Dennie Anderson is the Director of Care Management at Liberty Hospital. Through her 24 years at Liberty Hospital, Dennie has seen patient care evolve, especially with the Patient Assistance program through the Liberty Hospital Foundation. Read on to learn more about case management, the patient assistance program, and updates in the health care industry.
Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Answer: “I have worked at Liberty Hospital for 24 years, as of April 5th. I started my career on the Skilled Nursing Unit. From there, I transferred into Utilization Management. I started my leadership path as the Supervisor of Utilization Management. In 2014 Care Management was implemented at the Hospital. We transformed the Utilization Management and Social Services Department into the Care Management Department. Our team consists of Care Managers RN/SW, ED RN Care Managers, Care Manager Specialist, Transition Coordinators, Clinical Documentation Specialist, Precertification, and the Medication Assistance Coordinator. I am extremely proud of the team we have assisting our patients and community every day.”
Question: Can you explain what Care Management is?
Answer: “Care Management is a collaborative practice that includes the patient, caregivers, nurses, social workers, physicians, payers, support staff, other practitioners and the community. The Care Management process facilities communication and care coordination throughout the continuum of care. Recognizing the patient’s right to self-determination, the significance of the social determinants of health and the complexities of care, the goals of Care Management include the achievement of optimal health, access to services, and appropriate utilization of resources.”
Question: What percentage of patients go through the Care Management team?
Answer: “Every single patient that is admitted to the Hospital, whether it be inpatient or observation. We provide services/resources to the emergency room, outpatient areas, and we’ve also added a Care Manager to the physician clinics.”
Question: How does Care Management then help these patients in need?
Answer: “There is a joke that Care Managers have magic wands and fairy dust that help us put together plans for our patients. While we spend time talking with patients, families and the care team, we spend even more time behind the scenes negotiating for services that patients will need when they are discharged back into the community. Care Managers are essential in today’s healthcare climate where improving patient outcomes, reducing readmissions and weighing the necessity of medical treatment are critical for effective care. Care Managers coordinate the patients plan of care with the patient and their families. We work closely with the physicians, therapists, and nurses to make sure the follow-up services will be optimal for each patient and their needs.”
Question: What funds are in place to help patients get resources and help?
Answer: “The Care Management Team works extremely hard to find resources to help our patients. We have a great community that cares about the care and resources that patients may need. The Foundation’s Patient Assistance Fund is an excellent example of this. This fund helps with transportation, medication assistance, equipment needs for discharge and post discharge care needs. The Foundation is proud to support our future generations receive the care that they deserve.”
Question: How has the Patient Assistance Program through the Foundation grown over the years?
Answer: “The Patient Assistance Program was initially developed to assist patients with medication needs, specifically diabetic needs such as insulin. The Medication Assistance Coordinator position was developed to assist patients with finding resources with their medication costs. The current Medication Assistance Coordinator was hired into this position and has taken this program to a whole new level. She has helped hundreds of patients and community members find resources to help cover the cost of their medication. She addresses patients’ individual circumstances for better continuity of care and improved health outcomes. The Patient Assistance Program has evolved throughout the years to assist our community. The Student Assistance Program was developed with the insight of one of the school nurses that wanted to help students receive medical care for their acute needs with the goal of returning back to school ASAP. This program provides vouchers for nursing staff across the district to refer under- or uninsured students to the Urgent Care for acute health needs at no cost to their families. The Patient Assistance Program has improved the quality of health, wellness, education, and care in the community.”
Question: Why have you stayed at Liberty Hospital?
Answer: “One of the reasons why I have stayed at Liberty Hospital is because this hospital cares about its community. It’s not just Liberty, its Kearney, its Excelsior Springs, it’s Shoal Creek, it’s the entire Northland. It’s also about the close relationships and friendships that have been formed over the years with my coworkers and peers.”
Question: What is the future of Care Mangement?
Answer: “The future of Care Management is evolving from managing conditions or episodes of care to more of a comprehensive care model. It requires the ability to track patients throughout the continuum of their healthcare and ensure appropriate prevention, education, and intervention needed to minimize unexpected outcomes. The future is not about finding new ways to treat sick people, it’s about finding ways to keep people healthy.”
Thank you for all that you do for the Hospital and Liberty community, Dennie!