John and Mary remain busy with Health Ministry clients. They continue to follow up with people who have sought them out and have had new clients referred to them from primary care facilities around town.
Their work exposes the limits of the health care that is available to impoverished people in the United States. Medications require extra levels of approval, specialists’ instructions are difficult to understand, clinics are located all across town, doctors’ orders are impossible to keep while living on the street. When individuals do not get the care they need, when they cannot get transportation to the clinics and pharmacies who will help, when they are intimidated by the system, they live with their illnesses while their problems are compounded until they are hospitalized, costing everyone a great deal of money.
The Health Ministry works to intervene, monitoring health conditions, providing transportation so people are able to keep their appointments, and following up. Here are a few stories to illustrate the needs met:
We’ve helped one client find a new Primary Care Provider and establish care. At the first appointment, we advocated for this client, who has been experiencing significant symptoms that have not been relieved by medications and other means. The doctor,
patient, and health minister came up with a plan to refer the patient to a new kind of therapy. We have already taken the client to the first therapy appointment, and are seeing promising preliminary results. While all of this was going on, we were also making sure the client had transportation to see his specialists and to the pharmacy to make sure he has the medications he needs.
One new client was recently released from incarceration and had a plethora of health care needs. We helped him establish care with a Primary Care Provider, transported him to his appointments, helped him fill his many new prescriptions, and advocated for him with the pharmacy and insurance company.
Another regular client is a homeless individual who uses our transportation and advocacy services regularly. His doctor ordered a particular kind of medical monitoring that was complicated by his situation of living in a homeless shelter. The Health Ministry not only provided transportation, but coordinated between the doctor’s office, monitoring center, and homeless shelter to ensure that the monitoring could be done effectively with the least disruption to the client or the shelter.
With the changing weather come sniffles, sneezes, and allergies to add into the mix of the usual scratches, bug bites, and other minor ailments we see regularly. The Health Ministry has a limited supply of donated items to help give people a little relief from these discomforts. They are small things, but to the people suffering, they make a huge difference.
Our screenings on Monday mornings have been busy, too. Over the summer, we identified two individuals with dangerously high blood pressure and transported them to the ER. Who knows how long they were walking around with this condition that could have led to a heart attack, stroke, or other major health problem. Just this week, we had a client showing symptoms that were very concerning, so we transported him to the ER, where they admitted him to the hospital and got his condition under control in about 48 hours.