Chelsea Collins, the social care coordinator at Volunteers in Medicine in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, met with a new patient “Elizabeth” who desperately needed cataract surgery along with treatment for other major health issues. During the patient eligibility screening appointment, Chelsea recognized that even though Elizabeth was working, her low-income level should allow her to be eligible for Medicaid services.

Joan Kwarcinski, volunteer nurse and Chelsea Collins, social care coordinator at VIM Wilkes-Barre

Chelsea helped Elizabeth complete the medical assistance application since she had blurred vision and had no access to a computer.  In only a few days, Elizabeth received the good news – she was eligible for medical services and food stamps through MA. The staff at VIM immediately coordinated scheduling her cataract surgery that would otherwise be unattainable. In addition, Elizabeth was able to exchange her food stamps for farmers market vouchers to purchase fresh produce. This is ideal since Elizabeth is unable to drive to a grocery store but is within walking distance to the downtown farmer’s market.

At VIM Wilkes-Barre, no patient is turned away even if they are not eligible for the free services offered by the clinic. The Care Coordination and Health Equity Program at VIM is successful in ensuring all community members receive help to make their stressful lives a little easier.

Shared with permission.  To learn more about the clinic, visit Volunteers in Medicine Wilkes-Barre.