True Story

True Story - Fall 2011 - Christine Rios

Case manager Janise Friedland (left) helps Christine Rios of Brighton live a safer and healthier life.

Teammates in Health

By Christine Rios
Photography by Barry Staver

EDITOR'S NOTE: Christine Rios lives in Brighton. She has been a part of the Colorado Regional Integrated Care Collaborative for three years. As the program evolves into the Accountable Care Collaborative, she is hoping she can continue working with her Colorado Access care manager, Janise Friedland.

I'm 60 years old and the mother of three grown children. But I live by myself now, and my health is really bad. I lose my balance a lot and I fall. Five years ago, I had a stroke. Now I don't remember things like I used to.

I'm on Medicaid, and three years ago I was told I would be part of a new program through Colorado Access, the Colorado Regional Integrated Care Collaborative. It provides care management to a select group of Medicaid patients. My case manager is Janise Friedland, and she has been wonderful. She explains things to me that I don't understand. I go to the doctor once a month, and Janise goes with me and explains everything to me in a way I can understand.

Like when I was having trouble swallowing and the doctor told me I had Barrett's mucosa, which is a narrowing of the esophagus. I got very anxious because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to eat. Janise talked to me about how I could make smoothies and use my blender to mix up some of my favorite foods.

Another time, the brace that I wear on my leg was rubbing against my skin and irritating it. Janise suggested I take a little piece of moleskin and put it over the area that was rough. Now it doesn't rub against my leg anymore. Before my stroke, I probably would have known to do that, but not now.

Not too long ago, I thought I was having a heart attack. An ambulance took me to the hospital, but it turned out it wasn't a heart attack, so they told me to go home. But by then it was 1 a.m. and I didn't have anyone to call to come and get me. I normally use a transportation company, but I was told it was too late to call them. So the hospital called a taxi for me, and the ride home cost me $66.

The next day, I called Janise and told her. I figured I just wouldn't eat this month because I don't have $66 to spare. But she got on the phone and called a customer service representative at the transportation company, and when they told her there was nothing they could do about it, she asked for the manager. She didn't stop until she got my $66 back.

I know I'm living much healthier and safer now, thanks to Janise.