With healthcare in the United States at a crossroads and the Affordable Care Act slated to be fully operational on the coming New Year’s Day, it is understandable that logistics be at the forefront of debate and reform, with jargon such as “subsidies”, “tax credits”, and “out-of-pocket premiums” bandied about among various media outlets. However, despite the great hopes and expectations of this overhaul decreasing health disparities in this country, there still looms the immense problem of having to explain to a populous of people how to fully utilize a complex system that some, unfortunately, will not even be eligible for.
Fortunately, there are people in healthcare whose main focus is still to provide superlative care to all those less fortunate and uninformed on health care policy. It is that inherent conviction of placing patient care above all else that has made my short tenure with the Philadelphia Department of Health a godsend. Serving as a patient advocate has given me the responsibility of ensuring that patients, who have no insurance and nowhere else to turn, receive the treatment that they need and the quality of life they desire. Without having to worry about triaging or calculating costs of medications and deductibles, I have been able to help people of all ages and demographics better enjoy their lives and give them the peace of mind that is often lost in the labyrinth of health systems. To say that I have a single favorite moment or that I am devoid of a bad day would be untrue, but I can say that all encounters bring with them fresh perspectives as well as varying levels of satisfaction in the knowledge that the services rendered have allowed people to enjoy the daily activities that most take for granted. Thus, by serving on the front lines in underserved areas and improving overall health and wellness, one patient and family at a time, the National Health Corps have made inroads towards healthier communities, and hopefully one day by extension, happiness for all.
Name: Stephen Veideman
Position: Patient Advocate at Health Center 6
Why did you join the health corps: To obtain a broader knowledge and deeper understanding of the nation’s healthcare system
Favorite thing about Philly: The location and size of the city