What the PPC Program means to Mary T.
Up until July 2009, I considered my life's plan to be working out just fine. I graduated from college in 1975. Twenty years later, I had worked my way up to become the Executive Director of an impressive business. For the next 14 years I created several programs and was responsible for the organization and implementation of each.
I was looking forward to being able to retire at the early age of 65, in the year 2015, and pursue my dreams of traveling around the world. I then planned on settling down and putting in my time doing community service work.
Everything was on track until the crash of the stock market. I saw practically all of my life's savings disappear almost overnight. The other shoe fell when my employer of over 30 years informed me that they would have to close their doors. Not only was my source of steady income interrupted, this meant the end of my medical health care coverage.
For the first time in my adult life, I felt devastated, hopeless and scared. I knew that my age and existing medical condition would be a deterrent to my being able to find a job right away, not to mention the current economic downturn. My fears panned out as July turned into August, then September, without a job prospect.
When October came in, I found myself in need of urgent medical attention but no medical coverage. The cost of an office visit was $123.00, a big chunk of my dwindling savings. As I stood at the checkout window of the Bowen Primary & Urgent Care office, writing out my check for payment and wondering how I could afford any follow-up treatment, Dr. Bowen happened to walk up to the window. As he overheard me talking to the receptionist, he interrupted and said “I think you would be a good candidate for this new program I'm starting”. He gave me a flyer outlining the Patient/Physician Cooperatives. I felt at that moment that God had just sent me an angel. The weight of the world seemed to lift from my shoulders.
I attended the “opening day” ceremony for the PPC in October 2009. I expressed to staff and Dr. Bowen my sincere gratitude for providing this much needed service at this devastating time for so many people. I asked if there was any way or anything I could offer in return. It was then that I learned about the need for Volunteers to help in the office and with getting the word out about the Co-op. The chance to give back to someone that was there at a time when I was most in need, was the opportunity I was looking for. I came on board and began to volunteer at the office. I now serve as a Co-op Board Member and as the Board secretary for PPC, Hickory, North Carolina.
I could never re-pay in volunteer hours what the PPC Program has given me. I will always treasure Dr. Bowen and the Co-op for the peace of mind they have afforded me.
Mary Reyna loves her job: Full-time grandma. She spends most of her days looking after her grandchildren and supporting her husband who works as a roofing contractor, a job which calls for good health and lots of energy. Originally born near San Antonio, Mary moved to New Caney, Texas two years ago to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren. She has diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and her husband suffers from gastrointestinal issues, all of which require regular visits to the doctor.
Prior to becoming a member of PPC, the Reyna’s signed up for a traditional insurance plan they saw advertised on TV. The plan promised comprehensive coverage at low rates and great doctors. However it wasn’t long before they began to have problems and the charges for expensive blood work and tests, which were promised to be affordable, began to rise sharply. They started to dread going to the doctor and were apprehensive of the bills they would receive in the mail.
Finally, when Mary learned that her diabetes was considered a pre-existing condition and that it could not be treated under their policy, it was time for a change. “I could not believe my diabetes was qualified as pre-existing! After all the run- around with this company and the medical bills accumulating, my husband and I felt this was the last straw and terminated the policy.”
Not long after that, Mary’s daughter told her about a flyer for Patient/Physician Cooperatives (PPC) she received in the mail. After reading the flyer and discussing it with her husband, Mary proceeded with much caution and skepticism, because the plan just seemed too good to be true. “I called PPC several times and asked so many questions that they started to know me by name. I even scheduled a visit to their office just to see if it was legit. Once my husband and I got all the facts, we signed up, and it has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made for our health.” They have been members of PPC for over a year now, and recently renewed their policy.
Now the Reyna’s actually look forward to their regular doctor visits. She and her husband are so impressed with the care they receive from PPC that they go out of their way to inform people about the program, even distributing enrollment cards at their church. Mary says, “PPC has allowed my husband and me to be pro-active about maintaining our health while keeping our out-of-pocket costs affordable. We look forward to continuing our membership and telling all our friends about it!”
Joy Williamson, a native Houstonian who currently lives in New Caney, Texas with her family, became a member of Patient/Physician Cooperatives (PPC) a little over a year ago. She and her husband have always been in relatively good health, but they both suffer from manageable chronic issues: She has a thyroid condition and her husband has elevated blood pressure. Mr. Williamson is a small business owner and the couple has never been able to afford a traditional health insurance plan. Ms. Williamson said, “We’ve tried to hold policies over the years, but as the cost of health care keeps increasing, there is simply no way to afford the insurance co-pays and fees while still maintaining all of our other expenses.” The couple requires regular doctor visits for monitoring, testing and medication, and costs for those visits began to add up.
In 2008, Ms. Williamson, who has worked in the health care industry for years as a medical assistant and as an administrator, began searching for a plan that would allow her and her family to have affordable access to routine care and examinations required for their health conditions. After receiving a flyer in the mail about PPC and the services it offered, the Williamsons signed up immediately. “Prior to joining PPC, my husband and I did not see the doctor unless it was absolutely necessary. As a result, my husband’s hypertension was not diagnosed until we started going to a PPC clinic. Additionally, I could only afford to see a doctor once a year for my thyroid issues and once I began receiving treatment through Patient/Physician Cooperatives, it was discovered that my medication dosage was incorrect. This was never caught before because I simply did not have the money for regular blood testing. Without our enrollment in this program, our manageable illnesses could have become much worse.”
Now, more than a year later, Williamson and her husband are so pleased with PPC’s services, they have not only renewed their membership, but also added on their son, granddaughter and great nephew to their plan. Williamson added, “It’s not just the affordable, superior care we received from the doctors and nurse practitioners who are a part of PPC, but there is also a real sense of compassion and dedication to keeping people healthy. I wholeheartedly recommend PPC to anyone looking for an affordable health care program.”