OurHealth Patient Success: Jim’s Story

Jim Sturgeon says he never imagined the discomfort he felt in his chest signaled a far more serious problem.

“I was having sporadic chest pains off and on for a couple of weeks,” he says. “Initially, it started as a pressure in my chest. I had never felt it before, but I didn’t think it was my heart.”

Jim says it wasn’t really a sharp pain, but more of a dull pressure that initially lasted for a few moments. But after the symptoms became more frequent and long-lasting, he decided to seek medical help.

Jim saw nurse practitioner Elizabeth Jernagan during his initial visit at OurHealth @ Haynes Health Care Center, which he could access through his employer benefits at Haynes International in Kokomo, Indiana.

“She examined me and said, ‘You need to go and take a stress test,’” Jim says.

Two days later Jim went in for a cardiac ECG test, which involves walking on a treadmill while sensors measure how the heart responds to stress. He says he was on the treadmill for less than a minute before the nurse rushed to get a doctor.

“He looked at the monitors and said, ‘Stop, you need to sit down,’” Jim says. “They gave me nitroglycerin to calm my heart down and then started prepping me to be taken to the cardiology catheter unit to have an emergency procedure performed where they went up through my groin and put three stents in arteries coming out the right side of my heart. The following Tuesday I went back and they put two stents in the left side.”

What Jim didn’t realize is he was on the verge of having a heart attack. He says he’s fortunate Elizabeth immediately recognized his symptoms.

“It was primarily Elizabeth who diagnosed me,” he says. “Who knows if I would have died or had some major problem. I feel very fortunate Elizabeth was there and told me what to do. She very well may have saved my life.”

Jim says the fact that he was able to quickly schedule an appointment at OurHealth @ Haynes Health Care Center was another factor.

“I called that morning and got in that afternoon,” he says.

Today, Jim says he’s feeling much better – he’s started exercising regularly and he’s changed his diet. Most importantly, he says his heart wasn’t permanently damaged.

“I’m not ready to run a marathon but having blood flow to all regions of my heart is awesome,” he says. “This was a huge wake-up call. I got in at the right time and hopefully I now have a new lease on life.”

OurHealth Patient Success: Brandy’s Story

I first visited MyClinic @ Northlake approximately three years ago. Honestly, I’m not sure if I remember exactly why, but it was either to get my biometric screening or due to a cold. I can access the clinic through my husband’s employer benefits with the City of Charlotte.

At the time, I wasn’t actively in control of my health and was more than frustrated by the climbing co-pay every time I stepped into a doctor’s office. We heard we could access the Charlotte MyClinic network with no copay, and I admit I was more than skeptical at first. I thought, “There’s no way this is quality healthcare if there’s no copay and there are so many locations to choose from.” Reluctantly, though, and because I had lost hope in my previous primary care physician, I decided to schedule an appointment.

When I first met Dr. Teressa Watts, I was blown away. She is very attentive, knowledgeable and personable. At some point early on in our medical relationship, I ended up asking Dr. Watts, “So, could you be my primary doctor?” And thus, it began.

Before becoming Dr. Watts’ patient, I was already diagnosed with bipolar disorder, hypertension, prediabetes, anxiety and endometriosis with PCOS. I requested for all of my medical records to be sent to Dr. Watts and updated her on all my present-day medical conditions. It’s quite a laundry list of conditions to take on from a brand-new patient, but I think she could tell I was struggling to find a doctor that I could connect with, confide in and have hope in.

Shortly thereafter, I had an onset of tough allergies that I didn’t even know I had. I went through months of difficult breathing, chronic sinus infections and headaches. After several treatments of inhalers, nebulizers and steroids, Dr. Watts referred me to Carolina Asthma & Allergy—it was a real game changer! I’m now receiving two allergy injections weekly and haven’t suffered a sinus infection in over a year. I’m so thankful that Dr. Watts didn’t continue to drag out one round of antibiotics after another and one inhaler on top of the other. She realized something else was going on and was quick to refer me to an allergist. The entire process was very seamless.

