2013 Nominees Section
Position: Social Worker
Organization: AltaMed Health Services
Why should this person be nominated? (What makes nominee unique; why should they be selected the winner of this category?
Erick Camargo earned his Bachelor of Science in Social Work from California State University, Los Angeles in 2008. At only 30 years of age, he stands out as a model Social Worker who goes above and beyond his duties to help frail seniors. His first job out of college was at an adult day health center.
Erick joined AltaMed in 2010 as a social worker for our Adult Day Health Centers. After the program closed due to state budget cuts, Erick stayed on with AltaMed and transitioned into our Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) health center in Downey, California. Once a participant is enrolled in the Senior program, Erick conducts an in home visit to assess what the patient needs at home. He takes great care in matching patients with the appropriate in home care taker. He makes sure to keep the family involved as much as possible. When it is a family that is placing the senior in stressful situations Erick does not shy away from mediating the situation to ensure that the patient is safe at all times.
What is this nominee’s involvement in senior care or senior issues
The patient population that Erick works with are mostly Hispanic minorities, come from a low-income background, and are extremely frail. Erick’s compassionate and humorous nature enables him to connect with the patients, encouraging them to rise above their cultural and economic barriers—qualities that are rare for his age. Growing up Erick was always willing to lend a hand to those in need in his community, and he chose to enter the social work field after realizing he could “help people for a living.”
Erick is a fervent advocate for the patients he takes care of at the AltaMed PACE center. He cares about the patients’ well-being as a whole and the patients feed off of his love. He builds relationships with patients and they trust him with their lives. Erick patiently helps the participants navigate state agencies whenever patients have problems with their services. Patients seek him out to receive help in filling out their forms with Social Security, Medi-Cal, and in some cases to fill out the application for U.S. Citizenship.
In one instance, a patient’s family abruptly moved to San Francisco. The family forgot to refill the patient’s medication in Los Angeles, and when they attempted to purchase the medicine in San Francisco, they were faced with no options because the patient was still legally enrolled in Los Angeles. The family contacted Erick in Los Angeles for help. Within a few hours Erick obtained the medication from our pharmacy and personally shipped it to San Francisco. He spent the next two days contacting the San Francisco Medi-Cal office to have the patient un-enrolled from AltaMed and into a Medi-Cal plan in the new service area to make sure the patient continued to receive care.
Erick was also instrumental in AltaMed’s 2010 advocacy efforts when the State of California planned to eliminate funding for adult day health centers. Erick helped organize seniors to visit legislators in Sacramento.
We are extremely lucky to have a social worker who continuously goes out of his way to provide amazing care!