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Case Study

A complete picture of health

Published May 26th, 2022

Our physical and mental wellbeing are linked – two halves of a whole that provide critical input into our overall health. So, what happens when one is out of balance?

The challenge

James is a high-functioning autistic man in his mid-fifties who had been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He struggles with time management, and the countless lockdowns and ever-changing public health protocols meant that his carefully structured life was thrown into chaos. Without his regular routine, James began having trouble showing up to his medical appointments on time, impacting his physical wellbeing.

For more than two years, James had been experiencing intense chronic pain in his abdomen, was making regular trips to the emergency room, and couldn’t find any answers. He came to PHM looking for answers.

PHM insights

PHM got to work with an integrated approach to care management that included the clinical, logistical, emotional, and intellectual support James needed to improve his health and quality of life.

PHM identified treatments that would address James’ physical symptoms and explored creative ways to equip him with the skills and knowledge to manage his emotional stress. PHM connected James to experts in gastroenterology to assess his abdominal symptoms, ruling out emergencies or new diagnoses. PHM also helped him understand how acupuncture and novel treatments like equine therapy could alleviate his physical symptoms. We also provided support for pharmacology and pain management.  We introduced James to a life coach and a nutritionist who were able to provide practical tips on how to cope with stress and maintain healthy habits. He learned to use  logistical tools like calendars and reminders on his phone to ensure that he didn’t miss appointments.


Navigating health issues can be overwhelming, but with support from PHM, James is on a brighter path. His ER visits are less frequent, he knows how to effectively manage his pain, and he has the tools to help him take charge of his health.

By understanding his unique circumstances and forming a complete picture of James’ health, we were able to develop tailored solutions that not only addressed his medical issues, but also empower him to live his best life.  

About the Author

Jennifer Fernandez, MPAP, PA-C

Director, Clinical Services

Jennifer is a board-certified Physician Assistant.  She is UCLA and USC Keck School of Medicine trained with extensive emergency medicine and internal medicine.