August 14, 2019
The Caribbean island of Grenada, nestled on the ocean just off the coast of Venezuela, is roughly 2,600 miles away from Denton. Traveling that sort of distance could give anyone the culture shock of a lifetime. Years ago, Racheal Stewart, a native of Grenada, made that trip. Yet despite the differences and difficulties she’s experienced since moving to Texas, Racheal always feels at home whenever she visits Health Services of North Texas
“How often do you get your doctor to call you back?” Racheal says with a laugh. “Usually a nurse or a medical assistant does it, but Dr. Siegel calls. Edward Gelber calls. Joseph Hallock calls…for me, that’s personal. You’re not getting a voice message.”
When she first came to Texas, Racheal had no insurance. She had applied for Medicaid assistance, and it was granted for her three children, but not for herself. Once she discovered HSNT and the sliding-scale fee system that they offer, Racheal knew she had found a place where she could get the care she needed.
“[The sliding-scale] was, above all, the best. They accommodated me, they didn’t treat me like a subservient – a lot of people, if you have Medicaid or no insurance, they treat you badly…. Here, you come in, and they’re like ‘What can you afford? Are you employed? Let’s work with you.’ A lot of places don’t do that.”
Along with being a mother of three, Racheal is a survivor of domestic violence. She was able to escape that situation with her children, and despite experiencing such a hardship, Racheal draws upon it to help people and to better understand them.
“You can’t treat people poorly, because you don’t know what they’re going through. You know, I have rods in my shoulders and knees, and I went to work every day whether I felt like it or not, because I knew if my smile and my positive attitude can give one person help…you just never know.”
Racheal is now gainfully employed, having gathered a wealth of experience working in all kinds of medical fields. She no longer needs to utilize the sliding-scale fee. But still, she keeps coming back.
“Coming here is like coming to my family, knowing that I’m going to get the best care for myself and my children…. Why would you want to leave a place that gives you grace in your hardest time?”