My next obstacle – weight loss. Boy, what a challenge that is! Dr. Watts has never made me feel inferior or badly about my weight. She has always listened to every single complaint and treated each one individually while educating me on its relation to my overall health. Around the latter part of 2017, I voiced my sincerest desire to Dr. Watts to be healthier and lose weight. She was very realistic with me and explained that I shouldn’t expect too much from myself over the holiday season. She told me that it’s one small decision after another, and I have to tackle a different task daily and take small steps towards that giant goal. I made some drastic changes in my diet in January of 2018 and in February I joined Weight Watchers. By June, I had successfully lost over 60 pounds and couldn’t wait to see Dr. Watts again and show her.

At my most recent biometric screening, my waist is the smallest it has been in two years, my blood pressure is spectacular, I’m no longer at risk for prediabetes and my allergies are very well-managed.

Since becoming a patient of the OurHealth clinic, I’ve been able to find a wonderful balance for all of my different medications and for the first time in my life, I feel completely in control of my health. I know that I have a lot of work left to do, but I’m hopeful and supported in reaching my goals.

Dr. Watts and I communicate often on the OurHealth portal, in person and via phone consultations. I believe she has a vested interest in me, my health and my well-being. Dr. Watts understands my nuances and how particular I am about seeing different providers. She knows that I drive 45 minutes one way just to see her and she is always very respectful of my time with her.

I used to dread going to the doctor’s office. I used to feel completely hopeless—as if a good doctor didn’t even exist. The availability and accessibility of the OurHealth clinic cannot be matched. From the immediate sick visits at any of their locations, to the delivery of prescriptions from HomeMeds, I’m beyond impressed and so thankful. If I still feared having to call a doctor or drag myself into their office, there’s no doubt I would not be in such a healthy state of mind and body like I am now.

Thank you, Dr. Watts, and to each and every nurse and phone representative I’ve ever encountered at OurHealth! I’ve literally never had a single negative or unpleasant experience in over three years. Dr. Watts, Lori Buckner, Teresa Watson, Beth Scheck and Nichelle Simpson have changed my life. I’m so humbled and beyond blessed to be their patient (their favorite patient, I’m sure!).

– Brandy Teets, OurHealth Patient

OurHealth Patient Success: Adam’s Story

Adam Finn of Indianapolis says he struggled with obesity for most of his adult life. Several unsuccessful attempts at weight loss over the years left him feeling jaded, so he never imaged a routine medical appointment with OurHealth would be the catalyst for significant change.

Adam first visited OurClinic @ Woodland in August of 2018 for a medication consultation. The clinic provides onsite primary care and wellness services for Genesys employees in Indianapolis.

During his consultation, Adam saw Tish Lynch, a physician assistant at OurHealth. Tish performed routine lab work that revealed he had high blood sugar and elevated levels of fat in his liver, also referred to as fatty liver disease.

Tish warned Adam that if left untreated, fatty liver disease can cause serious damage to the liver. It was a stark wake-up call, to say the least.

Adam says Tish then suggested he meet with Debbie Richardson, a certified health coach with OurHealth.

“I was a little skeptical at first because I’ve been on a weight rollercoaster for probably 15 years and I’ve been on huge swings,” he says. “I didn’t know that a health coach would be able to tell me anything I didn’t already know. I figured ‘Hey, it’s here, it’s a resource so I’ll give it a shot.’”

Getting Back on Track

Adam began meeting regularly with Debbie to chart a healthy path forward, which involved improving his diet and getting more exercise. Rather than taking drastic steps and cutting out entire food groups, Adam says they took a more practical approach and focused on moderation.

“I haven’t eliminated anything from my diet,” he says. “Now, I’m really focused on portions. Debbie has helped me realize and helped hold me accountable that if I want some cookies, I’ll just have two.”

Adam says being held accountable to someone outside of his close circle of friends and family played a major role in his success.

“In the back of my mind, I want to perform well and show results,” he says. “So, that’s just an intrinsic factor that keeps me going.”

