Medicaid Making a Difference

 Inocente Giles, patient, One Community Health

Inocente Giles, patient, One Community Health

Medicaid Expansion and Expert Care Save Patient from Potential Blindness, Even Death.

Inocente Giles, a legal migrant farm worker, picks fruit for a living. Working for various orchards located throughout the Hood River Valley, he toils tirelessly, supporting his wife and five children. A quiet, humble type, he’s not a big talker. He’s also not one to complain about much, including the fact that the only insurance his employers offer him is for possible work-site accidents.
 
And yet after experiencing several months of blurry vision and headaches, Inocente decided to speak up and get some help. He first informed his team of providers at One Community Health (OCH), telling them he thought the symptoms had to do with his eyesight and glasses. When referred to the eye doctor, he quickly learned he had a much more serious situation on his hands: an extremely swollen optic nerve.

 One Community Health's "Pink Team" stepped up and provided speedy, high-quality care for Inocent Giles. Shown here (left to right): Erin Krupp, RN, Flor Meza (team assistant), Inocente Giles, patient, and Adam White, RN.

One Community Health's "Pink Team" stepped up and provided speedy, high-quality care for Inocent Giles. Shown here (left to right): Erin Krupp, RN, Flor Meza (team assistant), Inocente Giles, patient, and Adam White, RN.

Tests ordered by OCH soon revealed a very serious, rare condition: intracranial hypertension. At great risk for permanent blindness, even death, Inocente’s diagnosis required immediate intervention and forced him to cancel an upcoming trip to Mexico. When he realized he couldn’t travel, the severity of the situation hit home for him and his wife.
 
“Your vision is very important,” he says. “If you lose it, you can’t do anything…my wife was scared. She would tell me to get it cured, and I would tell her I would try but, in the end, if I lost my vision, I said there is nothing I can do.”
 
And yet there was something that could be done, thanks to the timing of it all and the “triage” performed by OCH and other providers. The "Pink Team" and several additional OCH staff members jumped into action, coordinating Inocente’s referrals, appointments and care at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital. Within days of his diagnosis, he underwent a successful brain surgery and recovery. Covered through Medicaid expansion, Inocente fortunately came away from the pricey experience without having to add the high cost of brain surgery to his worries.
 
Looking back, Inocente realizes life would have taken a different, likely devastating course had he not been covered through Medicaid, extended by the Affordable Care Act. He says if he’d gone blind, he could no longer have worked to provide for his family. And without this health care coverage, he would also have been working the rest of his life to pay off insurmountable bills. Instead, his health and wellness continue to be monitored and managed affordably at OCH.
 
“I am living here, contributing here, and working here,” he says. “So I think I have a right to be healthy—I have a right to get care I need…and that is affordable.”
 
No argument there. Hardworking and certainly contributing right in our back yard, Inocente has accessed and received the necessary medical support. And for him and his family, that has made all the difference.ought the symptoms had to do with his eyesight and glasses. When referred to the eye doctor, he quickly learned he had a much more serious situation on his hands: an extremely swollen optic nerve.
 
Tests ordered by OCH soon revealed a very serious, rare condition: intracranial hypertension. At great risk for permanent blindness, even death, Inocente’s diagnosis required immediate intervention and forced him to cancel an upcoming trip to Mexico. When he realized he couldn’t travel, the severity of the situation hit home for him and his wife.
 
“Your vision is very important,” he says. “If you lose it, you can’t do anything…my wife was scared. She would tell me to get it cured, and I would tell her I would try but, in the end, if I lost my vision, I said there is nothing I can do.”
 
And yet there was something that could be done, thanks to the timing of it all and the “triage” performed by OCH and other providers. The "Pink Team" and several additional OCH staff members jumped into action, coordinating Inocente’s referrals, appointments and care at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital. Within days of his diagnosis, he underwent a successful brain surgery and recovery. Covered through Medicaid expansion, Inocente fortunately came away from the pricey experience without having to add the high cost of brain surgery to his worries.
 
Looking back, Inocente realizes life would have taken a different, likely devastating course had he not been covered through Medicaid, extended by the Affordable Care Act. He says if he’d gone blind, he could no longer have worked to provide for his family. And without this health care coverage, he would also have been working the rest of his life to pay off insurmountable bills. Instead, his health and wellness continue to be monitored and managed affordably at OCH.
 
“I am living here, contributing here, and working here,” he says. “So I think I have a right to be healthy—I have a right to get care I need…and that is affordable.”
 
No argument there. Hardworking and certainly contributing right in our back yard, Inocente has accessed and received the necessary medical support. And for him and his family, that has made all the difference.