Name: Kevin Craig
From: Columbia, Missouri
Insurance and Coordinated Care Increase Addiction Recovery Outcomes
Hi my name is Kevin Craig, and I am very grateful for your generosity in making this scholarship possible for students like myself, who has demonstrated great character amid financial hardships amid things like Adderall addiction. Today, I would like to tell you about my future goal of becoming a Physician Assistant, and what it means to me to be able to get there. Naturally, I am a hard worker always committed to benefiting society, being a force for good to my community, and have demonstrated these attributes throughout my time in school. As this is my first year back in college following a car accident that nearly led to my death in 2014. I was confused, unable to focus, and forced to stop my education abruptly and focus on my goals as an undergraduate business major. This was what my career choice ended up being after some lapses of reason and overall cerebral trauma as a result of my car accident and had thought it wise to jump right back into the workforce unprepared and not feeling at all like myself still.
Prior to 2014 I had exemplified great positions at University of Missouri as an undergraduate business major and on the steering committee of Mizzou for Malawi, being involved with philanthropies like St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital in their annual softball for cancer research event, and I volunteered heavily at the Missouri Tiger Food Pantry and Clean Stream regularly. Now, after the accident I focused on the career I thought I could achieve more absent mindedly, but with moderate success even at world class companies like GrubHub I was not feeling fulfilled. Then, after some time in a relationship that allowed me to take some time off of work and focus on recovery, I was able to really focus on what my future looked like with no real barrier to entry and a new frame of mind more intellectually capable to radiate energy again. Call it my California reawakening, I was able to as Steve Jobs said “connect the dots going backward” in a pragmatic way and also feel what really gets my focus going without any unnatural energy. The answer was clear when I recalled my Grandmother’s experience with certain doctors at her cancer outpatient facility that helped her beat the cancer and recover well. Today, I know my goal well to be the best me and realize my full potential must be as a Physician Assistant.
It was the Physician Assistants that really were hands-on and more involved in her cancer treatments and recovery, and that spoke to me as someone that was in a position now to look for a sort of trade type of career, meaning something with true longevity in an arena that will allow me to use my tangible skills more regularly. I wanted to immerse myself in the world of medicine first with some on the ground experience, so I applied to be a Medical Scribe and assist the doctors with note taking for various patients and being their eyes and ears. What I considered myself to always be was achieving, which meant various honor roll awards, leadership positions like Vice President of National Honor Society at Fort Zumwalt South High School, as well as President of Multicultural Club at the same time. I was able to be fully committed to my extracurriculars while also maintaining a 4.0 GPA, and so I wanted to get back into that achieving frame of mind – back to the basics, as some might say.
To do this, I found it fitting to find my passion, and see what really gets me focused, and nothing has my attention right now more than public health, global health studies, and terminology, particularly as related to cardiology, the field I would like to become more involved with as a PA. With Cardiology as my sort of concentration, I can find numerous routes to groundbreaking research at the graduate school level, or in the next couple of years, as well as retain employment at a cardiology outpatient practice. This means everything to me; getting in with a doctor, or specifically, cardiologist that has the know-how and can sort of raise me in my reawakening to medicine to explore this career further. Undoubtedly, this has actually been what I have always wanted to do since I was a young boy growing up in my father’s modest ranch in St. Peters, Missouri. I have built a tremendous rapport there with my community, and they all want to see me do well, so that I can one day come back and open up my own private practice. Needless to say, this is my goal in the next five years; to open a private practice or work under the umbrella of a Osteopathic Doctor, Cardiologist, or even Family Medicine Medical Doctor, would create an environment to use my medical skills as well as my tangible personal skills.
Since the tragic death of my Aunt Becky in the spring of 2005, I have long felt obligated to work in medicine because her death was highly preventable had she had the right insurance with which to go get it checked out. Of course, not all aneurisms are preventable, but if there was something that could have been done, it would have saved her from the tremendous burden of passing away at just 34 years of age as a PhD. And professor out at Colorado State University. I was the first person in my immediate family to attend university, and she was the first person on my mother’s side, my mother’s only true sister, and so it was her who was a real mentor for me getting in my education and following my dreams. I have been without her wisdom and courage since her passing, but what I do, I do in her spirit, the spirit of good deeds and reaching for the stars. I want nothing else but for her memory to be a blessing, and to me that means following on my right intended path to becoming a Physician Assistant in the next 3-5 years and to do that I look toward your scholarship committee.