While he needed help getting his diet under control, Adam says Tish’s warning was all the motivation he needed to start moving.

“I’ve been on a complete tear,” he says. “I haven’t missed a day of exercise in 80 days, whether it’s walking, elliptical, running or weight lifting. It’s just been a huge change.”

Within five months of starting health coaching with OurHealth, Adam says he’s shed an impressive 50 pounds, his liver is healthy and his blood sugar has dropped to a normal level. More importantly, he feels like he has a new outlook on life.

“What’s different this time about any other weight loss I’ve gone through is the confidence I’ve gained through my interactions, and I’ve realized I don’t need to be so negative on myself,” he says. “What’s happened in the past has happened. I can’t change that.”

Adam says he’s confident he’ll continue to lead a healthy lifestyle and is excited about the future. Ultimately, he’s grateful to have Debbie and the clinic staff located onsite at Genesys.

“Everybody has been super friendly,” he says. “It’s been an excellent experience and I would recommend it to anybody.”

OurHealth Patient Success: Andrenetta’s Story

For years, Andrenetta Galloway of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department suffered from “strange” health symptoms that included unexplained rashes, severe leg and foot pain, debilitating headaches and extreme fatigue.

At first, the symptoms would come and go, but overtime they became so severe she could no longer function. Desperate to find the cause of her agony, Andrenetta says she visited four different doctors, but none seemed to understand what was wrong.

“I had been on multiple medications and none of them were working,” she says. “They’d do basic blood work and say, ‘We can’t find anything serious to be worried about.’”

But Andrenetta clearly knew something was wrong.

“I was missing a lot of work and lost a lot of weight,” she says. “I was so sick and couldn’t get any information on what was wrong with me. I didn’t know if I had cancer or what. I was scared to death.”

One day, Andrenetta saw a flyer hanging in the police department promoting OurHealth benefits for City of Charlotte employees and decided to schedule an appointment.

She met with Dr. Teressa Watts, OurHealth regional medical director, during her initial appointment, and admits she was surprised by her in-depth questioning.

“At the time, I was kind of laughing that she wanted to know my entire life history,” Andrenetta says. “But I was thinking in the back of my mind, ‘What if I find out what’s wrong with me?’”

Near the end of her appointment, Dr. Watts asked Andrenetta if she’d ever been tested for lupus.

“She said, ‘I really feel like we need to explore it,’” Andrenetta says. “She told me what the testing would involve and gave me really in-depth information. I was satisfied with what she said as far as the route we were going to take. For once, it felt like someone was trying to help me.”

The test results confirmed Dr. Watts’ suspicion, and Andrenetta was diagnosed with lupus.

She’s now in treatment and has to have infusion therapy a couple of times per month, but ultimately, she feels significantly better.

“I’m not going to say I’m 100 percent now, but I’m 100 percent better than I was before I started dealing with Dr. Watts at the clinic,” she says. “I’m on a lot of different medications, but they are the right medications.”

After four miserable years, Andrenetta says she’s relieved to know the cause of her suffering.

“I’m grateful that the City came up with this because I don’t know what shape I’d be in right now if I hadn’t started seeing Dr. Watts,” Andrenetta says. “She took the time to go the extra mile and help me.”

OurHealth Patient Success: Tom’s story

Maintenance supervisor Thomas Books was at a routine appointment to refill a prescription when Elizabeth Jernagan, a family nurse practitioner at OurHealth @ Haynes Health Care Center, asked how he’d been feeling.

“I told her that I felt like an 80-year-old man trapped in a 60-year-old body,” Books says.

Books’ symptoms included feeling tired and sluggish, and he noticed he was drained of energy by 10 a.m. each day. He mentioned those symptoms to his family doctor, but never felt like the doctor paid much attention to his concerns.

Jernagan clearly thought Books’ symptoms warranted further attention.

“She sent me to have a stress test, which I failed,” Books says. “Then they sent me to Howard Community to have a heart catheterization and the doctor said I was so blocked up that even eight stints wouldn’t open me up.”

