乐动体育官方网站People sometimes ask, “What exactly is community health?” The story below is a reminder of the true power of what can happen when different members of the health neighborhood come together to serve our community.
Marco*, an immigrant from Mexico living in Colorado, was having difficulty controlling his blood pressure. His primary care provider ordered a kidney ultrasound to evaluate for any kidney problems that could be contributing to this high blood pressure. Unfortunately, the ultrasound showed a 5-centimeter mass in his left kidney. An MRI was done to better characterize the mass, and to the patient’s and his family’s dismay, the radiologist’s impression was that the mass appeared consistent with renal cell carcinoma.
Yes, Marco had what looked like cancer. That was the bad news. The good news was that it appeared the cancer was confined to the kidney and had not spread to the surrounding structures. A nephrectomy, the surgical removal of his cancerous kidney, would likely save his life. But there was one big challenge – Marco has no insurance.
His primary care provider (PCP) remembered attending an MCPN meeting where a radiation oncologist had spoken to the providers and informed them of wanting to partner with MCPN to provide cancer care to all the people in their shared community, even those who may be uninsured. Marco’s PCP recalled that this oncologist stated he would see all patients and would serve as the “quarterback” to help coordinate their cancer care.
Marco’s PCP referred him to the radiation oncologist, who immediately realized Marco needed to have his kidney removed. Fortunately, this doctor just happened to work closely with a urology group located in the same building as his practice. The urologist happily saw Marco and generously agreed to do his surgery pro bono.
The urologist’s team then reached out to a hospital to schedule the surgery. The hospital informed them that she could perform Marco’s surgery there; however, the cost would still require $10,000 up front. Unfortunately, that was not an option for Marco.
乐动体育官方网站The urologist then reached back out to MCPN’s Vice President of Community Health, Dr. David Nuhfer. MCPN leaders and the hospital leaders had been working closely together on a number of projects. They were able to connect and better understand Marco’s situation. Almost immediately, the hospital agreed to provide all hospital services for Marco’s surgery, free of charge!
乐动体育官方网站“I just spoke to Marco’s wife and confirmed everything with her. Words cannot express how grateful we are to you all for helping to care for our patient and his family. His wife was crying with gratitude,” Marco’s PCP shared via email.
乐动体育官方网站“It is not every day that we see this level of compassion expressed in such a tangible way,” shared the Chief Medical Officer of the hospital in which Marco’s surgery took place.
Marco had his surgery and thankfully it went just as planned, with no complications. Now it was time to wait for the pathology report to make sure the cancer had not spread. After a few short (but very long) days for Marco and his family, the pathology report returned. Clear margins! All the cancer was gone.
This collaborative effort demonstrates the very essence of community health. Health providers each care for the community in unique ways. Compassionate and personalized healthcare is only magnified when we come together to serve collectively. And best of all, Marco, a young husband and father, is now cancer-free.
*Marco’s name has been changed in this story.