food

‘Aunt Bertha' Helps MedStar Health Patients Get Food, Rides to Appointments

The tool is named after the founder's helpful aunt

NBC Universal, Inc.

With many families struggling to access necessities like fresh food and health care, MedStar Health is teaming up with a resource tool in an effort to help.

Jeffrey Jones, of Southeast, D.C., has dealt with mounting medical bills since he recently suffered a heart attack.

"When you’re getting billed, it’s like aw man. How am I gonna pay these bills?" Jones said.

In addition to those bills, Jones has difficulty getting to the grocery store or his doctor's appointments because he doesn't drive.

"It’s just an inconvenience, especially when you’re kinda hurting. You’re not able to do the things you used to do," he said.

That’s where "Aunt Bertha" comes in.

Aunt Bertha isn't Jones' relative. It's a tool that scans patients' medical records and offers them services they might need such as help paying rent and utilities.

The tool can also help patients find jobs, health insurance, food and diaper banks or even obtain ID cards.

"What we would like to do is make sure that our patients, once they leave our hospital doors, have connections and resources that they need," said Diana Quinn,
senior director of community health for MedStar Health.

Aunt Bertha helped Jones get rideshares to his doctor’s appointments, and he now gets fresh food delivered each week.

"That service is good and more people should know about it," Jones said. "It’s just a blessing, you know. I’m just so thankful."

With some weight lifted off his shoulders, Jones said he’s excited to spend time with his grandkids and use his healthy cooking lessons for life.

The Aunt Bertha tool is also an online website where anyone can type in their zip code to find a list of resources near them.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that MedStar Health launched the Aunt Bertha tool. Aunt Bertha is a separate company that MedStar has partnered with.

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