Less than a week later, Books underwent quadruple bypass surgery in Indianapolis—a procedure that likely saved his life.

“I’m glad somebody finally listened to me,” Books says. “I like how much time they take with us – they actually have the time. I’m glad Elizabeth listened to me and I’m really happy with the referrals OurHealth gave me. It’s nice they take the time to do that.”

Now in rehab therapy, Books says he’s making solid progress in his recovery

“I feel pretty good,” he says. “I’m short-winded, which is to be expected from having quadruple bypass surgery, but I definitely feel a lot better.”

For Indiana non-profit Bosma Enterprises, an unwavering mission to help employees lead healthier lives

For more than 100 years, Bosma Enterprises has led the way in fulfilling its mission to support and serve Indiana’s citizens who are blind and visually impaired, serving nearly a thousand clients each year. Programs range from counseling and support to job training and skills development to help adults stay self-sufficient. It also operates a production, warehouse and fulfillment business that provides employment opportunities for employees with vision loss that may not otherwise be available because they face a 70-percent unemployment rate.

And although its workforce is unique – more than half of its employees experience low vision, the challenges that Bosma faces as a healthcare benefits provider are familiar to many employers: Rising healthcare costs, the increasing prevalence and cost impacts of chronic conditions such as diabetes and the need to help employees gain better access to more convenient healthcare.

Addressing cost by giving employees more

To help counteract these factors, Bosma selected OurHealth as its near-site primary clinic provider for medical plan members. Through the partnership, employees and dependents can access primary care and other healthcare services via OurHealth’s network of seven Indianapolis-area MyClinics, including MyClinic @ Traders Point, which is only about 10 minutes from Bosma Enterprises headquarters on Indianapolis’ northwest side.

 

Image courtesy of Bosma Enterprises.
“The partnership with OurHealth is a perfect example of where we can do something that is going to make it easier for our employees to get services and maintain their health,” Matlock says.

 

“We felt it might help us address the rising healthcare costs that we were experiencing as everybody else is,” says Senior Benefits Manager Joseph Matlock. “We want to help our employees maintain their health in any way we can. The other part of it was convenience and just how much easier is it if you are not feeling well when there’s a near-site clinic that you can just run to during the day versus having to get an appointment then set up your transportation for three or four days later, or having to find somebody to take you to the clinic. We felt it was a benefit we can add as far as the things that we offer to show our employees that we value them.”

The accessibility of a primary care provider where employees could receive help managing and reducing the impact of chronic conditions such as diabetes – a leading cause of blindness and vision loss – were also important factors, Matlock says.

More than just convenient healthcare

Not only does Bosma help employees access convenient healthcare, but they also help ensure employees make it to their appointments as transportation can be especially challenging for people with low vision or blindness. When and if an employee schedules a clinic appointment during work hours, Bosma provides free transportation to the clinic, helping employees keep their appointment and stay on track with preventive healthcare. The firm also encourages healthy behaviors with a wellness incentive program that encourages regular preventive primary care, vision and dental care check-ups and other amenities, including a recently opened onsite fitness center.

“We just think that as a company who cares about their employees, we want to provide the best opportunities,” Matlock says. “The partnership with OurHealth is a perfect example of where we can do something that is going to make it easier for our employees to get services and maintain their health.”

OurHealth Patient Success: Amy’s Story

Amy Fenn of Indianapolis was in a car accident in 2015 that caused her to have severe nerve pain and migraine-like headaches.

“I’ve been diagnosed with what they call occipital neuralgia,” she says.

The National Institutes of Health describes occipital neuralgia as a “distinct type of headache characterized by piercing, throbbing or electric-shock-like chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head and behind the ears.”

The pain was unrelenting, and at times so intense it caused Amy to miss work. Sometimes she worked in the dark just to minimize the pain.

“When I get the headaches, you can’t eat, you can’t drink, you feel nauseous and sometimes you get sick,” she says. “I’ve been given every pain medication under the sun. It helps for a little bit and then the pain comes back the same, if not worse.”

