When patients share their experiences of receiving care at CommunityHealth, we catch a glimpse of a powerful system of health care providers that is transforming lives and closing the health equity gap for Chicago. This is Maria’s story.
Maria first learned of CommunityHealth when she drove a friend to our health center in early 2016. For several years, Maria had been struggling with diabetes and hypertension, so she asked her friend for more information about our services. Since she couldn’t afford primary care visits or medications, she had been relying on the emergency room for care. She found it nearly impossible to properly manage her chronic conditions with only time-limited access to care, but she was not aware of any other options.
Maria was relieved to learn that all of CommunityHealth’s services and medications are free of charge. For so long, her primary barrier to receiving the health care she needed was the high costs.
When she arrived to her first appointment at CommunityHealth, Maria had been out of medications for weeks and was in poor health. Maria and her volunteer physician created a treatment plan together, and Maria left the clinic that day with eight medications, including insulin. She also made an appointment to have her first-ever diabetic eye exam.
Over the next few months, Maria returned on a regular basis for much-needed dental care and appointments with several onsite volunteer specialists. She continues to attend counseling sessions with our licensed clinical social worker. Health education programs and one-on-one visits with our clinical pharmacists have taught Maria how to take better care of herself at home. Our staff and volunteer team coordinated all of Maria’s care and ensured that she understood the plan, so that she can be an active participant in it.
One year after her first appointment, Maria has her diabetes under control. She continues to access the health care she needs at CommunityHealth and looks forward to feeling even better than she does today.
Two things make Maria’s story possible: our dedicated team of volunteer health care providers and the generous support of our private donors. They ensure high-quality, comprehensive health care for thousands of low-income, uninsured patients. With the rising prevalence of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, access to free health care is more important than ever.