Do you have insurance? Why did you choose WHC as your health provider?
Yes, I have health insurance today but it didn’t start that way. My first visit to WHC was because I had trouble breathing. I didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford going to a regular hospital. I remembered hearing WHC was a free clinic and decided to give it a shot – I had nowhere else to go. Although treatment was not free, I qualified for their sliding-scale fee which helped to drastically reduce medical costs. The doctor at WHC diagnosed me with asthma and got me started on the road to recovery with complimentary sample medicine, donated by pharmaceutical companies. I was able to breathe again thanks to Waimānalo Health Center.
A few years down the road, my uninsured husband started experiencing a lot of pain. Again, we turned to Waimānalo Health Center to help us get better. But it wasn’t so easy this time around. The doctor suspected cancer but needed a biopsy to be sure. A biopsy we could not afford. The doctor and staff at the health center went to bat for us. They paid for his biopsy and helped to fast-track our Med-QUEST application. Long story short, my husband is cancer-free today and we didn’t go bankrupt. Waimānalo Health Center saved his life.
How long have you been a patient at WHC?
I’ve been a patient for more than 15 years and a board member since 2009. I’ve dedicated myself to helping others access the care they need regardless of their ability to pay.
What services have you used at WHC?
My family which includes myself, my husband, my son, daughter and six grandkids are patients of the Family Medicine and Dental Clinics. I also worked with a provider in Behavioral Health to help me quit smoking. The smoking cessation program helped me kick the habit after 35 years.
I’m reassured knowing the health center offers many other programs if we ever need them. Outreach services, weight management classes, registered dietitians, family planning services, etc. The list goes on as Waimānalo Health Center strives to constantly improve and expand its programs and services.
Would you recommend WHC to your friends/family? Why?
Absolutely! I tell people about Waimānalo Health Center all the time. Even people I’ve just met! Conversations always lead to a point where I end up asking, “Do you have health insurance? Because I know this great place…” It’s easy giving people good news.
What's the best thing about WHC?
Waimānalo Health Center offers an open door to all. Uninsured, under-insured, best insurance, worst insurance, whatever your story might be - if you need their help, they’ll make it happen one way or another. No matter who you are, you get quality care. Waimānalo Health Center is a model of its community – we care about sustainability and attempt to always improve upon our accomplishments.
Why is WHC vital to the community?
I’ve lived in Waimānalo since 1996. There’s been a lot of positive change since then. There used to be a big substance abuse issue here. It hasn’t disappeared but the community has adapted and learned how to make things better. We don’t ignore problems anymore. We acknowledge and deal with them. Instead of incarcerating all drug users, we opt to offer them help and treatment. The health center, in my opinion, is a foundation for that kind of change. Doctors and staff and WHC empower community members to take charge of their health and well-being.
Why did you decide to be on WHC's BOD?
I became a board member because I wanted to give back to the health center for all the wonderful care that my family and I received. People deserve to get quality healthcare whether they have insurance or not.
How has WHC changed over the years?
Change is good. It keeps things moving, flowing and refreshed. The quality of care has greatly improved at WHC. Many community members think of the health center as an emergency or free clinic. Maybe that’s the way it used to be but the focus has shifted from critical care to primary, comprehensive care with emphasis on patient experience.
If others want to give back to WHC, what would you recommend they do? How can they help?
There are many ways to help. We have volunteer opportunities throughout the year that are announced on our website, Facebook page and in newsletters. We encourage community members to stay connected and get involved.
Monetary donations help the center continue its services for uninsured and under-insured community members who need our help. Learn more about donations here.
The best way to help is to become a patient. That way you experience the health center firsthand and can provide feedback on successes and ways to improve. We welcome and look forward to meeting you!