7 Questions with Karlee Fish, Community Health Worker at Hopscotch Brevard 

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Published:  February 16, 2024

With Hopscotch Primary Care clinics throughout Western North Carolina—there’s always a friendly neighborhood Hopscotch to help you achieve your health and wellness goals. 

For this interview, we wanted to connect with one of our Community Health Workers at our Brevard clinic. These professionals are a big part of what makes our primary care offerings at Hopscotch Primary Care so unique and special.

We recently found some time to chat with Karlee Fish. Karlee is a Community Health Worker in our Hopscotch Bravard clinic location. 

She took some time to share with us what she does, why she loves working with Hopscotch Primary Care, and how she can help you unlock the biggest benefits in your primary care experience. Karlee readily admitted her enjoyment in her role, and explained that “Patients are pleasantly surprised when they hear this is something we offer.” 

We loved chatting with Karlee and hearing all the wonderful things she had to share! We can’t for you to hear her thoughts. Let’s dive right in! 

7 Questions with Karlee Fish, Community Health Worker at Hopscotch Brevard 

Hopscotch Primary Care:

Thanks so much for chatting today, Karlee! I’d love to learn more about your role. What does a Community Health Worker with Hopscotch do? 

Karlee Fish: 

A lot of what I do is resource management. We have patients who need help with transportation, picking up their prescriptions, picking up food/ensure drinks, and that is a lot of what I spend my time assisting patients with. There are also times where I get to just check-in with a patient via phone call and see how they’re doing since their last appointment, which is something that really sets Hopscotch apart. We really, truly care about our patients as a whole.

If they have needs, then I follow up with them and offer resources. I also help get people set up with home health and help them find home health that’s covered by their insurance. That’s a big thing around here. I also help them get the medical equipment they need. 

So, I help people get their social needs addressed. For example, if the doctor would rather they try diet and exercise versus medication, I could put them in contact with different classes, like through the Health Department. I can help them find nutrition counseling and a place to exercise, like at the Y. 

Sometimes, people can’t afford or access fresh fruits and vegetables.I could help a patient get a food box from a place that offers nonperishable foods. This way, they can still get access to good quality, fresh foods. 

Hopscotch Primary Care:

How did you become a Hopscotch Primary Care Community Health Worker?

Karlee Fish: 

This is my first CHW role. It’s been really interesting so far!

I graduated from UNC Asheville last December with my Public Health degree. I have a big background in geriatric care. I worked in nursing homes when I was a teenager as a server. When I turned 18, I did CNA and medtech work. And then I did home health when I was in college. 

So, once I got my degree, this just felt like the right transition into something I know a lot about, while still gaining some different experience.  

When I graduated, I knew I wanted to work in the public or community health front. I saw Hopscotch and applied with them and I’m so glad I ended up in their Brevard location. I’d like to go into patient advocacy at some point, so this is a great step toward that.

I was really excited about what Hopscotch does because I’ve lived in this area my whole life, so I know how difficult the rural healthcare scene is. There are a lot of people who fall through the cracks. 

And, when I saw that they primarily worked with seniors, I knew that would be a good fit for me, with my experience and the fact that I really like working with the senior population. 

My mom’s always worked as a nurse in nursing homes and memory care communities, so I’ve always been around seniors my whole life. 

Hopscotch Primary Care:

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

Karlee Fish: 

I really like our work environment. We’re all close and get along super well. I love being in the office. We’re like the dream team over here. 

When people come in here, we always give them compliments and we know their names. It’s just a really good vibe with the patients, which is nice. 

I also love when I give someone a resource and they tell me how helpful it is and that they’d never have found it on their own. That feels really good. 

A lot of the older population don’t necessarily know how to Google things and find information that way on the internet. So, there may be resources out there that they don’t know about and can’t access easily. And I can help with that. 

I also really liked the research I did when I first started. I like to do home visits and actually meet people. 

Hopscotch Primary Care:

What do you love most about the WNC area and how do you invest in your health while living here? 

Karlee Fish: 

The obvious big thing in this area is all the hiking. I mostly grew up in Hendersonville, but we would always drive over to Brevard and would hike in Pisgah Forest or go toward DuPont. 

I spend a lot of time outside, especially this time of year when it’s not so hot. That’s a lot of what I do on the weekends. 

I really enjoy hiking. There are also a lot of gyms in this area. I go to the gym quite often. The farmer’s market scene in this area is also really nice. There’s always a farmer’s market you can go to. They’ve always got fresh fruit and vegetables available. I wish there were more available the further you get into Brevard. 

This is the best area if you like being outdoors. 

Hopscotch Primary Care:

What’s a way you help older adults in Western North Carolina thrive? 

Karlee Fish: 

A lot of what I’ve done so far has been helping them navigate transportation or the home health scene. We have a good amount of patients who don’t come to the doctor as often as they may need to, just because of transportation issues. I’m trying to build a list right now so Hopscotch can work to help our patients who don’t have reliable transportation. 

With home health services, there are not a lot that are covered in this area, so that’s frustrating for many people. I try to help them navigate that. 

I also help people locate food boxes. This has been really useful because I help people find healthier options and help them locate and access non-perishable food boxes. 

I’ve also been introducing myself and putting myself out there as a resource, so people know I’m here to help them. 

Hopscotch Primary Care:

What are the biggest challenges you see seniors in WNC face when it comes to their healthcare needs? 

Karlee Fish: 

In this area, the biggest issues I see are transportation and insurance issues. People will have problems with their insurance not covering things. And that’s especially true with home health, unfortunately. 

Another thing I’ve seen is that, the further out you get in the country, like into Rosman, there just aren’t a lot of options for getting fresh food. 

We encourage patients to eat more fruits and vegetables. But for some, this can be difficult. Maybe they have trouble finding fresh foods or maybe they don’t like them or don’t know how to cook them in a way that they’ll like and eat them. I help them with that. 

Hopscotch Primary Care:

Why do you think older adults should choose Hopscotch Primary Care? How are they different? 

Karlee Fish: 

The main thing with Hopscotch is that we’re so whole-person. So I think we’re a great choice for older adults. 

As we get older, we tend to have more health issues—our list of problems gets longer. You need a doctor who can spend more time with you. Most of our patient visits are 40 minutes. So you can use that time to talk to the doctor about all your issues and concerns. 

We also have the tier cadence visits, so the more issues you have, the more often you get to come to the doctor. And I think that’s important. 

I also feel we’re a nice environment. You’re not just being rushed in and out, and the doctor spends only a few minutes with you. 

Here, you’re able to make eye contact with your doctor, because we have scribes who take notes for them. And we have Community Health Workers like me, who are focused on helping you with your social needs. So, we’re really focused on the whole person. 

And we’re also team-based. We talk to each other and make sure our patients get what they need. It’s very interactive care. We focus a lot on the quality measures. We are working to get people in, make sure they stay up on their screenings, and find ways to eliminate their barriers to getting care. 

If you’re a senior or the loved one of a senior in WNC who needs primary care that’s designed just for you—Hopscotch Primary Care is here! We’re on a mission to provide transformed primary care services and expanded access to quality healthcare to the seniors of WNC. 

Check out our clinic locations to find your neighborhood Hopscotch Primary Care. Or, give us a call. Our helpful team is always happy to offer you guidance and support. You can also contact us online to set up an appointment.