The Hub Care Center News

Patient Spotlight: Meet Bob Jennings

Bob Jennings knows the life of a UPS delivery driver better than most. The Spokane resident regarded it as a lifetime career, but an unexpected event brought it to a sudden halt.

After 33 years of sitting, standing, lifting, bending, the constant in-and-out of the truck—all the things that cause common back pain—Bob fell and injured his spine.

Struggling to get care

After three surgeries, not only did his career end prematurely, permanent nerve root damage left him with chronic pain in his back and legs. His injury was an added health burden as Bob already suffers from diabetes.

“It's ironic that it's a back injury,” Bob says, “it affects my leg so much.” Gardening, barbecuing, family and travel once filled an active life. Now physically limited, he also saw his stamina diminish.

Unfortunately, he discovered he would face more problems dealing with insurance providers and state agencies. Bob explains, “I was having problems getting medical claims paid. So I was paying big out of pocket. It was just a mess.” To top it all off, his healthcare provider was acquired by another organization that didn’t accept his insurance.

Discovering Vivacity Care Center

While navigating the insurance maze, Bob found a new doctor’s office with Dr. Sarah Crow on staff, whom he’d been seeing for primary care when he initially got hurt. “She was real familiar with my situation,” he says.

But when trying to make an appointment with her, he discovered that she had joined Vivacity Care Center. For Bob, her move was perfect for him. His insurance provider was accepted at Vivacity Care Center, so moving there was an easy decision. “My first appointment was late last year.”

That first visit turned out to be a revelation. Bob found that Vivacity Care Center providers care for patients in ways he did not experience elsewhere. His appointment wasn’t the usual rush job of an assistant checking vitals followed by a quick conversation with the provider. “It just seemed like a different way of doing business.”

Bob had been taking Lyrica to treat his pain, but once out of work, he couldn’t afford the copays. When Dr. Crow found out he relied on over-the-counter NSAIDs, she found an effective, affordable alternative. It was just the first step in an overall health plan.

Taking charge of Bob’s whole health

“That's when the whole health coach thing came up,” he explains. “Sometimes you just got to realize you need a kick in the butt.” That’s health coach Heidi Beer’s job, and Bob is an eager participant.

“The biggest thing Heidi’s done for me has been accountability.” Health goals she and Bob established together, he says, will help him be able to spend more time with his family. Bob lost his father at age 19, so being there for his family is a meaningful goal for him. Bob and Heidi continue to work in partnership to achieve those goals.

He and Heidi agreed on a plan that included regular communications and small steps. Bob said, “We didn’t try to climb Mount Everest the first day. It was like baby goal steps —one leads to another leads to another leads to another, you know.”

He’s now totally committed to improving and maintaining his health.

But he doesn’t mind Heidi’s help. “Accountability is everything to me because it just motivates you to achieve your goals. You start seeing some results, then you start getting some competence and confidence—you just feel better and more. You know what I mean? You just feel better about it. ‘Oh, absolutely. I got this.’”

Apparently, he does and the plan is working. Bob now manages his diabetes on diet and exercise alone. He says his stamina is gradually increasing, too.

He knew Dr. Crow to be compassionate at her previous practice but limited in her patient interactions. At Vivacity though, “She visited with me for probably 45 minutes to an hour. I could sense the time constraints that she had at the old place. She definitely cares, so she's in a good spot right now.”

Primary care built around Bob.

Bob’s in a good place now, too. He recommended Vivacity Care Center to an old friend who moved his entire family’s care there because of Bob’s experiences.

Life is different, now, Bob says. And so is his experience with healthcare. “In the past with other providers, it was just write a prescription, here you go, come back in a month or whatever—that’s all it was. At Vivacity Care Center, I just felt like Dr. Crow had all the time in the world to answer my questions and hear out my concerns. It was so refreshing.”

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