Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Phan Chung, Health Assistance Program
The night was ink black as Phan Chung stood outside her Burlington apartment gasping for breath. She wondered if she was going to die right here, the dark night sky closing in around her.
Phan had asthma, but without health insurance, she wanted to avoid a visit to the doctor’s office. The next day, when her symptoms didn’t go away, she visited the office of her primary care physician Scott Luria, M.D., where Nurse Practitioner Gabrielle Mikula prescribed medication to alleviate her symptoms.
Gabrielle also told Phan about Fletcher Allen’s Health Assistance Program, one of a coalition of free clinics statewide that help individuals who don’t have insurance at all, or don’t have enough coverage.
The local program is coordinated by Fletcher Allen’s Office of Community Health Improvement, which helps individuals gain access to a network of community providers – strengthening our organization’s network of relationships with community organizations around the region.
The Health Assistance Program made it possible for Phan to get her monthly medications for free. In addition, Fletcher Allen staff helped link Phan to a number of other assistance programs, including the Ladies First Program, which paid for Phan’s routine mammogram.
Phan, who has two teenage boys at home, sends money to her extended family back in Vietnam. Now that she has financial support for her health care needs, she is able to provide for her family and take care of herself.
As a way of thanking Fletcher Allen’s Community Health Improvement staff, Phan often drops by their offices at 128 Lakeside Avenue with a plateful of homemade eggrolls. Staff will tell you that they are the best egg rolls they have ever had.
“The Health Assistance Program helped me get the medications that I would not have been able to afford,” said Phan. “The people at Community Health Improvement helped me get the community services I needed. They helped me stay alive.”