Patient Navigator Guides Complex Healthcare

Patient Navigator Guides Complex Healthcare

Navigating today’s healthcare services is often challenging for medical patients and their families. In order to assist patients with these sometimes very difficult transitions, Beartooth Billings Clinic recently hired Erica Polson, RN to serve as the Patient Care Navigator. 

Erica assists patients who are hospitalized locally move to the next safest level of care, whether that is home, assisted living or nursing home. She also assists Carbon County patients hospitalized in other facilities, such as Billings Clinic or St. Vincent, move to a Beartooth hospital bed closer to home, should they require additional therapy before returning to their own home. In addition to helping hospitalized patients, Polson will also play a key role in Chronic Disease Case Management in the clinic. Residents living with conditions such as diabetes, COPD and asthma will now have help navigating the complex healthcare system so they may receive the most appropriate care. 

“I help plan a patient’s “journey” to and from the hospital, beginning with pre surgical tests, all the way through to helping patients and families choose what’s best for recovery and rehabilitation so that patient can get back to life’s daily routines.  In many cases, patients are overwhelmed by the injury, surgery or illness which, in and of itself, can make appointment scheduling, testing and knowing where to go quite confusing.  I can help map a route for healthcare that is best suited to the patient’s and family’s needs,” commented Polson.
The Patient Care Navigator position is funded through a Pacific Source Community Health Excellence Grant awarded to Beartooth Billings Clinic Foundation.  According to the Foundation’s Executive Director, Sara Urbanik, “Our addition of a Patient Care Navigator position to help patients manage their care, and as part of a multidisciplinary care team, will have a positive impact on patient care and outcomes in our communities, regardless of the patient’s insurance status.”

Polson serves patients in all of Carbon County, Montana as well as the Powell, Lovell and Cody, Wyoming region.  She’s available 8a-5p Mon-Fri to help coordinate the most suitable care setting.  Polson can be reached at Beartooth Billings Clinic, (406) 446-2345.