When 65-year-old, Somali refugee Fatumo Osman no longer qualified for Medicaid because as a meal prep service job she exceeded the qualification threshold, she wasn’t that concerned until she became sick. After experiencing pain in her knee for weeks, she was no able to work her hourly job and afford her medications.However, when knee pain kept her from working, her income dropped making her medications unaffordable.
Osman came to Mango House, a clinic caters primarily to refugees in the suburbs of Denver that has a reputation for turning no one away, regardless of their ability to pay.
Founded by Dr. P.J. Parmar, the clinic’s business model caters to patients whose primary insurance is Medicaid. Mango House provides free food, clothing assistance, after-school programs, and English classes. Additionally, the clinic even houses a Boy Scout troop that teaches civics to young men.
“This is what I call a medical home,” Parmar said.
A refugee healthcare professional, Parmar views his work as a calling despite the field being a less-than-lucrative field of medicine that often relies on individual physicians willing to make less money than their peers.
Parmar knew refugee medicine was the area he wanted to go into after seeing the need and seeing that his colleagues wanted to work with these vulnerable populations. Noticing the reluctance of doctors to accept Medicaid patients would give him an advantage against doctors competing for traditional insurance.
Able to run his business profitably by keeping overhead low, Mango House has no scheduling software or receptionist. Running the on a first-come, first-served basis, much like an urgent care clinic, and similar to the way things worked in their native countries.
So when Osman showed up without an appointment after a brief wait she could see her doctor.
Despite the pain she was having in her knee, after leaving Mango House, Osman describes not only feeling better but also expressed a deep gratitude knowing there are good people in the world willing to make sacrifices to ensure everyone has access to quality care.