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Cruz and Carlos

Finding health care for the whole family

Cruz and Carlos’ daughter Lupita was born with a malformation in her lung. Shortly after her birth, Lupita was hospitalized with pneumonia for 15 days. Once Lupita was back home, Cruz began experiencing pain, but she attributed it to stress about her daughter’s health and upcoming surgery to repair her lung.

Cruz’s pain was more than stress. On February 1, Cruz had gallstone surgery on the same day her daughter had lung surgery. Then, while they were both recovering at home in Roseville, Cruz’s father died in El Salvador. Describing those stressful months still brings Cruz to tears.

When Cruz and Lupita left the hospital, the family tried to work with the county themselves to get help with paying the hospital bills, but they couldn’t get everything resolved. That’s when they contacted Portico Healthnet, a United Way partner agency that helps the uninsured gain access to affordable health coverage and care and provides culturally competent staff members for diverse populations.

“Working with the county was so difficult,” said Cruz, through a translator. “There weren’t any Spanish speaking staff members, and the social worker wasn’t often available. When I spoke to Victoria at Portico, she said, ‘You’ve been through enough. Let me take care of it.’”

Every six months, Cruz and Carlos must renew their medical assistance for their three children. Portico helps them fill out the complicated paperwork and recently helped the family enroll in MNSure. Carlos, a seasonal laborer, used to have health insurance through his employer, but that benefit was dropped several years ago.

Cruz says that what she likes best is that Victoria will call her and then call the county, so they can have a three-way call with Victoria navigating and translating so Cruz is informed about what is happening.

Today, Lupita is learning to walk and her doctor says she is doing well. “Everyone at Portico has helped us,” said Carlos.

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