Insurance Coverage is One Thing. Accessing that Care is Another.
Meet Nikki, who was referred to Young & Healthy by South Pasadena High School early this spring. Nikki is an 18-year-old foster youth who had a bad case of hives on the day she was referred. At the time, Nikki had full scope MediCal coverage….in San Bernardino County. Unfortunately, coverage in San Bernardino County is not helpful when a person is living in Los Angeles County and needs to access healthcare. Young & Healthy offered to assist with getting Nikki’s MediCal coverage transferred to Los Angeles County, but her family was already working with a social worker to get this done. In any case, this process takes time.
In the meantime, Nikki needed immediate help with her hive situation, so our case management team set her up with an appointment to see a doctor right away. Follow-up reports from the doctor suggested that Nikki had pelvic pain and needed to see a Gynecologist and that she could also benefit from seeing a Psychiatrist. Nikki already had a Psychiatrist coming to her home to lend assistance, but Young & Healthy was able to get Nikki an appointment to see a Gynecologist. After a pelvic ultrasound and physician visit, Nikki turned out to be just fine.
Now Nikki officially has MediCal insurance through Los Angeles County and is able to access care using that coverage. But what would have happened if she had not had Young & Healthy’s help in the interim? Nikki is not alone in her situation. It is not necessarily unusual for foster youth to need to wait for a change in insurance coverage when they move to a new county. Young & Healthy remains available to help these individuals so that they may obtain the care that they need.
Another Client Breathes a Little Easier
Twelve-year-old Julia suffers from asthma and allergies. Last month her mom came into Young & Healthy for help because Julia was running out of her asthma medication and the family had no insurance. Julia’s mom told us about she and her daughter having gone for a walk recently when Julia started to have problems breathing. Mom did not know what to do, other than to give Julia a few Ice Breaker mints and hope that it would help her breathing until they got home. Mom was under the impression that she did not qualify for MediCal due to her income and that was why her MediCal had been terminated. After a Young & Healthy case manager explained the income qualifications for MediCal with mom, she stated that she and her family should, indeed, qualify for MediCal. It was then that we offered mom assistance with applying for MediCal. In the meantime, we sent Julia to a walk-in clinic the next day and she received prescriptions for the needed asthma medication, which we helped her obtain. Additionally, we facilitated getting a second inhaler for Julia to have at school. Julia was then set up with an appointment to see Dr. Castro at the Huntington Hospital Asthma Clinic for follow-up. Julia is breathing better these days and her mom is thankful for Young & Healthy.
Step by Step Coordination of Care
A refugee family from Honduras was recently referred to us by a local church. Carmen, a single mother, has four children, two girls ages 11 and 5, and two boys ages 2 and 7 months. When we met the family, the two youngest children were sick and in need of immediate care, so we set up doctor appointments right away. It was then that the baby was diagnosed with an upper urinary tract infection, probably due to the fact that the family did not have the money for enough diapers. The baby was provided the necessary prescription. In the meantime, we also connected the family with Families in Transition at PUSD to help them enroll the two older children in school. Through this connection, Carmen learned about additional services available to her family, including obtaining some school supplies.
Young & Healthy assisted with transportation and helped Carmen connect with a local parent to aide her with translation and answers about basic living needs. We also facilitated the enrollment process for the young boys in the Head Start program and communicated back to the church regarding the family’s status. Our case management staff has coordinated physical examinations and immunizations for all of the children at this point, is working on enrolling the family in MediCal and continues to collaborate with community partners to better support this family overall. Step by step, we have been able to provide this family with the care they needed for a healthy immersion into their new home and community.
Mobile Dental Clinic 2019
Seven-year-old Keith doesn’t exactly love going to the dentist. In fact, he gets pretty scared. At a previous dental appointment he was so frightened, he fainted. Keith’s mom was understandably nervous about having him get treated at our Mobile Dental Clinic. The Young & Healthy team and the USC dentist did all they could to reassure them both. Mom knew her son desperately needed to see a dentist, so she nervously agreed to the treatment. The staff pulled all the stops to create a good experience for Keith.
Well, it worked! A text we received from mom said, “Thank you so much for everything you did for Keith. He made new friends with you and he really loves you guys.”
We are so glad Keith got his teeth all fixed, but we are happier still that he had a positive dental experience. It’s not just about teeth, it’s also about kindness and compassion.
Even if one person in a family begins a mindfulness practice…the whole family can benefit.
Paul, the father of kindergartner, Maxine, reported, “Last night, Maxine and I were getting frustrated with each other, like fathers and daughters do sometimes, and then Maxine suggested that we try to calm down by practicing some mindfulness together. She went and grabbed her heart pillow and had me lay down. She taught me how to use the pillow by placing it on my belly and watching it move up and down as I breathed. We quickly stopped being frustrated with one another and felt calmer because we were doing something relaxing together. We then used a meditation app on my cell phone so that we could keep practicing and relaxing. Maxine put headphones in my ears and I actually fell asleep. While I was sleeping, my younger son woke up from his nap crying. My wife said she saw him come over and put his hands over my ears so I could keep sleeping. The practice of mindfulness has been really helpful for all of us.”
Perhaps we should allow our children lead us! After just a few of Young & Healthy’s mindfulness classes, six-year-old Maxine is leading her family to calmness and connection. Let’s all take a long deep breath and say “Ahhhhhhhhh…!”