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Darron Jeffries Patient Advocate

Darron Jeffries has a unique background as the new Patient Liaison at Reach Healthcare Services. He has been a patient himself for more than 26 years.

Jeffries woke up in the hospital at the age of 22 with no real memory of how he had gotten there. A gunshot wound had rendered him a complete quadriplegic. His personal experiences since that time make him invaluable as a patient liaison.

“I’ll be able to shed a whole lot of light on a whole lot of subjects,” Jeffries said. “The good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve seen so many different things from so many different levels, that I guarantee I can absolutely help people change their lives.”

When he awoke paralyzed, the first thing Jeffries felt was rage. It took him years to accept the irreversibility of his injury. But even then, he was determined not to let his physical limitations define him.

“If you were a go-getter, up running around and making stuff happen, you’re going to be that same guy, you just have a physical disability now,” Jeffries said. “If you want to sit around and whine and cry, that’s ok, you can do that, but it isn’t going to fix anything. If you want to get up and do something, let’s do it, and I can help you with that.”

Since his injury, Jeffries has run a septic tank business, a limo business, and even recorded some rap tunes. “This is not a world for the weak,” Jeffries said. “It takes time and understanding, but when life changes, you’ve got to change lanes. I couldn’t get up and grab a microphone and do my rap, so I had to figure something out. I couldn’t get a job, so I had to make my own job.”

Along the way, older disabled persons acted as mentors to him, providing the support that Jeffries says is essential to the quality of life. Now, he wants to pay that support forward.

“When you know better, you’ve got to do better,” Jeffries said, and he is looking forward to sharing his decades of hard-won knowledge with the next generation. “I’m especially excited to help younger patients,” he said. “It’s different to be injured when you’re young. I’ve been disabled from 22 years old to 48 years old, so I’ve seen it from every side. I will be able to gauge where they are in their journey and focus on what they need from me; what advice and assistance I can give them to help them to get to the next level.”

Jeffries wants to help clients by offering information and resources from his own experience, to educate them about their options, ranging from different oils and treatments to various hospitals, programs, and even to what foods work best with their system. 

“You’re going to have issues in life regardless of if you are disabled or not,” Jeffries said. “You’re going to have good days and bad days. But if you get the right structure around you, it can make all the difference.” He wants to help provide that.

Jeffries believes in the support that he received from Reach Healthcare Services, and he wants to share that experiences about the company with others.  “If you’ve got people around you not really understanding what’s going on and not caring, it can make your life miserable,” Jeffries said. “You get the right people with the right attitude and it changes everything.”

Jeffries admits it has not always been perfect, but whenever an issue arose, he said he reached out to Reach Healthcare Services CEO, Terri Gerke to help fix the situation. “Terri didn’t hand the phone down to her staff. She got on the phone and handled the problem.” Jeffries said that though he didn’t have to call very often, he quickly learned that “Reach really does care about their patients.”

Jeffries cites a time when his insurance company had denied services.  Reach Healthcare Services continued to provide nurses for over two weeks, with no guarantee that they would get paid.  Jeffries was able to successfully negotiate with his insurance company, but notes, “It doesn’t take long to rack up some big bills,” Jeffries said. “That has happened more than once, but Reach Healthcare always had my back.”

It was this type of commitment to clients that spurred Jeffries to recommend Reach to others multiple times over the years. “I know what Reach has done for me, so I know what they can do for others. With my new role as a patient liaison, I can advocate for patients on a whole different level.”

After 26 years of dealing with insurance companies, Jeffries has developed techniques and strategies to navigate the complex world of health care, and he wants to share this expertise with his clients. “I have a lot of valuable experience to share, so they don’t have to learn the hard way.”

Jeffries will also be coordinating with nurses, as his 26 years of disability has given him a unique insight into the challenges of working with someone like himself.

“A good nurse can make all the difference,” Jeffries said. “I’ve learned how to get the best performances out of nurse. Most enjoy learning and appreciate what I have to share.” He also plans to be an advocate for nurses; helping to boost their morale, letting them know they are appreciated and that there are patients out there who truly need them.

“Patients and nurses - it’s a two-way street,” he said.

No matter who he is working with, Jeffries said the most important thing he can do is listen, truly listen, and try to empathize with that person’s feelings, so that he can ascertain what they need and how he can help them achieve it.

“My responsibility is to let them know that I’m for real, I’m sincere, and I genuinely want to help,” Jeffries said. “It may not take the first time I tell them, or the second, but I’m not going to give up on them and neither will Reach Healthcare Services.”

“Knowing someone cares, knowing they’ve got your back, it means more than you can imagine when you are disabled.”