#ICareabouthealthcare Why healthcare matters in our community.
Dr. Margaret Fernandes has more than 40 years of experience practicing in the pediatric care world, and has seen the variety of challenges facing uninsured and underinsured families with sick children.
Fernandes, who specializes in neonatology, perinatology and pediatrics, said she selected pediatrics as her specialty because of the rapid advancements made in the field; now she sees a rapid deterioration of the access to care her patients in Camden need to remain healthy.
"The number of either underinsured or no insurance is still significant," Fernandes said of her patient population. "The newborns may have insurance for a month under the mother... and then when the child gets sick they cannot be seen in physicians' offices so they end up in the Emergency Room, or wait for care and come in really sick."
She said many of the families she sees have trouble filling prescriptions once they are discharged from the hospital. Families also have issues finding transportation to specialty appointments beyond their local community health centers. Fernandes said that her NJ FamilyCare patients covered under Medicaid can call a phone number to set up medical transportation through the state, but other patients that don't have FamilyCare may not be able to get to specialist appointments. "You talk to (families) and you find out what they're really going through."
Fernandes said these barriers to care can have lasting impact on families.
"We need to realize that anything that is delayed in a child is for the next 70 to 80 years of that child's life; it could affect late-onset diseases that may have been prevented if caught earlier," she said.
@MCaliendo33: #ICareAboutHealthcare because Dr. Hannema and Cara keep me healthy! Thank you! #NursesWeek #HospitalWeek @HunterdonHealth
@UnivHospNewark: We care about healthcare because we understand the need to provide kind, quality care to everyone #icareabouthealthcare
@JackieCornell: #ICareAboutHealthcare because I wouldn't be where I am today w/o team of amazing docs when I was a very sick newborn #HospitalWeek
@CentraState: #ICareAboutHealthcare...because it matters!
Santiago G. of Manalapan views the debate over healthcare through a very personal lens. The father of six has suffered the worries of going without health insurance – as well as the peace of mind once he was able to secure insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Santiago, who works as a cook, receives dental coverage through his job, but he purchased his medical coverage through the Marketplace. His children receive coverage under NJ FamilyCare.
But that wasn’t the case two years ago, when one of his daughters became sick with what seemed like just a cold which gradually worsened and developed into a raging fever. This was before the children were enrolled in NJ FamilyCare. Santiago said he tried scheduling a doctor appointment first, but ultimately ended up in the hospital emergency room.
“The doctor said if she didn’t have insurance, she wouldn’t take her,” said Santiago.
His daughter received care in the emergency room, and Santiago was left with an $800 bill that he paid himself.
Now, with NJ FamilyCare coverage, his children have a family doctor and receive regular care.
“We need Obamacare, because it’s very important to have insurance. If you don’t have it, oh my God, you pay more,” said Santiago.
“I’m worried more for my children,” he added. “If we don’t have health insurance it is very difficult for us to see a regular doctor.”