Barbara Beals Finds Comfort in her Local Community Health Center

beals“For years, I worked full-time in the pharmaceutical industry, which provided a great salary and insurance coverage for myself and my daughter. Unfortunately, as the recession grew, I joined the growing ranks of unemployed when management laid off nearly half of its experienced, well-paid employees. I was left without any coverage, paying for basic care from my dwindling savings and whatever work I could find, while trying to support my daughter in college.

Last spring, I began experiencing very bizarre symptoms: severe pain that travelled to odd areas of my arms and legs, bouts of Bell’s Palsy, and extreme fatigue that made it difficult to function at a normal level. Being a strong, athletic person, this was making no sense. I was supposed to travel to Sweden to visit family, a trip planned six months prior. As the symptoms increased, I was frantic for medical help, but with no insurance it seemed hopeless. I saw an ad for the Open Door Family Medical Centers  (Ossining, NY) and called right away. A very professional and caring staff member answered and listened as I explained my situation.  I’ll never forget her response: ‘Can you come in today?  We have a sliding-scale fee, so please don’t worry, we will accomodate you.’ I nearly cried with relief!

That day I was privileged to meet Dr. Margaret (Marge) Statile, with whom I felt an instant rapport. She did an extensive history and exam. Over the next two weeks, as symptoms worsened and I considered cancelling my trip, she decided to do a Lyme titer, putting it on rush. She called first thing in the morning with great news. ‘Don’t cancel that trip! You have Lyme Disease and we caught it early. I’ll prescribe antibiotics; you’ll feel fine in a few days.’ She was right.

As the recession continues, and decent jobs for those over 30 are limited, it’s comforting to know that basic medical help is available. A reduction in health center funding would be disastrous for the thousands of unemployed lacking health insurance.”

testimonial provided by patient, Barbara G. Beals.

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