Health Advocacy

Our El Centro Health Consumer Center helped a 76 year-old, Spanish-speaking man enroll in Medi-Cal, enabling him to access coverage for an urgent medical procedure.

Gabriel Medina, Jr.

Gabriel Medina, Jr. received an urgent medical procedure removing a stomach tube after CRLA staff in El Centro helped him enroll in Medi-Cal.

In 2012 76-year-old Gabriel Medina moved from California to Texas to live in an extended care facility near his children.  However, several months later, he contacted his wife in California asking for help because he was receiving extremely substandard medical treatment.  Ms. Medina worked quickly to move her husband to back to California.  After an exhausting move, Mr. Medina went to the emergency room for medical treatment including medication prescription and a stomach tube removal. 

The emergency room referred Mr. Medina to an El Centro doctor to remove the tube from his stomach, but the doctor denied care to Mr. Medina because he couldn’t pay for his treatment and wasn’t enrolled in a California medical assistance plan.  The Medinas scrambled to find help.  They repeatedly visited the Imperial County Department of Social Services (ICDSS) and made countless phone calls to unresponsive government agencies.  The couple did arrange for Medi-Cal coverage, but there was a 30-day delay to establish residency in California.  Mr. Medina’s treatment couldn’t wait.  The stomach tube had become a significant health concern.

Veronica Tamayo, CRLA El Centro Community Worker, stands with Gabriel Medina, Jr.

Veronica Tamayo, CRLA El Centro Community Worker, stands with Gabriel Medina, Jr.

Desperately looking for answers, the Medinas came to CRLA’s El Centro office.  “Gabriel came into our office exhausted from both his medical issues and unsuccessfully navigating the California healthcare system,” Veronica Tamayo, a CRLA El Centro Community Worker.  “He didn’t have 30 days to wait for his benefits to kick-in.  Our office needed to help this man right away.”

Veronica contacted the program manager at ICDSS and got Mr. Medina an interview a few days later.  After the interview, Mr. Medina received medical coverage right away.  The stomach tube was removed and he is receiving proper ongoing care.  CRLA also helped enroll Mr. Medina in a Medicare Part D plan for prescription medications as part of his continued path to wellness.

Today, Mr. Medina is in much better health and is appreciative for both his wellbeing and CRLA’s assistance.  "We are very grateful to Veronica and CRLA,” said Mr. Medina.  “We don't know what we would have done.  Now, with their help, we can move forward."

Our El Centro office has worked with hundreds of clients like Mr. Medina.  In 2006 CRLA joined the Health Consumer Alliance.  The Alliance is a healthcare advocacy program funded by the California Department of Managed Health and the California Endowment.  Our Health Consumer Center work is part of CRLA’s commitment to Human Health and Wellbeing.  To date we have saved clients $2,762,748 in immediate remedies obtained by heroes like Veronica and the El Centro staff.  Click here to learn more.



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