Called to Care

On Saturday, June 30th, our Executive Director, Allison Colby, gave this speech at our Wine & International Food Tasting. 

Rev. Andrew Merrow, Co-Founder Terry Lavoie, Exec. Dir. Allison Colby (L to R)

Rev. Andrew Merrow, Co-Founder Terry Lavoie, Exec. Dir. Allison Colby (L to R)

“Luis” arrived at Culmore Clinic feeling badly: tired, no strength, depressed and scared.  Unable to work because of his condition, he had neither income nor access to food and was desperately in need of medical attention.   Luis had recently been to the Inova emergency department where he was treated for diabetes, a first-time diagnosis for him. He was prescribed insulin (also for the first time), and released. By the time he arrived at The Clinic (one week later) his sugar level was over 400 (normal is 70-150).

Medical providers, nurses, an interpreter, our patient services manager and patient navigator, immediately began to work together to address his needs.  
After the assessment of his condition he was instructed to go to a pharmacy to get the insulin he had been prescribed at the hospital several days prior. After searching on his behalf for a pharmacy with the lowest price on insulin, staff discovered Luis neither knew how to get there nor had the money to buy the medication.   A collection among the staff provided the necessary funds and The Clinic’s Bi-lingual Patient Navigator drove Luis to the pharmacy located in downtown Washington DC, his most affordable option, interpreted for him throughout the process, then drove him home.

Today Luis is a familiar face at Culmore Clinic.  At a recent visit, his sugar level was around 90, his general health had improved, his physical activity was normal and his demeanor was very positive. 

At the time of discharge from the hospital, Culmore Clinic served as Luis’ safety net, but without continued primary care, he would have fallen through the system again.  Today, Culmore Clinic is his medical home. We are charged with fulfilling that role for him and see the need to expand to meet his preventive needs as well. It is patients like Luis who keep Culmore Clinic moving in the direction of becoming a full-time Patient Centered Medical Home in the Bailey’s Crossroads community. If not us, then who?