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Put the care in health care or whatever you do
11/26/2013 11:47:05 AM

By Jorge Rivera
Splash Guest Column

When people currently think of health care, some ideas that come to mind are the Affordable Care Act, doctors, the flu and more. But what many forget about health care is the idea of caring that not only helped construct the definition of the word, but an idea that defines an entire field. According to the dictionary, health care is the maintaining and restoration of health by the treatment and prevention of disease especially by trained and licensed professionals. At my company, the level of care we strive to provide includes this definition, but also goes far beyond it.

One of the ideas the company is based on is to, "Treat every patient as if they were your own family." We've learned that you can't just care for someone's health needs without looking at other aspects of their life. People won't bother getting their flu shot if they don't have a safe, secure place to live. They won't fill their prescriptions if they don't have transportation to the pharmacy. This is why it is so important for us all to come together as a community to serve those who are in need. 

One of our recent Community Champions Awards, Spokane native Reese Holford, is a selfless hero who is truly inspiring. For nearly a decade, she has volunteered at the House of Charity, a homeless shelter for men. As someone who briefly experienced homelessness, she understands what the House of Charity residents are going through. She shows respect, compassion, understanding and even a much-needed sense of humor to the homeless people she helps. Reese demonstrates how caring can make a difference in the life of someone and how simple it can be.

This is what caring is truly about. It's not only a physical act of compassion but an emotional act, such as a smile, someone to talk to, which makes a larger impact than a physical act alone. The health care industry is in a state of change, and I hope that through this change, there will be an increased focus on caring for the patient in a holistic manner. 

Leo F. Buscaglia, a man who was also known as Dr. Love, said: "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." 

Caring is simple, so go out there and make a difference in the life of someone today. 

Jorge Rivera is the director of community engagement for Molina Healthcare of Washington. He wrote this column as part of a series highlighting the Partners Advancing Character Education (PACE) trait of the month. The trait for December is "caring." For more on the Spokane Valley PACE program, visit www.pacecommunity.org.

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