For most of her 58 years, Gloria Summers lived with low hearing. “I’ve had a hearing loss my whole life,” she says. “I did have a hearing aid back in the early 90s, but I lost it.”
All that changed last year. Gloria, who also lives with diabetes and other chronic health issues, learned during a doctor’s visit that she could be eligible for free hearing aids and other assistance. Her doctor introduced Gloria to Hilary Erickson, BHS, a community health worker and care coordinator at Cortez Integrated Care. Erickson’s office is in the community health center where Gloria sees her doctor—just across the street from where Gloria lives in Cortez, Colorado.
Ericson helped Gloria access health care coverage by becoming a member of Health First Colorado, the state’s Medicaid program. Together, they filled out paperwork and started the process to get the hearing aids Gloria needs. The $2,800 cost for the hearing aids was included under Gloria’s new coverage.
“Whatever I’ve ever needed, they’ve helped me,” Gloria says. “Hilary helped me set up the hearing aid appointment in Durango. She even gave me a map, so I could find where I was going. The people over there, they try their hardest to help people that need something. They’re just awesome.”
Having the hearing aids “has changed my life a lot,” Gloria says. “When I’m out in public I can understand people a lot better. It does help to understand my doctor, too.”
Erickson keeps in touch with Gloria, so she can take full advantage of covered services that can impact her health—everything from completing a housing application to increased involvement in community activities.
Since getting hearing aids, Gloria has been able to take part in cooking classes offered at Cortez Integrated Care. “To be able to hear and know what they’re saying without having to ask them to repeat, repeat and repeat—going to those cooking classes is awesome.”