Helping a New Vermonter and Her Child in a Time of Family Crisis

Jessica* recently came to Vermont with her child to escape domestic violence in a different state. Their first essential need was for housing, and they worked with the Burlington-based Steps to End Domestic Violence human services organization to find temporary housing.

The Health Assistance Program at UVM Medical Center

Burlington, Vermont

But gaining access to health care in Vermont was a different matter. That’s where the Health Assistance Program (HAP) at the University of Vermont Medical Center stepped in. HAP – one of the nine member clinics of Vermont’s Free and Referral Clinics (VFRC) – offers benefits screening, financial assistance for medications, and other services to ensure equitable access to quality health care for everyone.

Because Jessica and her child had Medicaid coverage in their former state of residence, they had to get a letter from that state to obtain coverage in Vermont. In the meantime, the pair had an urgent need for medication, and their advocates at HAP were able to help cover the full cost of that medication through the UVM Medical Center’s Affordable Medications program.

Then HAP case manager, Jason Fine, took the next step on Jessica’s behalf.

“I made a conference call to Vermont Health Connect/Green Mountain Care and spoke to a Health Access Eligibility Unit (HAEU) representative. Presented with a reasonable explanation of Jessica’s situation, the HAEU staff member was able to activate Vermont Medicaid coverage for the family within 24 hours,” Fine said.

Jessica was deeply grateful for the immediate support HAP was able to provide.

“With just a one-hour phone call,” she told Jason Fine, “HAP was able to do more for my child and I than other services have been able to accomplish in a much longer period of time.”

*The patient’s name has been changed to respect privacy, protect identity, and assure confidentiality.