2 min read

Member Stories: Meet Ms. D.

For years, Ms. D had carried a strong distrust of hospitals, healthcare, and the medical system. A former intravenous drug user on methadone, she had experienced more than her share of health challenges, including depression, anxiety, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  

The last of these conditions had exacerbated a COVID infection that sent Ms. D, then 66 years old, to the emergency room multiple times in 2022. 

When Belong Health was welcomed into Ms. D’s life, its care management team noted she had “limited coping skills [with which] to handle medical and mental health challenges.” In fact, it wasn’t until after a year of outreach calls and thorough positive assessment processes that Ms. D finally disclosed her history of drug and methadone use to her care management team at all. 

That disclosure, in itself, was a breakthrough moment: a powerful reveal that helped to bridge a previously yawning gap between provider and member. Then, as Ms. D’s skepticism and guarded nature began to give way — began to welcome the comprehensive healthcare support Belong Health was able to offer her — another breakthrough was achieved. 

Ms. D shared openly about complex and personal feelings stemming from the death of her own mother, which had occurred just a few years prior. That story — that insight into Ms. D’s concerns and personal trauma — helped each member of her care management team better understand Ms. D’s own reticence about being cared for in a medical setting. 

It all helped Ms. D’s care management team members further understand her as a whole person — someone with her own fears, goals, and personal pride. 

Prior to engagement with Belong Health, Ms. D had already been visiting St. Vincent’s mental health outpatient clinic for therapy and had already been attending St. Joseph’s methadone management program. In her own eyes, then, she was as cared for as she needed to be. 

But the care management team that Ms. D was assigned through Belong Health was, thankfully, able to help her take her own healthcare journey even further, addressing not just her physical needs, but her emotional and psychological ones, too.  

Although Ms. D still occasionally refuses home care visits and other referrals, her engagement with her overall health has deepened. Perhaps that’s because her care management team always takes the time to truly understand her and each of her complexities — both medical and personal. 

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