A little more than a year ago, the odds of Jose Herrera living a long life weren’t so good. It was October 2018, and Herrera had just learned he would need to receive a transplant of two healthy lungs, as he continued to battle complications from chronic conditions. Unfortunately, doctors told Herrera he wouldn’t be able to undergo a transplant unless he lost at least 40 pounds. This was particularly challenging for Herrera, because he could barely move due to advanced-stage pulmonary fibrosis.
Herrera met community health advocate Denise Oliva at a Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan clinic. Oliva connected Herrera with Project Angel Food, a nonprofit organization that delivers nutritionally tailored meals to people battling serious illness. She also helped relieve stress on his family by helping Herrera’s wife, Susana, to apply for paid time off as a caregiver.
“Jose’s case is a great example of a team working together,” said Terry Gilliland, M.D., executive vice president, Healthcare Quality and Affordability at Blue Shield. “This is about long-term relationships and helping people through a journey, making sure Jose and Susana had all the right support so he could get to a place where he was physically and medically cleared to go through the transplant process.”