February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month and in honor of this occasion Tri-County Health Network would like to highlight its effort to combat heart disease in our rural, underserved region. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. — 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. Fortunately, heart disease is preventable when people manage their health care effectively and make better, healthier decisions in daily life.

Recent research indicates that Community Health Workers contribute to significant improvements in a clients’ adherence to treatment for health issues such as hypertension. Read the story below to see an example of how one CHW, in her own words, was able to make a difference in someone’s life.

“A 53-year-old, uninsured Hispanic woman met with our bilingual-bicultural CHW at a local library. She learned about the program from a friend that had utilized CHW services. At the time of the encounter the woman weighed 182 pounds and her blood pressure was 160/106. She did not have a primary care provider. Our CHW referred the woman to a TCHNetwork co-worker that helps people sign up for Medicaid. She also gave the woman a list of area providers that accepts Medicaid and, after discussing diet and other causes and effects of hypertension, told the woman that it was very important that she see a doctor about her blood pressure. After her CHW encounter the woman successfully signed up for Medicaid (through TCHNetwork) and made an appointment with a primary care provider. The next time our CHW checked in with the woman she had lost 14 pounds and, with the help of medication and diet, her blood pressure is now 130/79. The woman chooses to remain in contact with the CHW in order to take advantage of CHW peer-support to meet lifestyle goals and medication adherence. A handwritten testimony arrived at our main office crediting the CHW with the skills to help educate and support her attaining her health goals.”