CCRA’s Tess Staton dubbed “Get-it-done kind of woman”

Bobby was extremely frustrated and wasn’t sure how to proceed. I asked Bobby if he would like my assistance, which he gladly accepted.

I have been working with Bobby as his care coordinator since August of 2018. Bobby and I are relatively close in age and we were both born and raised in Juneau. It’s been a good fit as we have a lot in common and we’re able to connect on many levels. Recently in conversing with each other we also realized that my mother was one of his former special education teachers, whom he was very fond of; which has only made our bond even more special.

Last year, when visiting Bobby at the pool while he was utilizing his day habilitation services, his REACH direct support staff, Alan, asked if there was a way we could get Bobby a new wheelchair. Alan explained that he lent Bobby the wheelchair he was using because his Medicaid wheelchair had become unusable, and the loaner was starting to fall apart. I encouraged Bobby, who is an independent young man despite his physical limitations, to contact his primary physician in order to obtain a referral to physical therapy so that he could be prescribed a new wheelchair that would be paid for by Medicaid.

Bobby followed my recommendation and made an appointment. However, his primary physician was on leave and had been for several months, and the physician covering for him didn’t feel comfortable writing Bobby the referral; even though he physically showed him how his wheelchair was falling apart at the seams. When I spoke to Bobby a few days after his appointment, he was extremely frustrated by this interaction and wasn’t sure how to proceed. I asked Bobby if he would like my assistance with this matter, which he gladly accepted.

I immediately contacted the doctor’s office and explained the situation to them. Within a day they followed up with Bobby and provided a referral to physical therapy. I also contacted Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL), which has an equipment loan closet. I helped him fill out SAIL’s paperwork, and later accompanied him and Alan to their first meeting to ensure he was comfortable and got the equipment he truly needed.

After the appointment, when helping Bobby and Alan load the new loaned wheelchair into his car, they both expressed their appreciation for my assistance. Alan commented on his amazement that, less than a week after Bobby had spoken to me about the challenges, I helped him resolve the issue by getting him the referral he needed AND helped him obtain a loaner wheelchair to use in the meantime. He reported that on the way to the appointment Bobby and he had determined that I was a “Get-it-done kind of woman;” with which I proudly agreed. I’m happy to report that Bobby has received his new Medicaid wheelchair!