Worth the trip

Ana Congo with, from left, her mother Nancy; home health aide Sonrisa Cortes and father Dale Congo.

Peapack, NJ is nearly 50 miles north of Red Bank, NJ, but Ana Congo, a 27-year-old with cerebral palsy and associated behavioral issues, makes that trip regularly to receive primary medical and women’s health care at the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry.

“Ana has real anxiety about anybody medical,” explains her mother Nancy. “Matheny is very well equipped to handle all of that—not just the physical but the emotional. So, that makes the trip worth it right there.” The Congo family moved to Red Bank from the Boston area about 13 years ago and had trouble finding a medical facility nearby that could effectively treat Ana. “Most doctors don’t understand,” says Nancy, “but Matheny’s staff understands her unique needs. I’ve wasted a lot of time going to other hospitals.”

Most health providers have little experience caring for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, who may have difficulties communicating “what hurts” without the help of an interpreter or assistive technology. At the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry, the integrated team of specialists seamlessly connects with patients to address and calm their concerns.

As primary care physician Christine P. Mand, DO, explains, “There is a culture of disability here. Our patients receive the same care as at a regular medical center, but they feel comfortable when they’re here.” Nancy Congo agrees. “By the time Ana’s done, she’s throwing kisses.”

Insurance covers less than 50% of the cost of care in the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry. Your contributions to the #GivingTuesday campaign will make certain that those with the greatest need continue to get the support and services they deserve.

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