Amy’s primary care doctor had recently retired so she scheduled an appointment at MyClinic @ Plainfield, which she could access through her employer benefits with the Indianapolis Airport Authority. That’s when she first met Brooke Curry, a physician’s assistant at OurHealth.

“It’s funny because right before I went in to see her, I had just read an article about how duloxetine—which is a generic for Cymbalta, was being used for nerve pain, which is what I have, and which is what ends up causing my headaches.”

Curry had also read how duloxetine is being used to treat nerve pain, and asked Fenn if she’d be willing to try it out.

“Honestly, I was willing to try anything,” Amy says. “I don’t think anybody has any idea how bad it hurts.”

Amy started taking the medication, and after getting the dosage right, she says her pain diminished significantly.

“It hasn’t completely taken the pain away, but I can say I’ve had better success with this medication over the last few months than I have with any medication,” Fenn says. “It just seems to be working.”

Amy says she’s grateful for the care she received from Brooke and feels it made a substantial difference in improving her quality of life.

“Brooke actually sat down and talked to me,” Amy says. “She wanted to learn about the headaches and what I’d been taking prior to coming to see her. I want to say she spent at least 45 minutes to an hour with me on that first visit. She’s awesome and I can’t thank her enough.”

-by Mike LaFollette

OurHealth Patient Success: Mark’s Story

Officer Mark Parrott’s beat with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department keeps him in top physical shape, so he knew something was wrong when his health took a dramatic turn.

“I started having increased thirst, increased urination and I noticed weight loss after that,” Parrott says. “It progressed for almost a week and I lost close to 10 pounds.”

Parrott could access OurHealth’s MyClinic network with no co-pay through his employer benefits with the City of Charlotte, so he scheduled an appointment at MyClinic @ Wilkinson Blvd.

Parrott’s symptoms were common indicators for diabetes, so the clinic staff performed a hemoglobin A1c test to check his blood sugar. The results were shocking — his A1c was upwards of 11. An A1c of 6.5 and above indicates diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic, and Parrott was diagnosed with diabetes.

His provider started him on medication, and Parrott began checking his blood sugar daily, but his symptoms didn’t improve much. On a return visit, his provider recommended he meet with Lynn Campbell, a Certified Diabetes Educator with OurHealth.

Getting Back on Track

Campbell helped Parrott develop his diabetes self-management skills, which included taking insulin shots with each meal and monitoring his carb intake to control his blood sugar. Within a few days, he started to feel better, and after a few weeks he returned to his normal weight, but his A1c still hovered around 9.

That’s when Parrott saw an ad for a device that attaches to the skin and monitors blood glucose 24/7. He mentioned it to Campbell, and with her blessing, began using it to more accurately measure his blood sugar.

“That has helped a lot with me being able to provide accurate numbers to Lynn because before I was just pricking my finger 6 to 8 times a day, and it might have been during a low period or a high period,” Parrott says.

Within a few weeks of using the device, Parrott says his A1c dropped to 6.5. “The doctor thought that was excellent for only having diabetes for a little over a year,” he says.

Today, Parrott says he feels as good as he did before the symptoms began, and his only issue now involves the occasional dizziness that occurs when his blood sugar level drops. When he’s on patrol, Campbell suggested Parrott keep fast-acting glucose tablets on hand to bring his blood sugar back up.

“I’ve actually had to use them a number of times because sometimes it gets so low and you have nothing available to you to bring it up,” he says.

Parrott says he feels grateful to have the clinic benefit and wonders how long he would have waited for treatment if he didn’t have the option.

“In all honestly, I would have waited until I found a doctor available to take me if it had not been for the fact that OurHealth has no co-pay for me.”

Father of 6 Finds New Hope After Tragedy

Rick Huffman says he was overweight for most of his life. He noticed when people stared at him, and found comfort hiding behind baggy clothes.

