Learning a new language can be challenging enough.
Trying to navigate the American health-care system at the same time is all the more daunting.
Promise Community Health Center personnel did what it could to ease that transition. Clinic manager Brittany Hamm and outreach coordinator Jessica Mora gave a presentation on Monday, Jan. 12, to students in Sioux Center High School’s newcomer class. The 14 students in the class then toured Promise’s medical and dental facilities.
“The presentation and tour provided students with information that will not only benefit them but also their families,” said English Language Learner teacher Faby Castelan, who teaches the yearlong class with fellow ELL teacher Nancy Widbin.
She noted that students learned about what rights they have, how to make an appointment, what services are available to them and what to expect when they arrive at Promise or a different health facility.
“The students learned a lot of valuable information, and I believe they feel more comfortable with Promise because they now understand what to expect,” Castelan said.
Hamm said other topics that were discussed included how medical clinics and hospitals differ, when patients should go to a clinic instead of an emergency room for care and how to get the medications that they need. She explained their rights to make choices regarding medical or dental procedures and their right to have an interpreter provided.
They also provided general health information, emphasizing the importance of people going to the doctor for preventive checkups rather than just when they are sick.
“We would like to shift that mindset,” Hamm said.
The students also learned specific information about Promise, including its sliding-fee scale, which bases patients’ costs on their ability to pay. For people who qualify based on income, the minimum payments are $25 for medical appointments and $50 for dental visits.
Hamm and Mora, who is bilingual, then led the students on tours of Promise’s facilities, with clinical assistant Daisy Nava also assisting with interpretation.
“The tour’s purpose was to help them feel comfortable with coming to Promise and accessing health care,” Hamm said.