Client Stories

Client names have been changed

Client Story | Jerry, 59 Years Old

Jerry has been coming to the River Valley Nursing Center for over a year. He first heard about our services from his wife, who has also been a client of ours. Jerry is employed and has medical insurance, however, is uninsured for prescription drug coverage.

After years of trying different medications, Jerry finally found a combination that worked to best manage his condition. His optimal medication combination prescribed by his physician was Pristiq and Modafinil. Because Pristiq was prohibitively expensive even with his insurance, he was struggling with a way to be able to afford this much-needed medication. Upon meeting with our nurse, they established a plan to explore ways to help cover some or all of the cost of this medication. Jerry did not initially meet guidelines to apply for the Rx Pathway Plan with Pfizer (the manufacturer). Our nurse helped him to write an appeal letter to be reconsidered for the program. Pfizer only accepts an appeal letter from the prescribing physician’s office, therefore our nurse worked with his physician to submit the appeal. With acceptance into this program, Jerry now receives this medication for free! This is an annual process, which needs to be applied for at the beginning of each year and if denied, writing another appeal letter. We have helped
Jerry with this process twice. The first time was in the middle of 2014 and then again in January 2015.

This appeal process took several months. During that time, Jerry needed to find a means to pay for his medications. The cost at a local pharmacy was over $600 for 30 days. Emergency Services at the CAP Agency was able to cover the cost of his prescription for one month. Our family fund, which reimburses half of a medical expense to a certain dollar amount, was able to provide some monetary support the month Jerry paid for his medications out-of-pocket.

Jerry says the River Valley Nursing Center and their staff made him feel hopeful, happy and grateful! “Just being able to get and stay on Pristiq was huge all by itself. There’s a good chance I wouldn’t be able to hold a job long-term without it, and that would risk yet another round of homelessness. The meds allow me to focus and concentrate on my own work and projects.” ~Jerry 

Client Story | Kathy, 50 Years Old

For the past two and a half years, Kathy has been coming to our Chaska location on an almost weekly basis. She suffers from Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent Episode, Severe and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Kathy has built a trusting relationship with the nurses and looks forward to visiting or counseling with the nurse on Tuesdays. She does not have a support system of friends or family. She is vulnerable and lives alone in a small one-room apartment in Chaska.

Kathy has Medical Assistance and pays minimal copays for medications (i.e. $3.00). She is currently undergoing Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) weekly for her PTSD, which is fully covered under Medical Assistance. Kathy has a primary physician that she sees on a regular basis for health prevention, physicals, and mammograms. She also has dental insurance, Health Partners, basic plan through the
state, which covers exams one time per year, but nothing extra. She is living on General Assistance through the state; which is approximately $203 per month. Her rent is $61 per month and subsidized by the county. Her utilities are $32 per month. This leaves Kathy with approximately $110 per month for all other expenses (i.e. food, clothing, gas, car insurance, etc).

The following are a list of Kathy’s needs that have been met or are in progress:

