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Patient navigators find a role

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 10, 2012

A successful year-long patient navigation pilot program at MetroHealth Medical Center's Cancer Care Center is drawing to a close. The program, with two full-time navigators, serves new patients who are receiving radiation therapy. The cost savings were almost immediate. In the first three months of the program, the reduction in the number of "no-show" appointments for head and neck cancer patients was the equivalent of a year's salary for a navigator. The navigator not only provides tangible help such as arranging transportation and connecting patients with Medicaid or with physicians who take patients without insurance, but also spends time with physicians, nurse and case managers to identify patients who need extra assistance. MetroHealth has secured a $30,000 grant from the American Cancer Society that will help keep the program in place.