Jill Smith

The Difference is the Support When I Came Home…

Do you know how much coverage your health plan offers? When EMHS partnered with the Geisinger health plan, as our third party administrator (TPA), a great new benefit was added that is making a real difference for many of our peers and their families across our system. Jill Smith, an administrative secretary, to nine pediatric inpatient providers at EMMC, was pleasantly surprised when her phone rang at home the day after she got home from neck surgery. “To hear a friendly voice checking on me from my doctor’s office, I felt so relieved.” Because Jill chose an in-system provider, she gets the added benefit of nurse care coordination. “I didn’t realize that when I signed up for healthcare coverage, but I’m so thankful for the help.”

Up until late 2011, Jill was an active healthy mom and grandma. Then she experienced pain like nothing she’s ever felt before. She had no idea that a nerve in her neck was quietly conspiring against her. “I couldn’t get out of bed, much less go to work.” When nothing worked to relieve her pain her provider referred her to a specialist and surgery was scheduled. “I was so hopeful that my life would get back to normal.” Surgery went well, but the end result left Jill with the same debilitating pain. It didn’t take long before Jill used up all her vacation and sick days on top of her FMLA. “The year 2012 was awful healthwise; I felt hopeless and just wanted my life back.”

A second surgery, a new health plan, and a glimmer of hope all with one phone call. “Making sure our patients get home from the hospital with the resources and support they need to get back on their feet is part of my daily outreach,” shares EMHS nurse care coordinator Kathleen Bates who supports the providers at EMMC’s Orono Family Medicine. These important relationships start simple with medication reconciliation, follow up appointments scheduled, and a care plan developed. “Recovery and healing is so much nicer when you’re working with someone who is compassionate and knowledgeable,” smiles Jill.

The more than 40 care coordinators across our system are making a difference in how patients access the care they need. They quickly become reliable resources that are only a phone call away. “Kathleen made sure I had what I needed in place so I could be successful and can function and get back to work, and even helped with my prior authorizations.”
Even though Jill isn’t pain free, she is back to work and enjoying a better quality of life. The relationship she’s developed with her nurse care coordinator has proven to be a huge benefit and will continue to help her receive the right care at the right time in the right place.