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Here to Help

Social work team helps patient family overcome access barriers

Thiago being held by Wesley Milligan, Social Worker.

Thiago with Wesley Milligan, Social Worker.

Thiago has a special talent of spreading joy without a sound. All it takes is one glance at his big, brown eyes and shy smile and happiness fills the room. What is even more remarkable is how genuine his smile is despite the trials and tribulations he and his family have overcome in the first year of his life.

He and his family fled from Honduras to the United States shortly after Thiago was born in the spring of 2021. While his family was new to the U.S., they were quickly introduced to the medical system due to Thiago’s kidney condition.

After a visit to the emergency room and a nephrostomy bag placement, Thiago was referred to OneWorld Community Health Centers for follow up care in September 2021.

During one of his first few medical appointments at OneWorld, Thiago’s family was referred to the social work team after identifying Thiago’s family did not have access to transportation for his appointments. Wesley Milligan, Social Worker, met with Thiago and his family to arrange transportation and assess their other needs.

“In addition to transportation, we connected them to local food pantries in the community, and they were part of our Adopt-A-Family holiday event in December 2021,” said Wesley.

Wesley speaks with Thiago and his mother at the OneWorld dry food pantry. They are sitting down and wearing masks.

Wesley speaks with Thiago and his mother at the OneWorld dry food pantry.

Due to his kidney condition, Thiago will have to have surgery every few years on his kidneys.

Thiago had his first kidney surgery removing the need for a nephrostomy bag in November 2021. His next surgery will take place after he turns two in 2023.

In addition to the emotional stress from Thiago needing serious surgery at such a young age, his family faced severe financial stress because they did not have the means to pay for his appointments or procedures. The social work team at Children’s Hospital helped cover the cost of his medical procedures through their financial assistance policy.

Wesley helped Thiago’s family get emergency Medicaid to help cover his medical bills from the ER and his appointments at OneWorld.

“Thiago wasn’t born in the U.S., so he doesn’t qualify for long-term Medicaid, but we were able to get him emergency Medicaid during his first few appointments,” said Wesley.

Wesley is currently working with Thiago’s family to connect them to an immigration lawyer so they can file for asylum. She is also helping Thiago get early childhood intervention to help with his development and education.

“There are a lot of barriers for patients and a lack of knowledge about the resources available, and as a social work team, we are here to help patients overcome those barriers,” said Wesley. “Being an advocate for my patients is one of my favorite parts. I love being able to tell patients they don’t need to worry and that we’re here to help them.”

At OneWorld, We Care for All People.

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