When Bob, a 55-year old deaf Corpus Christi man with acute Asperger’s syndrome, needed help covering the costs of his dental care, UnitedHealthcare’s Community Plan and service coordinator Lisa VanFleet, stepped in to help him back to good dental health.
Despite his disabilities, Bob has an independent spirit and has been able to live on his own with the help of his brother, Jim, who stops in to visit Bob every day to make sure he has everything he needs and to take him to all of his appointments.
When Bob used sign language to tell Jim he was worried about his teeth, Jim scheduled an appointment with a local dentist. Unfortunately, they learned that Bob had severe tooth decay and an extensive gum infection. Treatment costs were going to be well above the $500 dental coverage provided by Bob’s traditional Medicaid plan from the state.
The one piece of good news, the dentist said, was that Bob’s dental needs were so extensive he would likely qualify for the Texas Medicaid STAR+PLUS managed care program. Jim helped Bob apply and, once application was approved, he became a member of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, assigned to VanFleet.
“I went out, explained the plan benefits and did an assessment to determine what Bob needed and didn’t need,” said VanFleet. “He really just wanted dental services at the time, so he ended up going straight back to the dentist.”
Bob received antibiotics to treat his gum infection, and his teeth were all pulled and replaced with a set of dentures.
“With the pain gone, he’s like a totally different person,” VanFleet said. “The last time I saw him, he was feeling so much better.”
With Bob a member of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, Jim can also breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that his brother has a service coordinator working to make sure his needs are being met.
“Jim’s got his own job and a family to take care of, so being a full-time caregiver has been stressful for him,” VanFleet said. “But he’s totally dedicated to his brother.”
VanFleet said that every time she talks to Jim, he thanks her profusely for her work and the support that Bob is now receiving. What really surprised VanFleet was that Jim shared his story at a Houston airport.
“He just happened to be there at the same time as some UnitedHealthcare Community Plan leaders who were on their way to Corpus Christi for a town hall meeting,” she said. “He heard them talking about UnitedHealthcare Community Plan and he jumped in to tell them about how happy he was with the care and support his brother is receiving.”
VanFleet is delighted that Bob got the treatment he needed to ease his pain and improve his overall health.
“Dental disease can lead to so many other health problems. I’m glad we were able to prevent that from happening,” she said. “But I just did my job, and I’m glad we’ve been able to help him maintain his health and independence.”