Chronically ill ponder impact of Affordable Care Act - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Chronically ill ponder impact of Affordable Care Act

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

For those who are healthy, it's likely hard to imagine life for people who have chronic medical conditions that require them in and out of hospitals and doctors offices almost daily.

Almost daily, an ambulance picks up Andy Romero at home in Lake Charles. It's the only way he can get to his treatments. His wife, Sandy, is his caregiver.

"He fell about five or six months ago and he broke all the bones in both feet and  ankles. So, he's in hard casts in both of them. He cannot walk. We go to almost all his appointments by ambulance," said Sandy.

He has a need for almost daily treatments stems from chronic health problems from chemical exposure at work 15 years ago.

"Five days a week (he goes for hydro therapy)  because his colon's paralyzed and he cannot go to the bathroom on his own at home, and he also has a catheter because his bladder is paralyzed," said Sandy. She said he also goes for wound care once a week.

Workers Compensation covers most of Andy's medical costs yet there are needs still unmet, due to equipment that has not been provided, though she says it should be covered.

"The primary care physician and the orthopedist both wrote prescriptions and letters of medical necessity for a power chair, a lift for our vehicle and a lift for outside the mobile home to get him in and outside of the mobile home. That was almost five months exactly and we have not received it yet," she said.

That means, except for his ambulance trips, Andy is confined to home.

"You got good days and you got bad days but I don't let anything get me depressed. I stay positive," he said, sitting in the lounge chair in which he spends most of his time.

Sandy doubts health care navigators can help with Andy's needs but she plans to check. For herself, Sandy says the insurance she can afford is so poor, she does not go to the doctor.

"They don't pay for doctor visits, they don't pay for blood work, they don't pay for anything outpatient. The only thing that's covered is major medical, if I'm so sick that I have to be admitted to the hospital, then they will pay if I am in a hospital," said Sandy.

Like so many caregivers, Sandy seems to put her husband first - without much attention to own needs, a situation she hopes may improve under the Affordable Care Act.
 
She plans to visit one of the healthcare navigator support sessions to see if they may help her find more complete healthcare for herself and a solution to unmet needs of her husband.

A session was held at Epps Branch Library in Lake Charles on Tuesday afternoon.

People should bring a flash drive or other computer storage device to save applications.

A list of additional sessions scheduled at local libraries follows:

Calcasieu Parish Libraries to Host Healthcare Navigator Support Sessions

The Calcasieu Parish Public Library is partnering with the SWLA Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to provide healthcare informational sessions and enrollment assistance for citizens interested in signing up.

Jacob Schei, a SWLA AHEC certified navigator, will be at each session to answer questions and to help steer attendees through the enrollment process.

Each session will have laptop computers set up for patrons to use to log on to the health care website for enrollment, upon website availability. Attendees are asked to bring a flash drive or other computer storage device so that applications can be saved. In the event that the website is down, informational sessions will still be available.

The sessions will take place at the following branches:

DeQuincy Library, 102 W. Harrison St., (337) 721-7087
· 2 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 21

Iowa Library, 107 E. 1st Street, (337) 721-7101
· 2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 31
· 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5

Fontenot Memorial Library, 1402 Center Street, (337) 721-7095
· 2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 5
· 2 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 3

Sulphur Regional Library, 1160 Cypress St., (337) 721-7141
· 2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12
· 2 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 10

Westlake Library, 937 Mulberry St., (337) 721-7113
· 2 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14
· 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 19

Moss Bluff Library, 261 Parish Rd., (337) 721-7128
· 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 12

Central Library, 301 W. Claude St., (337) 721-7118
· 2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 19
· 2 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 17

The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, contact one of the branches listed above or click here.

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