Beyond Expectations: An Extra Test Can Save a Life

In a new US Family Health Plan video, retiree member Robin Farris shares her personal story about how an astute observation by her health care team during a routine test saved her life.

Farris spent 23 years in the U.S. Navy and was the first woman to serve on the USS Blue Ridge LCC-19 when the ship was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan.  She retired after attaining the rank of lieutenant commander.  Farris still serves the public as a city councilmember for District 1 in Puyallup, Washington, where she works to fight homelessness and bring equality to a community her family has called home for nearly a century. 

“I love having normal healthcare and knowing who my primary care physician is going to be,” said Farris.  “I know the services that I’m going to get.  There is not a rotation of physicians going in and out.”

Careful attention to Farris’ health needs would prove to be critically important.  During a routine visit in 2010, her physician ordered a few extra tests to make sure she remained completely healthy as she aged.  One of those extra tests was an ultrasound exam.

During her military career, Farris noted inconsistency in her health care as she moved from city to city and provider to provider, which required her to have to update each doctor about her medical history.  In 2008, she enrolled as a military retiree with the US Family Health Plan at Pacific Medical Centers, where she has enjoyed continuity in her care teams and a patient-centered approach to her health care. 

Given Farris’ overall medical profile, her ultrasound technician knew to take a close look at her kidneys.  Because of this prudent decision, the ultrasound detected Farris’ early-stage kidney cancer before it had the chance to metastasize.  The Pacific Medical Center US Family Health Plan notified Farris of her test results within the hour, and she underwent a successful surgery to remove her kidney.  She has been in remission since. 

“I know being seen by this plan [the US Family Health Plan]… saved my life,” she said.  “There’s nothing more valuable than that.”

The US Family Health Plan is dedicated to providing its members high quality healthcare through routine health screenings, personalized care and preventive health care initiatives.  Theseinclude disease and complex care management programs and a patient-centered medical home concept with in-home patient monitoring.  The US Family Health Plan’s approach to health care keeps members active, satisfied and invested in their health and wellness. 

For more information on the US Family Health Plan, please explore the rest of our website.