Earlier this year, CivSource reported on a new patient navigation pilot underway backed by Accenture and the Highmark Foundation. This pilot program is designed to create a high touch relationship between patient navigators and patients who may not otherwise be able to find their way through the confusing American healthcare system. Now, another health care provider – Jameson Health System is joining up. Jameson Health System is one of three hospitals in the Pittsburgh region that is introducing patient navigators to help reduce health disparities that often prevent underinsured patients from accessing high-quality care.
The navigation program will help guide patients through each step of their medical care plan, which may include in-hospital consultation and care planning, scheduling physician appointments, coordinating transportation arrangements, assisting in obtaining child care to attend medical appointments and guiding patients through insurance coverage needs.
Federal health care reform is expected to bring millions of new patients into the health care system. Many of these patients have sat on the sidelines due to a lack of access including issues like income, language barriers, or pre-existing conditions. Navigation programs are hoping to provide bridges into the system as all American’s will now have to carry insurance and may begin seeing primary care physicians or other specialist physicians for the first time.
The Pittsburgh-area program will, in all, be supported by three health systems, six certified patient navigators and 24 hospital employees who are trained to help support the program. At Jameson Hospital, the Patient Navigation Institute will certify two patient navigators and train eight hospital employees who are dedicated to several hundred select patients. Patient navigation programs are designed to decrease no-show rates and help the elderly or new patients find their way through a needlessly complex health system.
“It is our goal and expectation for this pilot to expand,” shared Kristin Greenburg, RN, BSN, senior case manager at Jameson Health System. “We hope to evolve the program and grant a further reach of customized patient navigation services that will impact the healthcare delivery continuum in our region.”
The Highmark Foundation has committed $254,500 and Accenture is providing pro-bono services and funding for supporting the salaries of the six newly hired patient navigators. The Patient Navigation Institute also provided training to certify the six patient navigators as well as educate the 24 hospitals employees who will manage and support the programs.