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Podcast in Spanish about the care and services at Shriners Children's Chicago.

About Shriners Children's Chicago

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Virginia García (Hostess): Recognized as one of the world's largest hospitals for its philanthropic service, Shriners Hospitals for Children in Chicago is part of an international system of hospitals recognized for transforming children's lives through expert medical care. Now, episodes in Spanish area available, a courtesy of Shriners Hospitals for Children. Welcome to this podcast where today we will highlight and discuss specialized care and services for children offered by Shriners Hospitals for Children in Chicago. My name is Virginia Garcia, and my guest today is Karen Montiel. Karen, why don't you please tell us what kinds of specialized medical services are offered at Shriners Hospitals for Children, because it's not just general pediatrics, right?

Karen Montiel (Guest): Correct. At Shriners Hospitals for Children in Chicago, we only serve children ages from 0 to 18 and offer pediatric orthopedic, plastic and reconstructive surgery services for boys or girls born with a cleft palate and cleft lip, we also offer services of physical rehab and we care for pediatric patients who have suffered a spinal cord injury and other spinal conditions. We also have experts in Sports Medicine and we provide treatment for stable fractures, which occur when a child or teenager under the age of 18, has previously been treated in the emergency room at another hospital for a fracture, and they come to Shriners Hospital for a follow-up as the fracture is stable. These services are aimed exclusively for children and teens from 0 to 18 years of age, regardless of whether or not the family is covered by any type of private or state health insurance.

It means that the patient and their family are not responsible for the bill if they cannot pay for it. But, if you have health insurance, I would like to emphasize that we accept all Medicaid plans that are state-funded insurance plans, or any type of private insurance.

Hostess: This information is really important, Karen, because in times of such despair, especially for families, who are going through this anguish or not knowing how to deal with this type of circumstance in their lives, it is really a relief for their pockets, for the mind and for the heart to know that the monetary factor will not be an issue when it comes to their children being able to receive the specialized medical care they want and need. Now, I would like to focus a bit on orthopedic care. I understand that you deal with such complex issues as the treatment of spina bifida or limb differences, some of the hospital's specialties, but what other conditions do you treat, Karen?

Karen Montiel: We have a multidisciplinary medical team with great experience, and trained personnel to care for pediatric patients with specific conditions, such as the aforementioned spina bifida, but we also have a special program for children who suffer from cerebral palsy, arthritis or with a discrepancy in the size of the limbs, either upper or lower, and other orthopedic conditions. I also want to tell you that we have a special program for patients suffering from osteogenesis imperfecta or crystal bones, as it is also known in Spanish. Maybe you or someone in the audience know Alec; Alec is a patient at Shriners Children’s Chicago, for several years now, he is our official spokesperson, he is a celebrity on our website and social media, and he has helped us to contact families, children and teenagers who suffer from osteogenesis imperfecta or some other orthopedic condition.

Hostess: What a pleasure to hear that a child is the spokesperson at a national level and that he is the reflection and living testimony of what he has lived and how his assessment, diagnosis and treatment have brought him forward, this is undoubtedly hopeful for all his followers. Karen, cleft lip and cleft palate, were some of the terms you mentioned at the beginning of this interview. What are the other conditions that you also treat with your multidisciplinary teams? How are these visits carried out? How many specialists participate in the initial assessment?

Karen Montiel: We have a medical team specialized in pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery, which treats babies, boys or girls who were born with cleft lip and palate. The main focus of our staff is to work as a team, each one of the providers or health professionals involved in the care of our patients is an expert in their field. For these cases we have around 12 medical and health professionals in charge of the same patient throughout the complete treatment providing the best of their specialty, with a team approach.

Hostess: And speaking of different team and approaches, Shriners Hospitals for Children also offer physical rehabilitation and spinal cord injury rehabilitation for these kids... Tell us a little bit more about the family approach you have for this type of treatment, because we are talking about pediatric health and so it is important, I guess, especially for this type of patient, the support of their family environment.