Through work and school, I try to stay busy and inspired daily by stories of success. I want to be one of the success stories I often listen to or watch in the TED talks, and I want to utilize my full potential which I realize costs money, more than what I can afford on my own. Though this financial hardship has weighed heavily on me, and because it would potentially mean dropping next semester’s classes if I cannot raise enough funds to stay a full-time student now, my timeline for becoming a PA could be in jeopardy. In fact, my entire education that I worked hard to ensure would always be there could fall by the wayside if I do not receive financial aid and ample scholarship rewards. I believe my success is contagious to my community, and when I do well I see others doing well, as I strive to be a model citizen that can mentor others well. Currently, the only thing stopping me is the money, and while I have exemplified the drive necessary to get back to the basics with a clear mind after some time in Los Angeles where I also battled mental blocks like abusing my prescription Adderall, I realize one day at a time is the way to be. I am definitely an achiever, and I am now on a path to do that, but the over-achieving as they say will have to subside for me to put my right foot forward, and I definitely realize that now. This is why I ask that The Haven look no further when looking for the right candidate to help monetarily stay afloat, so to get into USC’s PA School by next Spring.
I believe as a Nation we are dealing with a crisis in addiction because social economic hardships are being challenged by barriers in health care. The other issue is pharmaceuticals offering drugs on the market that are highly addictive, and naturally if someone is prescribed certain medications for psychiatric or pain purposes, odds are the drug prescribed faces the negative health outcome of addiction. This does not discriminate across social economic barriers, but the prescription, or ability to go to the doctor could be better described as a lack of other options that are more healthy, like gyms and therapy. Healthier options are not always on the table with issues in health care insurance, like transportation, no benefit for payment to a gym and sometimes even no benefit to therapy. Having out-of-pocket funds for things like gym membership and healthy therapeutic options are another issue that many addicts face. Consequences for the addiction burden the individual in many ways including not knowing when to get their next fix, disrupting every day growth measures like career and education in order to get that fix, and other reasons like financially working around getting the fix and so a complete lifestyle that inhibits further addiction. Instead of recovery, too many of our fellow citizens do not see an end to this addiction phase, and even fail often times to be able to get the help they need because it goes against their lifestyle and or they cannot afford it.
I believe in second chances, and I am not always the most vocal about how folks of every background deserve a real chance at a fruitful life because in these times it is difficult, but everyone should know anything is possible. That is the first message that cannot be disrupted by addiction alone, and the way to go forward is by allowing folks of every and all income levels to be afforded world class treatment. I don’t want to get in the way of private insurance and the tremendous work they do, but I want to create a business climate where Medicaid clients can also access facilities and forgo jail or prison as a consequence if it were to come to that. My plan goes beyond economic boundaries often found in addiction in terms of affordability and adequate outpatient care that would enhance the role of the social worker, case manager, and therapist involved in recovery to extend that recovery process as folks get back to job, school, and hopefully a career. Job training and help with this obstacle in life-goals amongst addicts can apparently be the difference in recovered and relapsed as per the Prochaska Model of Change Theory that I so heavily value in terms of recovery. Keeping these professionals involved in the recovering process can be difficult, so it is in some sense an insurance barrier where Medicaid would have to cover costs while the end goal to get the patient to a place of career, this career then having private insurance would give the customer further or continued access to the same professionals if necessary.
This type of model I propose is not just a proposal or remedy, but a long-term fix to an epidemic in this country that has recently taken a back-seat to the COVID-19 pandemic because nobody wants to solve the issue of Medicaid, and poor folks, who cannot afford to change. For those of us with means this model still works, only flipped so that private insurance should allow for continued care to be given from the outpatient level, whether or not the rehabilitation carries that or not is not the question. Private insurance rehabs have a plethora of resources at their disposal, and in my experience with private insurance, I realize that good case managing can make a world of difference to continued success and recovery from addiction. Going forward I would create this improvement to addiction care to continue to incentivize case managers for their good work, and further this would be a huge plus so that repeat clients would decrease big time. Pivotal change happens when social workers get it right, and the addict stays the course. Opening up those lines of communication from professional at the rehab and outpatient care there or elsewhere via well-researched referral can and should break the vicious cycle known as addiction.