There are few things scarier than hearing you or a loved one may have cancer. When Trish had an abnormal screening mammogram out of the country, she knew she needed to take the proper steps to find out if she had breast cancer. This became complicated when Trish returned to Colorado, as she was uninsured. When she received a quote of $7500 for the diagnostic tests she needed, Trish was faced with the hard choice of either returning to South Africa for affordable care or risk going undiagnosed for breast cancer.
Like many of our patients, the reason Trish is uninsured is complex. She is at the age where she should qualify for Medicare. However Trish and her husband, Frank, are originally from Canada. Because they spent much of their life working in Canada and South Africa, they have not paid enough into Social Security to qualify for benefits. After being relocated by Frank’s former employer, they have built a life in Colorado and wish to settle here with their family.
乐动体育官方网站“All our kids and grandkids are here,” said Trish. “Because we can’t get medical coverage, we have to go across the world or gamble with our health? It’s not right.”
乐动体育官方网站Trish and Frank are true examples of what it looks like to fall through the cracks of the U.S. healthcare system. They have been ineligible for many forms of insurance or assistance due to their age, work quarter history, and income. Trish said she felt as though all of the doors were being closed on her as she searched for a way to get an affordable ultrasound and biopsy. That is until someone from Doctors Care opened the door to MCPN and our Patient Navigation team.
乐动体育官方网站Through our grant program with Komen, Trish received a diagnostic ultrasound. When that came back with suspicious results, she was able to receive a follow-up biopsy through the grant as well. Fortunately, Trish found out she was cancer-free and was able to attend her daughter’s wedding the following week without the weight of lofty medical bills or an undiagnosed status. Trish believes all of this is a testament to good karma.
“I used to run marathons and triathlons and I’ve helped raise thousands of dollars to the Komen Foundation,” Trish said. “Life comes full circle.”
乐动体育官方网站When asked what she would have done without MCPN, Trish stated emphatically that her only choice would have been to return to South Africa to access affordable care. She is eternally grateful to MCPN and our Patient Navigators, in particular Azza Hagel Agib and Natalie Schreffler, who helped guide her through the process of getting her diagnostic tests. Frank is also able to utilize MCPN’s sliding fee scale for his healthcare needs.
“Before we found out about MCPN, we paid for everything out of pocket,” Frank said. “Even going to the doctor just to get my prescription refilled was at least $100.”
Trish and Frank are currently working part-time to accrue enough quarters and qualify for Social Security benefits. They’ve estimated this could take another year. In the mean time, Trish and Frank are grateful that they can utilize our self-pay system to access quality medical and dental services at Pine Tree Health Center.
“We have found everyone at MCPN to be extremely professional and thorough,” Trish stated. “I feel very blessed that we managed to get here.”