Every Wednesday when I walk into Crossroad Health Center to work as an intern, I can’t help but think about who I am called to be as a Xavier University student: a woman for others. However, over my past three years at Xavier, I have come to realize that this mission statement, men and women for others, is missing one key word: with. Thus it should read: men and women for and with others. When delivering healthcare, it is important to recognize that your purpose is not to go and “fix” something or someone as the word ‘for’ would suggest. Professionals in the healthcare field often have this fix-all mentality. Unfortunately, this typically only puts a Band-Aid on the situation.
Crossroad Health Center has allowed me to move away from being a woman for others and allowed me to become a woman with others due to the very nature of Crossroad. Crossroad was founded upon the faith-based mission to provide care that treats “the whole person—body, mind and spirit—regardless of their ability to pay”. This approach allows patients to develop long term relationships with their medical providers resulting in better overall health. For example, while working under Dr. O’Dea, I had the opportunity to develop a relationship with a patient being seen for a chronic liver condition. The patient was in need to of a liver transplant and required around-the-clock care. However, considering he was a single, grown man living on his own with little family residing in the area, he found it challenging to obtain the care he needed. Instead of treating the symptoms of the patient and sending him home while looking the other way, Dr. O’Dea took the time to pause and evaluate the situation. We both knew that in order for the patient to reach a state of wellbeing we needed to work with him, recognizing that his care reaches far outside the walls of Crossroad. Consequently, I spent the next couple of weeks contacting the patient’s insurance to arrange rides to and from appointments, to find an affordable in-home nurse, and to obtain necessary medication. I quickly discovered that insurance would not work with our patient to make these arrangements, causing me to seek successful assistance through other organizations.
As I continually become more acquainted with the healthcare field, I have found that Crossroad is distinctly unique when it comes to continuity of care. The entire medical staff works as a team to strive towards a sustainable solution to overcome barriers in the healthcare system, rather than simply placing a Band-Aide on the situation. As a result, we are no longer working for the patient, but with the patient through solidarity. At Crossroad, this has created a relationship where we need members of our own community just as much as they need us, if not more.
Dakota Kulis’ essay was submitted as part of the 2015 Costs of Care, HFMA, Strata Decision Technology, and Yale New Haven Health’s contest entitled The Best Care, The Lowest Cost – One Idea at a Time.