Physician bridges the gap between health care and affordability

Physician bridges the gap between health care and affordability

Growing up, Dr. Saroj Verma lived in East Africa and saw her mother suffer from migraine headaches her entire childhood. Seeing her mother in need of health care inspired her to not only become a doctor but also to work toward affordable care for all. She received her medical degree at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi and, now a member of Advocate Physician Partners, has been serving South Chicagoland as an internal medicine doctor for more than 40 years.

Dr. Verma has often cared for three generations of the same family, building deep and meaningful relationships with her patients. For many, health care can pose a significant financial burden, sometimes leading them to delay care or not seek help at all. Her deep relationships with patients and personal experiences inspired her to join a new government program that works to help ensure patients receive the care they need regardless of their financial situation. The Accountable Care Organization Realizing Equity, Access and Community Health, or ACO REACH, is the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ value-based care program focused on promoting health equity and addressing care disparities, especially in underserved populations.

“When I first began seeing patients, programs such as ACO REACH were not available,” Dr. Verma says. “Now being part of it, I’m able to continue seeing a large majority of my patients who otherwise could not afford care or additional ACO Reach benefits, such as transportation and expanded virtual care.”

Dr. Verma is also bridging the gaps for her patients who need specialty care, such as cardiology or general surgery. She’s often the voice for the patient, going above and beyond with calls at night to make sure her patients are heard and understand their care.

Even before ACO REACH and value-based care programs, Dr. Verma was focused on health equity. “Years ago, before care was as accessible, to provide patients with additional care they couldn’t access, I purchased my own stress test machine, as well as had a cardiologist come every two weeks for patients to ensure they received the care they needed.”

Today, Dr. Verma has access to more resources and support for her patients and works hard to share those resources with those who can benefit most. Achieving health equity is more than being a good doctor. Health equity requires understanding economic status, access to care and much more – and for 40 years, that’s exactly what Dr. Verma has been doing for her patients.

Visit our DE&I webpage to learn more about Advocate Health’s commitment to health equity.

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About the Author

Blair Crane
Blair Crane

Blair Crane, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Missouri - Columbia and has more than six years of communication and marketing experience. Outside of work you can find her trying new restaurants and hanging out with her two cats.