Hospitals throughout the country — like the University of Maryland Medical Center — are partnering with the American Cancer Society (ACS) to deliver patient navigation services to help cancer victims.
As WBALTV.com reports, the hospital’s navigation program helps patients and their families make use of the various resources, treatment services and support services needed to receive the most appropriate cancer treatment possible in a timely manner.
A patient like Andrea Williams, who lacks a car, was stressed about the expense of taking a taxi to the University of Maryland Medical Center for her breast cancer treatment. Her patient resource navigator, Brandon Costantino, is helping to eliminate this concern. He says:
There is a sense of relief when they find out there is someone who is going to help them take care of these things. I don’t think people walk in here thinking that there is someone who helps them get transportation or an application for medication or grants to pay for their co-pays.
While helping coordinate transportation may not be tied directly to delivering treatment, it represented a potential barrier to Williams receiving the best care possible. Healthcare organizations like the University of Maryland Medical Center are recognizing the value in providing care coordination to patients to resolve potential barriers.
According to the description of the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Patient Navigator Program (a partnership between the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC) and ACS):
The Patient Navigator helps remove any roadblocks to treatment, so that patients are able to keep their appointments, follow their treatment regimen, and receive the support services they need. The goal of the Patient Navigator program is to make sure that the comprehensive and varied cancer care services offered through UMGCC and ACS are accessible by all patients — especially those who may not have the advantage of a strong family or community support system. … Our Patient Navigator helps patients with scheduling appointments; connecting with support services such as nutrition counseling, physical therapy or social work; finding financial, transportation, and child care resources as needed; and locating the many other available services that may help patients and families deal with the stress of a cancer diagnosis.