Delta Health Alliance Clinics by Karen Matthews
Delta Health Alliance operates clinics for uninsured and underinsured patients in Greenville, Greenwood, Belzoni, and Indianola. These clinics also feature “patient navigators”, staff who work with individual patients to help them understand medications, treatment options, and responsibilities of the patient when they are not seeing a health care professional. We had one patient recently who came to a clinic and with an initial blood pressure of 190/110 an A1c test of 11.0 (>9.0 is considered very risky and very diabetic). The patient told our clinic staff that no one had ever told her that she needed insulin. The patient reported great difficulties with purchasing medications, so the patient navigator assisted her in applying for pharmaceutical assistance for her diabetes and blood pressure medicine. The patient was referred to the Dietician for intense dietary counseling, and was scheduled for weekly visits but was unable to come that often due to a lack of transportation. One of our community health workers was asigned to check on the patient and record blood presure and blood sugar readings. The patient was able to report to the clinic once every 3 weeks, and during these visits, the health worker assisted the patient in utilizing our web based education modules for reinforcement on diabetes and hypertensive education.
With all of this help, the patient’s A1c and blood pressure readings are coming down, but more important, the patient has learned that she can make a difference by actively self-managing her chronic condition and is now eager to report her blood sugar readings and ask any questions she has about insulin changes. Initially she would not participate in goal setting but just this week declared she wants her A1c to be 7.0 in 6 months. Small health care victories in the Delta.