May 04, 2022 Healthy Living

Help for a local mom when she needed it most

When Jillian Morsellino’s 3-year-old daughter got sick, the Albany mother thought it was just a cold. Little Nala had tested positive for COVID-19 five weeks prior, but at the time, experienced no symptoms. Several weeks later, the little girl stopped eating and drinking, was extremely fatigued, and developed a fever of 104 degrees.  

That’s when Jillian decided it was time to take her daughter to Albany Medical Center. Shortly thereafter, Nala was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) and diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a condition that can result in the inflammation of the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

Nala and Mom

Little is known about MIS-C, but according to the CDC, some children develop the condition after being diagnosed with coronavirus. MIS-C can be serious, even deadly. However, most children recover after receiving medical care.

“I was absolutely petrified. The doctors thought we might lose her.”

Doctors worked quickly to get Nala’s symptoms under control, and after four long days, her symptoms began to subside, and she was transferred from the ICU to the pediatric unit. That’s where Jillian remembers meeting CDPHP nurse care manager, Diana Dawson, who leads the CDPHP Hospital to Home program at Albany Medical Center.  

Diana’s team works to keep patients and their loved ones informed during and after a hospital stay. The team helps connect patients with resources they may not be aware of, schedules follow up visits when a patient is ready to be discharged, and oftentimes, just lends an ear to those in need.

“At first, we just cried together. I was so overwhelmed.”

As the two began to talk, Jillian opened up and explained that she had missed several weeks of work while trying to care for Nala. She had fallen behind on rent and wasn’t sure how she would put food on the table or heat her home. That’s when Diana and her team sprang into action and began connecting the local mom with the resources she would need to get back on her feet.

“I always felt like I was talking to a friend.”

Jillian Morsellino, CDPHP Member

With Nala on the mend, the CDPHP team helped Jillian apply for heating assistance and connected her with a local food pantry. The team also put Jillian in touch with Building on Love, a local organization that provides emergency financial assistance to families facing medical emergencies.

“Within 10 minutes of explaining my situation, I had an application in my hand. Building on Love wound up paying for three months of rent,” said Jillian.  

She went on to say, “What started as a horrible situation turned out to be such a blessing.”

Jillian says the experience changed her perspective on health plans.

“CDPHP was an advocate for me and my family. It didn’t matter if I needed help financially or emotionally, you were there for me. I always felt like I was talking to a friend.”

Nala plays, smiling, on orange toy vehicle
Ali Skinner
About the Author

Ali Skinner is a communications professional with nearly 20 years of media, marketing, advertising, and public relations experience. She joined CDPHP in November 2011 and currently serves as Vice President, Communications and External Affairs for one of the top health plans in New York and the nation. In this role, Ali oversees all internal and external communications, public relations, and government relations for the plan’s 400,000 members and 1,200 employees. A self-described recovering journalist, Ali spent 10 years writing and delivering news for a number of television and radio stations in the Syracuse and Albany, NY markets. Today, she uses her journalism background to help patients and the public make sense of complex health care topics.

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