CareATC Meets Health Care Needs for Cook Children’s Employees
By Jean Yaeger
Workers in the health field often aren’t comfortable in the role of the patient. Faced with their own illness or injury, they might disregard symptoms or wait for problems to go away.
But what happens when medical helpers need medical help?
“We are a servanthood profession, and by nature, we have always put others’ needs before our own,” said Cassandra Muff, FNP-BC, at the CareATC Fort Worth-Henderson clinic. “Health care providers tend to either minimize their health needs or they prioritize other things in their personal time.”
No matter what job they do, there can be many reasons that people delay going to the doctor: inconvenient locations, high cost of deductibles or co-pays, and long waits for an appointment. But Cook Children’s wants to make access to health care easy and affordable for all employees of the system.
Cook Children’s contracts with CareATC to provide inexpensive primary care, close to where you live or work, for employees and their covered spouses and dependents ages 18 and older. Services include preventive care like physicals and well-woman exams. Visits for illness, minor injuries and mental health are also available. Depending on your enrollment plan, the cost is either covered 100% by Cook Children’s or $10 per visit.
Cassandra and Shital Chavda, M.D., are welcoming new patients at 500 S. Henderson St., near Cook Children’s Medical Center. Both said that health care providers sometimes balk at getting treatment for their own health issues.
“If you’re caring for hospitalized children, then your own knee pain isn’t a priority, in comparison,” Cassandra said. “When you stratify severity on a huge scale, proportionally some of your complaints are minimal. But you should still take time to address them."
In her experience, Dr. Chavda said, many times people who work in health care minimize the severity of their medical problems because they are busy taking care of others. But by waiting – with a urinary tract infection, for instance – the problem might get severe.
Dr. Chavda and Cassandra want to encourage Cook Children’s employees to take advantage of their close proximity and availability. If you don’t have a family practice provider, come and try out CareATC. Appointments are required and can be made on the CareATC mobile app, the Patient Portal at www.careatc.com/patients, or by calling 1-800-993-8244.
“If you can just take some time to take care of yourself for a little bit, you’ll be stronger and healthier to take care of other people,” Dr. Chavda said.
Employee Assistance Program
Alicia Hooper, LCSW offers therapy at the CareATC Fort-Worth Henderson site through the Cook Children’s Employee Assistance Program. Employees and family members ages 12 and older are allowed six free counseling appointments with Alicia per situation, per year. She also provides therapy for couples.
She describes a lingering stigma that might prevent people from seeking out counseling for stress, depression or other struggles with mental well-being. It’s difficult to ask for help, Alicia pointed out.
Health care workers might hesitate to nurture their own health because it requires stepping away from patient care or family, she said. “It feels like to put ourselves first, we take away from someone else sometimes.” Another roadblock? "It's often easier to suggest changes for others to make, rather than to maintain consistent change in our own lives."