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Beth Wittmer Details the Components of a Care Management Team
Pharmacists, social support services, an information technology team, and financial counselors all come together to encompass the care for the patient, says Beth Wittmer, RN, OCN, manager of care management at Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute.
Pharmacists, social support services, an information technology (IT) team, and financial counselors all come together to encompass the care for the patient, says Beth Wittmer, RN, OCN, manager of care management at Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute.
Who should be part of care management teams?
Our pharmacy is part of our team because they are our go-to. We help with refills. We have social service support which we’re working on building. But we also have a really big array of resources and we’re building that. We had IT build us a program. They’re in the midst of finishing it up, but since we aren’t just in Florida now our AON, which is the American Oncology Network, is now in different states so those patients are in a different zip code. All over Florida we have different zip codes, so 90 locations a patient is calling, and they might be calling me, and I live in Sarasota, but they live in Tallahassee, and they need help with something. I can plug in and get resources for them very quickly just by the zip code and whatever it is that they need.
We rely on our financial counselors that may be helping with the foundation, patients in financial need. That’s probably one of the biggest burdens that isn’t discussed as much, is the cancer cost for a patient and that out-of-pocket expenses, and even if they have good insurance coverage, there’s just all those extra expenses. We have a foundation that actually raises money and it’s a hundred percent profit and they can give patients upward of $1500 to go towards nonmedical bills, to help them pay their rent or their electric bill, whatever we can do. And we try to do everything we can to encompass the care for the patient.