Desiray, 48, describes herself as a tech-savvy musician living in Delta, Colo. She usually sticks pretty close to home in her assisted living center. But when she needed to see a physician specialist in Denver—a five-hour car trip each way—it was an adventure beyond her means and expertise.
Desiray is resourceful. She called Rocky Mountain Health Plans community outreach coordinator, Sally Henry, who helps Health First Colorado members in Montrose and Delta counties get the care they need.
“I’m the one that called Sally. I’m smart about that; I call around to see who can help me. I ask for assistance, and it works,” Desiray says.
Sally called the care provider in Denver to set up an appointment that was long enough for Desiray to ask all the questions she needed answered. Because of the distance, Sally also set up transportation for Desiray and a friend, who was traveling with her, so they could arrive one day, stay overnight, see the doctor the next day and then ride back to Delta; she arranged to pay for the transportation through Delta County Human Services.
Sally also arranged funding from Rocky Mountain Health Foundation to pay for the hotel stay, as well as a gift card to cover the cost of meals. While reserving the hotel room, Sally asked about restaurants within walking distance, but found there weren’t any good options. So she arranged with the front desk clerk to order food for Desiray and her friend.
“Sally and I met twice, and she was really nice. She gave me a paper with everything on it. She does a good job,” Desiray says.
As the appointment day approached, the carefully-planned trip hit a snag. Desiray told Sally that her friend couldn’t come with her to Denver. Sally arranged for another RMHP care coordinator, Melanie Wuzzardo, RN, BSN, Medicaid clinical manager, to accompany Desiray to the appointment.
“Melanie met me at the doctor’s office in Denver, and when I started crying, she held my hand and was there for me, and she supported me and was great company,” Desiray says. “She wrote things down for me. She helped to explain what the doctor had said.”
After the appointment, Desiray returned to her hotel, but woke up feeling very sick the next day—so much so that she called the clinic where she saw the doctor and asked for help. The clinic care coordinator got back in touch with Melanie right away. Melanie arranged for Desiray to visit an urgent care center in Denver and to get her prescription filled. She also extended Desiray’s hotel stay so she could rest and recover one more day before traveling back to Delta.
“Without Sally and Melanie, I couldn’t have done it on my own,” Desiray says. “We worked together as a team. They did their part, and I give them an A-plus. I’m proud of them.”