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Cardinal Innovations Care Coordinator Christine Chapman Recognized for Work with Latinos

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Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Care Coordinator Christine Chapman received kudos recently from The Arc of North Carolina for her hard work assisting Latino families in getting the care and services they need for family members diagnosed with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

“She really is a great Care Coordinator and I know that she goes above and beyond for her families to educate them and get them what they need through the (NC Innovations) Waiver," Resource Advocate Maylin Cespedes wrote in an email about Chapman. “Working with these families is not easy. Especially since the (NC Innovations) Waiver is particularly hard to understand for any of our families but even more so with a language barrier."

Chapman, who has worked for Cardinal Innovations since June 2015, says being able to speak Spanish helps her work with Latino families who have varying degrees of fluency in English.

“No matter the level, it is always easier for them to communicate in their native language. There is also some fear and mistrust under our current government, and I can help provide facts and answer questions they might have about Medicaid, their rights and deportation concerns," she said.

Cespedes said she appreciates Chapman's hard work. “She really works very hard and does quality work for the families she supports with not much praise but much complaining," Cespedes wrote.

Cespedes said she wanted to make sure Chapman was recognized for her efforts to collaborate with The Arc of North Carolina to address concerns and to assure issues get addressed for the individuals the organizations have in common.

“It is really important to me to recognize Christine for all she does," Cespedes wrote. “If it would not be for Christine, the families we support would have a much harder time navigating their services and getting the needs met for their person on the Waiver. I just really appreciate her work," Cespedes said.

Chapman said that because there are few bilingual providers, the families she works with tend to choose to use many of the same agencies, which are prepared to train and offer Spanish-speaking staff.

“I end up working very closely with a small group of QPS, and we get to know each other pretty well and collaborate on challenges our members face. We become an important part of their trusted community," she said.

Chapman said some of the families she works closely with have had to face some difficult challenges.

“We have had members whose primary breadwinner was deported. There are those who can't purchase property or start utilities due to not having the proper documentation, such as a license. Others need help writing letters or communicating to medical providers about what type of justification they need to continue to receive the services they require," she said.

Recently, one of the members Chapman works with was a victim of discrimination. “Both myself and Maylin stepped in to address it. These are the kinds of things unique to our Spanish-speaking population that fall out of the realm of the typical job description, but that are integral to keeping our members safe and healthy. Sometimes all you can do is offer emotional support when they are facing obstacles you cannot help with, and other times you can be an English-speaking voice to explain something to an authority that they are unable to."

Navigating the complicated language of the Waiver can be equally frustrating to members with a language barrier, Chapman said.

“I think many of our families new to the Waiver find it somewhat complicated to understand. Those who struggle with technology or literacy have an even harder time understanding the processes, options and budgeting. If you add to that a language barrier, there is a lot of explaining, educating and breaking things down into digestible parts so they can make the best decisions for their family member receiving services," she said. “Some are not able to communicate very well with providers or vendors, and may not have anyone to help interpret. Sometimes their only resource is a bilingual navigator or coordinator."

Chapman said she has worked with at-risk populations most of her working life, and enjoys helping others access the resources available to achieve the most fulfilling existence possible.

“Each member and family that I serve has their own unique circumstances and way of doing life. I love being a small part of their 'village' and seeing all the different ways they live, communicate, contribute and grow," she said.

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