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Navegantes Program Featured in Blue Cross Blue Shield RI Annual Report 2011

In 2007, a group of local healthcare providers founded Clinica Esperanza/ Hope Clinic to provide free care to the uninsured, with a focus on the Hispanic population. “We were interested in providing culturally sensitive care in the patient’s own language,” says Dr. Annie De Groot, EpiVax CEO, who is also cofounder and volunteer Medical Director of the new clinic. Last year, the clinic’s first permanent location opened.

A 2010 BlueAngel Community Health Grant allowed Clinica Esperanza to create the Navegantes (Health Navigators) program. “The Navegantes are based on a similar program that I run in West Africa,” says Dr. De Groot. “They help educate people about what’s available
to them, including how to get services at our clinic.”

With BCBSRI ’s funding, Clinica Esperanza was able to train five Navegantes
who act as case managers for the clinic’s patients, helping them get free care at hospitals and even going to appointments with them. “There have been amazing cases,” says Dr. De Groot, “including one man who had very far advanced tongue cancer. A Navegante, Luz Betancur, brought him into the clinic, then helped him get a successful surgery at a local hospital. The patient credits Luz and the volunteer healthcare provider who made the diagnosis, Derek Tessier, with saving his life.”

Dr. Annie De Groot, CEO of EpiVax, with the Navegantes of Clinica Esperanza