How those I serve are better informed about how to access health services

My name is Oreoluwa and I serve at the Squirrel Hill Health Center. I serve first and secondary refugees and many of them find it hard to navigate the United States healthcare system. These patients also tend to find it hard to understand the services that are available to them. In my role, it is essential to be patient and understanding when speaking to parents who do not know why a vaccine is important for their child or a middle-aged male that does not see the importance of consistently monitoring his blood pressure.

My duties in the office include patient tracking which entails contacting patients about various healthcare needs they are due for such as blood pressure checks, immunizations, and pap smears. I have been working in tandem with providers here to create a new layout for new patient orientations that allows patients to be aware of the services provided even before their first appointment. This orientation is meant to be a guide on how to navigate the center and how the center helps patients navigate the healthcare system.

One thing that I really admire about the center that I serve in is that no matter what a patient’s immigration, insurance, or financial status is, that patient will be served. Many patients have called the center concerned about their immigration status and worried that they would not be able to come in for an appointment. However, I have always been elated to inform them that all health services are available to them at the center despite their lack of insurance.

It’s common in different positions to wonder how much of an impact one has, and this position is no different. I would often wonder if what I am doing is enough, and upon asking providers their response has been a unanimous “YES”, that letting patients know about the services provided allows for better retention of patients and providers are able to see patients more frequently. These more frequent visits reduce the amount of acute and emergency visits and increases preventative visits which means healthier patients.

This post was written by NHC member Oreoluwa Obiri

Oreoluwa serves at the Squirrel Hill Health Center as a Patient Population Management Specialist