WELL OFF: Nurse practitioner Cathleen Jaderquist-Bassett, left, with patient Lorraine Robitaille at WellOne Primary Medical and Dental Care in Foster. Bassett said the Affordable Care Act is bringing in more insured patients.
PBN PHOTO/ MICHAEL SALERNO
By Rhonda J. Miller PBN Staff Writer
One man who is in his 30s came into the Foster office of WellOne Primary Medical and Dental Center when he finally got health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
“I sent him to the hospital. He has leukemia. He was working and didn’t treat it,” said nurse practitioner Cathleen Jaderquist-Bassett. “They did lab work and the hospital admitted him.”
That man is an extreme case of medical problems gone untreated because someone didn’t have health insurance, said Jaderquist-Bassett, but is part of a trend she has seen since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
“I don’t have numbers, but I can tell you I’m seeing more patients, men and women, coming in more routinely for a variety of conditions, like hypertension or asthma,” said Jaderquist-Bassett.
“I’m seeing more patients who have diabetes come in more regularly,” said Jaderquist-Bassett. “Without health insurance, some of the patients with diabetes couldn’t afford their medicine. Then their diabetes would get out of control and they developed kidney problems.”
The increase in patients at WellOne is reflective of the nationwide trend that’s come along with the Affordable Care Act, said MaryAnne Sapio, vice president of federal government affairs for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
“Frankly, it’s something we anticipated and we’re seeing it now,” said Sapio. “We’ve had people insured for several months now and we’re starting to see them accessing care.”
According to a June 27 video report by Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport, 5 percent of adult Americans are newly insured as of 2014, meaning they didn’t have health insurance before, but now they do. That Gallup poll was done between April 15 and June 17.
Some women who previously didn’t have health insurance used to come into the WellOne medical center for an annual cancer screening, which is available at no cost to eligible Rhode Island residents through the Women’s Cancer Screening Program, according to the R.I. Department of Health.