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St. Joseph’s Establishes Patient Navigator Program in Emergency Department

SYRACUSE – St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center is helping connect patients to primary care in the community through a new patient navigator program in its Emergency Department, the only one of its kind in Central New York. Part of an overall strategy to ensure patients are seen in the appropriate healthcare setting and are connected to the services they need, the program includes three individuals who meet with patients seven days a week.

“The patient navigators focus on two types of patients,” explained Christina Pavetto Bond, MS, FACHE, associate, strategic integration “First, they help those who do not have a primary care physician or are unable to get to their physician. Second, they meet with those who are un- or underinsured to help enroll them in insurance programs.”

Since the program began in April, more than 500 patients have been connected with primary care, insurance or both and nearly 80 percent of them have kept follow-up appointments.

“Follow-up appointments are important because the best ongoing care for patients is with a provider who can get to know them and their unique healthcare needs,” said Bond.

The patient navigator program is one way in which St. Joseph’s is improving access to primary care for all.  It also is expanding its Westside Family Health Center and Family Medicine Centers, adding more hours and more services, such as behavioral health.

Patient navigators are available in the ED, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the time frames when they see the most patients.

In addition to the patient navigator program, case managers in the ED continue to work proactively with physicians to discharge patients home as much as possible, rather than admitting them to the hospital.

“Patients want to recover at home,” said Mary Luziani, MS, RN, director of care management services. “We want to help them do just that by providing home care and other services to support them.”

St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center is a non-profit, 431-bed hospital and health care system in Syracuse, New York, providing services to patients in 16 counties in Central New York State. Through prevention programs and the latest diagnostic treatment procedures, St. Joseph's works with patients to achieve optimum long-term health. A 14-time winner of the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice award, St. Joseph’s is affiliated with Franciscan Companies and sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis.