Campus of Change

Ending Homelessness in the Fox Valley

Bringing Health Care Home

Posted on Jan 26, 2017 by

Each week at Partnership Community Health Center’s satellite clinic at COTS, Crystal Gabrielson, a Navigator specializing in insurance enrollment, is stationed in the clinic waiting room to greet patients and advocate for their individual needs. Crystal has the important job of providing health access education to those who need help understanding their insurance, enrolling for coverage or scheduling a dental appointment. Crystal relates that “each person’s needs are different” and her role is to “advocate for them” and “eliminate stress.” 

COTS feels like “home” to her because of the relationships she builds with patients. Crystal enjoys working in an environment filled with mutual respect. She provides a welcoming presence for clinic patients, and they in turn make her feel welcome. She recalls one patient saying “we’re not used to people talking to us like we’re equal.”

One of her favorite experiences so far is having the opportunity to assist an individual who was too sick to get out of bed. Because of Crystal, this patient is back on the medications that are vital to his basic way of life. She relays “when it comes to health care, offering health access education is huge!”

As of December 31, 2016, Crystal has offered health access education to 63 individuals. 18 of these individuals now have insurance or were prevented from losing coverage. For those residing at COTS, Crystal succeeds in bringing health care home.