We the Patients

Latina woman in the Bronx does not receive equitable health care

A Health Care System Against Her – Angela Ozuna Tavera, Bronx County

Angela Ozuna Tavera is a long-term resident of New York City, originally immigrating from the Dominican Republic. When it looked like her Medicaid coverage might come to an end, she was worried about affording her home care attendant. Her attendant was someone she had come to rely on to live her day-to-day life. Without sustained daily help – in-language – she was worried about her future health.

As her Medicaid ended, navigating the U.S. health care system became increasingly difficult for Angela. Unfortunately our system isn’t built equitably and many of the services and paperwork she needed to keep her current or obtain new insurance were not in the language she spoke. Primarily speaking Spanish and with no income, Angela felt the system was stacked against her. What was she supposed to do? Angela stated, “I was so afraid that I might lose my Medicaid insurance and my aide. My son helps with my household expenses but cannot help with my daily needs.”

Angela reached out to BronxWorks, who offers assistance in Spanish. With the help of a patient advocate she applied for Medicare. Despite being over 65, Angela believed she was ineligible for Medicare. With the help of her advocate, they worked on the forms and translated everything. The process took over a month and there were bureaucratic stumbles along the way, but Angela did not give up even though the majority of forms were not in her primary language. Thankfully, Angela now has both Medicare and Medicaid. And she isn’t barred from the home care services she so urgently needs because of the language she speaks.

 

 


 

Angela Ozuna Tavera es una residente de Nueva York por muchos años, inmigrante de la Republica Dominicana. Hubo un tiempo cuando su seguro de Medicaid seria cancelado y temó que no podría cubrir el gasto de tener cuidado personal en el hogar. Ella dependía de su asistente con los haceres del día. Al no tener esa ayuda constante, Angela temía por su salud en el futuro.

Cuando se le acabo el Medicaid, Angela tuvo tremenda dificulta en como navegar el sistema de salud en EE.UU. Desafortunadamente, nuestro sistema no está construido equitativo y mucho de los servicios y cartas de notificaciones que ella necesitaba no estaban en su lengua natal. Eran cartas para mantener su seguro médico o conseguir uno nuevo. Angela se sintió que el sistema está en su contra porque no tenía ingreso y habla únicamente el español. ¿Qué podía hacer? Angela dijo, “Yo tuve bastante miedo en perder mi Medicaid y mi asistente. Mi hijo me ayuda con los gastos del hogar, pero no puede con el gasto de mis necesidades diarias.

Angela contacto a BronxWorks, donde ofrecen asistencia en español. Con la ayuda de un defensor del paciente, aplico para Medicare. Aunque tenia mas de 65 años, Angela pensó que no cualificaba para el Medicare. Con la ayuda de su defensor, trabajaron en traducir y completar los formularios. El proceso se tomo mas de un mes y hubo obstáculos burocráticos, pero Angela no se rindió, aunque la mayoría de los formularios no eran en su lengua natal. Afortunadamente, Angela ahora tiene Medicare y Medicaid. Ella seguirá teniendo los servicios de cuidad personal en el hogar a pesar de no hablar el inglés.