HealthFinders Collaborative strives to ensure that everyone has access to the healthcare they need.  In the public health world, this care goes far beyond the services that occur within the walls of HealthFinders’ medical or dental clinic.  Through HealthFinders’ patient advocacy programs, advocates work with individuals and families to connect them to healthcare resources outside of HealthFinders by helping them enroll in public or private healthcare coverage programs.  The healthcare world is complicated, and that’s why HealthFinders has advocates, such as Herlen Barcenas, to help patients navigate this sometimes-confusing path. 

Herlen came to HealthFinders looking to improve the community; as a patient advocate and one of HealthFinder’s seven bilingual certified MNsure Navigators, she does just that by helping community members take control of their health through enrollment in healthcare coverage.  For individuals who do not speak English and are unfamiliar with the United States healthcare system, enrolling in the right coverage is incredibly difficult.  In this crucial advocacy role, Herlen works with anyone who needs help, even if they do not speak English.  Residents who need assistance can bring their documentation to her and she will see what kind of coverage is available to the individual or family.  Herlen states, “Having someone work with them and be there for them is huge for clients, especially when language is a barrier, everything is more complicated and having someone work in the middle is crucial.” 

Herlen has a special understanding of how much her assistance can help an individual or family.  “I understand what this work means because I was in their shoes once.  Growing up in a Mexican family as the oldest of three children, I was often pressured to master both Spanish and English because my parents couldn’t speak English. As a child, it was tough to do it all and I would’ve loved to have someone to help us work through paperwork and understand what options we had.  It’s complicated and that’s why we are here to help.”  Patient advocacy and insurance enrollment is a critical component of HealthFinders’ model of care which encourages individuals to take control of their own health, a crucial step in gaining a sense of healthcare security and HealthFinders is here to help. If you need assistance enrolling in MNsure or have any questions, call 507-323-8100 to make an appointment or visit https://www.mnsure.org.