By Jonathan Foiles

June 30, 2017

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When I first met a patient I'll call Martha, a transgender Latina woman in

her 30s, she was trying to disappear. The hood of her sweatshirt was cinched

around her face; her eyes were invisible behind her Jackie O sunglasses.

 

Before she got to me, Martha had been receiving care at one of the six city

mental health clinics that service Chicago's 77 neighborhoods. (Rahm Emanuel

had closed six similar clinics in 2012.) After three years there, she was

told that her psychiatrist was gone and would not be replaced. But thanks to

Illinois' Medicaid expansion, she now had other options, which is what led

her to my workplace, an outpatient behavioral health clinic attached to a

Level 1 trauma center and safety net hospital on Chicago's West Side.