Xavier Becerra asked questions and listened a lot at the roundtable discussion. The UCFS staff talked about what they had to do to care for all those patients who were suddenly stuck at home during the pandemic. With hospitals overwhelmed and people nervous about coming to them, telemedicine was suddenly very important.

“They were afraid to go out, they were afraid to be in the community, and so this was a huge thing for them,” said Amy Weidner, APRN, Lead Nurse Practitioner for UCFS. “We could keep our eye on them, we could keep medication going.”

But when it comes to making sure the community’s children are healthy, remote learning meant losing the help of educators acting as an extra set of eyes checking on them.

“Clinicians have gotten to see these kids who kind of went dark during Covid and having to do remote work,” said Deberey Hinchey, UCFS’s Vice President of Behavioral Health.

Of special interest to the Secretary, no doubt, was the fact that UCFS got more than $3 million in federal funding and is using some of that to build a new clinic.