October 14, 2009
National Case Management Week: Working Together as the Patient’s Advocate
By Shantay Evans, Outpatient Case Manager
Walton Rehabilitation Health System
Augusta, GA— I believe that if case managers could sum up their primary role, the best description would be the “patient’s advocate.” Webster defines advocate as one who pleads or supports the cause of another. Case managers advocate for patients by assisting with resolving financial concerns; monitoring health insurance limitations; facilitating team conferences; counseling patients and their families; coordinating discharge planning; and providing information and referral services for community resources. Case managers are knowledgeable about resources in their local communities and beyond in order to properly address the needs of the patients and their families.
Some may be surprised to know that we may be involved in the coordination and implementation of services weeks and even months before the patient enters our doors for admission. It is not uncommon for a case manager to rely upon case managers at other facilities to allow patients a smooth transition to the next environment of care on the recovery continuum. Walton Rehabilitation Health System has case managers who cultivate positive working relationships with other case managers at hospitals in the CSRA, thus ensuring that patients have access to those specialized services for which the hospitals are known.
Given the tumultuous state of the economy, our patients have expressed more appreciation for resources and services that are accessible within the CSRA. For example, on occasions when I have been contacted with a potential referral for a child with a diagnosis of autism, I have the option to redirect the referral to MCGHealth Children’s Medical Center and trust them to serve the pediatric community. A loved one hurt in a fire will most assuredly be welcomed through the doors of Doctors Hospital to develop a personalized T.L.C. plan in the Burn Center. Someone who has concerns regarding a family member’s risk of cardiac diseases would be encouraged to know that University Health Care System has a state-of-the-art Heart and Vascular Institute. Trinity Hospital of Augusta offers home health services that span a wide range of coverage areas. And Walton Rehabilitation Health System offers a full continuum of services to help support the rehabilitation needs for those with temporary illness or lifelong disability.
Patients need advocates who offer choices to help patients empower themselves to make more informed decisions about their health care. Better health care decisions lead to healthier patients and families, yielding a more productive society. Likewise, Walton Rehabilitation Health System has a team of case managers and other individuals in supportive roles who are responsible for coordinating these services: Nancy Beckes-Goodrich (Patient Advocate/Risk Manager); Renee Wilson (Inpatient Case Manager); Marjorie Clark (Inpatient Case Manager); Ellen Jennings (Inpatient Case Manager); Deborah Felts (Inpatient Case Manager); Mandy Jones (Inpatient Rehabilitation Coordinator); Amber Warren (Outpatient Services Coordinator/Case Management Assistant); and Shantay Evans (Outpatient Case Manager). Join us as we celebrate National Case Management Week to highlight our efforts to work together as advocates for our patients.
Media Contact: Danielle Wong Moores, PR Specialist, 706-434-0150
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