Karen Montiel: Sure, Virginia! It's very, very important. We, at Shriners Children’s in Chicago offer physical rehabilitation services, serving children and teens from 0 to 18 years who have sustained an injury to the spinal cord and, since our approach is focused on the family, they are involved in the treatment and in the follow-up with our patient. As you know and mentioned, the changes in the life of a patient after suffering a spinal cord injury are drastic, and definitely affect the dynamics of the life of the patient and the entire family, however, I want to emphasize that at Shriners Children’s Chicago, our patients find the appropriate care to learn to adapt to the new challenges that arise day by day. As you might know the changes are not only physical but also psychological, and we have specialists devoted to treat both areas, physical and psychological medicine.

Hostess: Could you please explain how to schedule an appointment for our children? And what happens with those patients who are Spanish speakers and for cultural or linguistic reasons do not feel comfortable communicating in English?

Karen Montiel: Of course, families can make an appointment by calling 773-385-5437, where a representative will take your complete information and schedule an appointment, however, if we are unable to take your call, we will ask you to please leave us a message including your full name and phone number, where we can call you back. Should parents or legal guardians need the help of an interpreter in Spanish, we have an exclusive line for Spanish-speaking patients or family members. You should call to 1-800-320-6741, our exclusive line for Spanish, and you will be connected to an interpreter who will gladly assist you at no cost. The interpreter will connect you with a Shriners Hospital representative and make your appointment.

Hostess: Could you please repeat one more time the phone number that is the direct line in Spanish, for those who are listening now?

Karen Montiel: Of course! The exclusive line for Spanish speakers is 1-800-320-6741.

Hostess: Since a while ago now, there are several families who prefer to have their medical appointments virtually, as long as this is possible, of course. Do you offer this service? And I would also like to ask about the fast track video system.

Karen Montiel: That’s right Virginia. We are at the forefront of technology and above all we continue to assist our patients, we continue scheduling appointments regardless of distance, since there are several aspects to assess in an in-person visit. We are now offering appointments through telehealth, and patients can have a virtual visit through fast track video. Our staff will educate families step by step, on how to connect and how to carry out the virtual appointment; this is for parents or legal guardians. First they schedule their appointment, then they receive detailed instructions on how to connect depending on the device either by phone, or by computer and they can talk with their doctor or specialist. This really presents an opportunity for patients and families who require care and medical attention right away. It means that patients don't have to wait to a visit in person, they can have it online through fast track video.

Hostess: Excellent. My last question has to do with your motto that really caught my attention. Shriners Hospitals for Children in Chicago’s motto is quite emotional: “Where hope and healing meet”. I know you have many, many years of experience in public community outreach in the medical field Karen. What is this slogan telling us about the philosophy behind Shriners Hospitals for Children?

Karen Montiel: OK, Virginia, that's one of the reasons why I like my job, right? We at Shriners Children’s Chicago believe that hope and healing meet, because having a boy or girl with conditions that present a challenge to the family, we are there, offering pediatric orthopedic care of the highest quality, focusing on the family, and offering hope not only for the patient but for parents, legal guardians and for siblings, as this is a teamwork.

Children in our hospital remain being kids, or teens, while being cared with compassion by renowned experts with extensive experience in our family environment, which is why we know that at Shriners Children’s Chicago is the place where families find hope and healing for their children.

Hostess: Thank you very much, Karen Montiel for your time and for sharing this information with us, which will undoubtedly allow many children, teenagers and their families to gain access to a better quality of life in mind, body and the heart. Karen Montiel is the Community Relations Specialist at Shriners Children’s Chicago. For more information, families can visit ShrinersChicago.org, follow them on social media at @ShrinersChicago, or call 1-800-320-6741, and if you benefited from this podcast, feel free to share it on your own social media, my name is Virginia Garcia, thanks for tuning in, until next time.

About The Speaker

Karen Montiel

Karen J. Montiel is a former community relations liaison at Shriners Children's Chicago. Ms. Montiel has over 15 years of community relations experience within the health care field, bringing expertise in culturally diverse populations and bilingual programs to the Hispanic community in Illinois.

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