By Jonathan Foiles
June 30, 2017
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.