How DMC Gave Detroiter Angela Dortch More Than Health Care

Content brought to you by Detroit Medical Center

hen a grease fire damaged her house in Detroit last year, Angela Dortch desperately needed a place to live. An unemployed single mother of six, Dortch wasn't in need of a roof over just her own head. She came with a crew.

"Two of my kids are grown and out of the house," she says. "But four of them are still with me."

Dortch and her children, ages 3, 5, 9 and 14, thus began what would become an extended shuffle among the homes of various relatives.

"We kept moving from place to place so we wouldn't wear out our welcome," Dortch recalls.

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It wasn't easy on the family, particularly with no vehicle to move them and their belongings to each new temporary living arrangement. Fortunately, things were looking up on one important front. Dortch was enrolled to start back at Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) early in the New Year to work toward completion of a degree in business administration that she started in 1991.

"I had four kids six years apart," she laughs. "I had to take a long break."

Dortch would be heading back to school in early January 2015 and hoped to line up a job shortly thereafter. To prepare for her family's soon-to-become-hectic schedule, Dortch began looking into scheduling important well-visit checkups and dentist appointments for her kids. It quickly became clear that it would be a challenge to get her four youngest children to their appointments with no car while working around their school schedules.

It was then that Dortch recalled something that she read in her Harbor Health Plan Member Handbook about complimentary transportation provided by the Detroit Medical Center. She called the number on the back of her health plan card and was able to arrange transportation for each of her four youngest children to see their primary care doctor for necessary checkups. She was also able to arrange transportation for her own visit with her primary care physician, DMC family physician Dr. Michael Ducato.

"The DMC arranged transportation for us and picked us up at various relatives' homes we were staying at," she says. "It was such a relief to get these appointments taken care of, so that when I started back to school I wasn't worried about getting them to the doctor. The DMC worked diligently with me."

On the days it was just Dortch and one or two of her children needing a ride to an appointment, the DMC would send a car. When it was four or more Dortchs, the DMC sent a van.

"If it was a short appointment, like for me to pick up my new glasses, the driver would wait," she recalls. "For longer appointments, the driver would leave, and I would call when we were done. The driver would then come back to pick us up."

Now back to school at WCCCD where she attends classes at night, Dortch is also employed with Aramark and works five-and-a-half hours a day Monday through Friday helping with facility upkeep at Regent Park Scholars in Detroit. She and her kids are also in a new home.

Dortch is thankful to the DMC and Harbor Health Plan for still another reason. By participating in the health system's wellness program, she was able to earn gift cards for taking certain proactive health measures.

"For example, I'm a woman over 40 years of age, and it's recommended that I get a mammogram," she says. "So I did. And the DMC gave me a $50 Target gift card for doing so."

Dortch earned other gift cards for additional wellness steps she took late last year, including getting a pap smear, joining a smoking cessation program and getting her kids up to date on the recommended childhood immunizations.

"This program came at a good time," she says. "Being unemployed with four kids at home, the gift cards came in handy. I was able to buy Christmas presents for my kids."

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