The father of six works at CNO Financial in Indiana. Huffman also serves as Worship Director at his church, United Family Wesleyan, where he sings and plays keyboards and guitar. Between church and his kids’ sports, the Huffman’s would often turn to fast food.

“We were just kind of couch potatoes,” Huffman says. “You know, watching TV and ordering pizza.”

In 2007, Huffman experienced the unthinkable: His daughter died in a tragic accident. Huffman says his focus turned to comforting his family through the pain. But he found comfort in food.

“During this time, I never really weighed myself because, to be frank, I just didn’t care,” Huffman says.

Over the next few years, Huffman says he continued to eat aimlessly and gain weight. He reached 360 pounds and his waist grew to a size 44.

In 2012, CNO turned to OurHealth to provide primary care and wellness services for its employees. Huffman hadn’t seen a doctor in several years, but he decided to participate in the company’s wellness incentive program, which rewards employees who complete an annual biometric screening. His results were a stark wake-up call.

“I found out my blood pressure was high and my cholesterol was high and I was starting to develop a risk for heart disease,” Huffman says.

He began taking prescribed medication for hypertension and high cholesterol, and tried to lose weight, but he says he was mostly unsuccessful.

“It wasn’t until August 2016 when my eyes where really opened for the first time,” Huffman says. “My wife was told that due to her arthritis, if she didn’t start losing weight that she wouldn’t be able to walk later in life.”

His kids were also gaining weight, and Huffman says he realized his choices had impacted his family’s health, too.

“I needed to show my family that it wasn’t too late for us, that we could make these changes and we can change our lifestyle for the better,” he says.

A second chance

CNO’s incentive program includes free health coaching for employees who don’t meet healthy biometric targets, so Huffman decided to give it a shot and started meeting with Keena Sowers-Zinn, a health coach with OurHealth.

“She helped me to learn how to eat healthier,” Huffman says.  “I was never taught how to pick the right kind of food. She’s been the guiding light there to help me make that change.”

Huffman says Sowers-Zinn would ask him to set monthly goals. To cut back on eating out, she challenged him to buy healthy foods and eat home-cooked meals three times per week. At the end of each month, he’d report back to Zinn.

“The accountability was a big factor,” he says. “Just having that support gave me confidence I didn’t know I had. And when I did make progress, having that praise and that reassurance that you can keep going was a big help.”

Huffman says his family grilled a lot of chicken, and Sowers-Zinn recommended they always keep vegetables on hand for when the kids wanted a snack.

With his newfound confidence, Huffman started exercising at CNO’s onsite gym, eventually working his way up to 4 to 5 times per week.

Small steps, big results

Huffman admits their lifestyle changes weren’t always easy, but they stuck with it—as a family—and the results were life-changing.

“All of my children have lost weight,” he says. “We eat at home more often—we hardly ever eat out. We’re walking more and getting more activity.”

Huffman says he’s lost more than 100 pounds and trimmed his waist size by nearly 12 inches. And because he lost weight, his blood pressure and cholesterol have become manageable without medication.

“I really didn’t realize how bad I did feel until I started feeling better,” he says. “I knew I was overweight, but I didn’t think I had a big problem because I was healthy enough to do things with my kids.”

Huffman says he’s maintained his 100-pound weight loss for almost two years. But what’s most impressive is the Huffman family has lost a combined 300 pounds.

-Story by Mike LaFollette

Global auto manufacturer partners with OurHealth to improve employee quality of life

KYB Americas is the world’s largest supplier of OEM shocks and struts and considers Toyota, Subaru, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi as its main customers. KYB also has a huge aftermarket business supplying automotive parts to retailers like Advance Auto Parts and O’Reilly’s.

At the company’s 500,000-square-foot operation just south of Indianapolis in Franklin, Ind., more than 700 associates produce as many as 5,000 parts every day. Recruiting and retaining hard-working assemblymen and women and machinists is critical to maintaining their output, and company leadership saw the addition of an onsite primary care clinic as a great way to retain their edge on a global playing field. Read more