As you know, this week we’re celebrating National Health Center Week by focusing on some of the reasons Community Health Centers (CHCs) are important pieces of the health care safety net in the United States and Colorado. CHCs would not be able to make the impact they do without the amazing people who work at them.
One impressive staff member is Patient Navigator Erin Feuerhaken, who works at Peak Vista Community Health Centers in Colorado Springs.
When Peak Vista staff recognized that a community member, Ms. V, was ending up in a hospital emergency room on more than one occasion for uncontrolled Type II diabetes, Erin took the initiative to learn why. Although the patient’s doctor had told Ms. V that she would be able to live life with minimal restrictions if she visited a doctor for consistent monitoring, she did not have a reliable vehicle, and did not feel comfortable taking public transportation. Because of this she was missing appointments and was unable to take control of her health.
What may have been an insurmountable barrier to some was a small hurdle for Patient Navigator, Erin, to puzzle out. She took the time to show Ms. V how to ride the bus to her necessary medical appointments, and even rode the bus alongside Ms. V several times to help her feel more comfortable with public transportation and the bus routes.
Today Ms. V’s physical health is much improved and her quality of life is better than ever. She now feels comfortable riding the city bus to her regular medical appointments where her diabetes is checked regularly and controlled.
We are proud of the employees of all 15 CHCs in Colorado, and this is just one demonstration of their excellent and devoted work. By working as a team, employees of CHCs are able to offer patients excellent, high quality health care that does not stop at the clinic door step.