  • We assisted Kathy with completing the necessary paperwork for obtaining an EBT card, energy assistance, cash assistance, and reduced rent affordable to her minimum income. We worked with the CAP Agency to obtain these services for Kathy. We also helped her with social security disability, and appeals of disability denials. We referred her to Disability Specialists who is assisting her with getting ready for her court date and will represent her in court for her disability case.
  • We assisted Kathy in obtaining a free cell phone with 250 free minutes each month. This is a program available thru the State of Minnesota.
  • Through our connection with Love, INC, we were able to fully furnish Kathy’s apartment and help her to get free personal care items, household supplies and cleaning supplies. Prior to receiving items from Love, INC, all Kathy had in her apartment was a tattered futon, a soiled twin mattress on the floor, torn sheets, one torn bath towel, and one working light.
  • Prior to making arrangements with Love, INC for personal hygiene products, we would give her vouchers for shampoo, soap, vitamins, and other over-the-counter prescriptions provided by the Park Nicollet Pharmacy in Chanhassen.
  • Using our family fund, we were able to pay for three months of Kathy’s car insurance. This allowed her to remain insured and provide her with the means to get to her appointments.
  • We assisted her in arranging for regular psychiatric visits/therapy, as well as transportation to and from her appointments when she was unable to drive her car due to a then lapse in car insurance coverage.
  • We provided her with vouchers from a local hair salon.
  • We connected Kathy with Bountiful Basket in Chaska, a food shelf she goes to on a monthly basis as well as Fare For All.
  • We encouraged her to find a church as she was seeking spiritual support. Kathy now attends a church on a weekly basis as well as a weekly Bible study.
  • She attends Project Community Connect (PCC) annually.
  • During Kathy’s weekly visits to the River Valley Nursing Center, the nurse monitors her weight to ensure no noticeable changes. The nurse helps to keep her accountable for taking her medications and monitors her overall wellbeing; physically and mentally and provides her with much-needed encouragement. We also help with phone calls and/or paperwork she needs completed, or whatever is on her mind that day.
  • We contacted Carver County to obtain a card for SmartLink transportation to and from appointments, while she was unable to afford car insurance.
  • Her current Case Worker from Carver County, who is a Mental Health Practitioner, meets with Kathy one time per month. She encourages Kathy to come for a weekly visit with the RVNC. She has driven Kathy to the RVNC several times over the last year.
  • Kathy’s Case Worker also set her up with an Arms Worker, a social worker through Carver County, who is with her for practical purposes. This Arms Worker meets with her one time a week, for two to three hours. She is someone for Kathy to talk to, run errands, and usually have a beverage and a treat each week. She also helps Kathy with whatever she is able.
  • Kathy goes to NAMI, but only about two to three times per year. She is aware of their calendar, through Carver County Mental Health.

The River Valley Nursing Center regular visits have allowed Kathy to become more independent and accountable, thus keeping her out of the hospital. She was in the hospital for two months in 2013 because of wanting to commit suicide due to major depression. Kathy has called the crisis line only twice earlier this year, but knows to call for help without acting. When she calls the crisis line, a note is sent to her Case Worker at Carver County and she follows-up with her. Kathy has gained confidence in many aspects of her life, as she doesn’t appear to be as vulnerable and readily uses the resources that RVNC has set-up for her.

“River Valley Nursing Center has provided me with emotional support that has been invaluable, provided me with wonderful resources, a listening ear, and especially practical day to day advice to help me emotionally and physically stay well as I wait for Social Security Disability Insurance.” ~ Kathy

Client Story | Grace, 70 Years Old

Grace first heard about us at the Project Community Connect event in September 2015. Project Community Connect (PCC) is a collaborative effort where various community resources come together for a day to provide information and services to those that are homeless, near homeless or needing assistance. Some of the services provided that day were: haircuts, mammograms, medical appointments, housing support, dental appointments, food assistance, etc. All services provided that day were free!

Grace came to the event looking for help with vision and dental care. Because there was a limited number of vision vouchers available that day and Grace was unable to obtain one the day of the PCC event. She was referred to the River Valley Nursing Center to obtain a voucher and talk through her other medical concerns. Grace has Medicare but does not have vision or dental coverage, therefore leaving her underinsured in these aspects of her healthcare. Grace lives in a trailer park in Chaska
with her husband who is disabled.

The following week, Grace presented to the RVNC and was offered to have a dental appointment set-up at Southside Dental in Minneapolis. Because Grace is fearful of driving “into the city” she has chosen to decline the appointment. We also provided her with dates and times for Sharing and Caring Hands dental services.

Every six months we work with VSP to obtain a limited number of vouchers for our clients. When we give the vouchers to clients we are required to complete the information and make the appointment for them. Eligible clients must have a social security number. Grace was given a VSP voucher for a complimentary eye exam and a free pair of glasses. Grace had not had an eye exam or new glasses in nearly 10 years.

