Consumer Stories

The MVBH team will be highlighting the stories of consumers throughout the course of this project. If you are interested in sharing your story please submit your story through the contact us page or email MVBH at michiganvoicesforbetterhealth@gmail.com.


Francine*-a 65 year old African American woman, was a respected community organizer, a long time employee at a social services agency, and a great advocate herself and others. She lived alone in a small apartment.

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Francine faced a variety of health challenges. She had cataracts, end stage renal disease and depression. She was overweight, asthmatic and dependent on a wheelchair.

How the health system failed Francine 

The health system failed Francine in a variety of ways. The hospital bed Medicare provided was too narrow for her large frame. She frequently fell out of bed at night and had to call 911 to have paramedics help her back into bed. She had a manual wheelchair which was not strong enough to propel it any distance by herself. She had cataracts but the doctor told her he could not operate on them because she could not get on the exam table.

Her cataracts prevented her from reading, a hobby she had enjoyed her entire life. Her continuing mobility issues prevented her from getting out into the community where she had many friends and family members. This resulted in her feeling like a prisoner in her own home. Francine couldn’t learn to transfer herself from her bed to her wheelchair because Medicare had not approved an automatic bed which could be adjusted to the right height. Instead, her narrow bed required hand cranking, a task she could not perform herself while in bed. She was also disappointed that the aides the agency sent were not adequately trained to meet her needs.

What opportunities may MI Health Link offer Francine? 

A care coordinator who can help cut through bureaucracy and resolve problems would be provided for Francine. She would have access to services that start with what she wants and focus on both her health and quality of life. She would experience increased efficiency and quality. MI Health Link would also provide her improved access to home and community based care, along with, coordination of all services in actue care, primary care, long term services and supports, behavior health care.

*Please note that the name of the consumer in this story has been changed to protect her identity. 

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