We also connected Grace to Love, INC to obtain household supplies like cleaners, dish soap, towels, sheets, pillows and personal care products. Our nurse made an appointment for her at Bountiful Basket for three days later, and she was not previously aware of this food support service. We provided her with information about Fare For All. Grace was given vouchers for Tylenol and Advil to be filled for free at the Park Nicollet
Pharmacy in Chanhassen. We were also able to give her a haircut voucher as she stated she had not had her hair cut in years because it was too expensive. She is saving the haircut voucher to use right before Christmas.

Grace later returned to the RVNC to say “thank you” to the staff for helping her. She also wanted to show off her new glasses! She was able to get trifocal lenses and commented that she can’t believe how much better she can see!

“I like it because it is in the community, local, and easy to get to. It’s convenient. The staff is very helpful and nice. I was treated really well here.” ~ Grace

Client Story | Juan, 30 Years Old

Juan and his wife, Maria, first presented to the River Valley Nursing Center in the spring of 2015 because he had a sore throat for approximately 25 days. He also wanted his blood glucose and hemoglobin checked. Our nurse and interpreter made an appointment through Carver County, Clinic Connect with Ridgeview Clinic in Chanhassen for the following day. The Clinic Connect program is for onetime visits and they can usually be seen the same day or the next day. It includes a free clinic visit with a clinician. In the same visit to the RVNC, he was looking for resources for a dental clinic for his wife and him. We made appointments for both of them at Community Dental Clinic for cleaning and x-rays. The soonest he could get into that appointment was a month out. We provided him with vouchers to Park Nicollet Pharmacy in Chanhassen for over-the-counter Tylenol, Advil, and cough drops. Juan and his wife are both undocumented, they have three children. Their children were born in the United States and have medical insurance. He makes approximately $10 per hour at his job.

We made an appointment for Juan and Maria to be seen at Community Dental Care. After their dental visit, Juan and Maria returned and provided a receipt for the dental services. Using our family fund, we were able to reimburse Juan and his wife $160, which is half of the combined visit expense.

Juan came to the RVNC again at the end of June presenting with vomiting and diarrhea. Our nurse advised him to go to Target Clinic in Chaska. Target Clinic then referred him to go to the local Emergency Department. Fearing the cost of an ER visit, they decided to go home and see how he was feeling. The next day, his wife made an appointment at Northpoint Clinic in Minneapolis and he was seen there. Northpoint gave him a prescription of Cipro and said lab results would be available in seven days. After taking one pill and continuing to get worse, Maria took him to the Ridgeview 212 Emergency Department. After several labs and a CT scan, Juan was diagnosed with Salmonella poisoning. He received a bill for over $6,000.

Distraught and very overwhelmed with the amount of the bill, Juan and Maria came back to the RVNC for assistance in helping with the bill. Our Bi-lingual Spanish Interpreter was able to call Ridgeview and speak with the account representative. She was told that the payment plan they would be establishing is $167.82/month for 36 months. Juan could not afford this and was fearful of having his wages garnished. Our Interpreter sat down with Juan and found in his wallet a limited insurance card through his temporary job that he did not realize he had. The nurse at the RVNC worked with Ridgeview to provide that insurance information. In the meantime, the Interpreter also applied for Emergency Medical Assistance for Juan.

Juan’s Emergency Medical Assistance was approved.  We worked with Ridgeview Medical Center to submit this claim to Emergency Medical Assistance. 

Client Story | Tell a Friend

Following a recent employment lay-off, Sharon was referred to the CAP agency’s food shelf. There the food shelf volunteer listened as Sharon told her of some “itchy bumps” on the back of her head. The volunteer suggested she go to the Nursing Center for an assessment of her problem. Following a thorough assessment, including her housing situation, it was determined that she should have her carpets cleaned and a new mattress for possible allergies. A referral to FISH (Families and Individuals Sharing Hope) resulted in a new bed, mattress, box spring and frame as she had been sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. She was also able to get her carpets cleaned. A referral from the Nursing Center to St. Francis’s Urgent Care provided her services as part of the St. Francis Community Care program as well as our Nursing Center’s assistance with payment of medications as prescribed.