Persistence pays off
When Georgia “GiGi” Lee, a medical assistant at UCHealth Cancer Center – Memorial Hospital Central, received a request from a patient to continue infusion treatments in another state, she knew she had to be persistent.
Her patient would be out of state for six months, and Lee took it upon herself to ensure the referral request was completed well before the patient traveled.
Often, setting up such a referral in another state can be complex.
“I have to make sure that this is done well before the patient leaves,” Lee said. “That their appointment is set and that they don’t have any problems. So when they get there, all they have to do is just go to their appointment.”
After some initial push back from the out-of-state facility, Lee persisted. She located potential providers at the hospital and verified they see patients. She faxed all the requested information to the facility.
“Whatever they needed, I got it to them,” Lee said.
Lee frequently followed up with the facility and when they still didn’t have the patient on their schedule, Lee faxed the information again.
She also communicated with the patient regularly to provide status updates and calm her nerves. Lee reassured the patient, telling her: “I’m still working on it. Don’t worry, we’re going to get this done before you leave. I’m going to make sure that you’re taken care of.”
Exactly one month after Lee initially began the out-of-state referral request, she checked in again with the facility. After faxing the information for a third time, Lee’s persistence finally paid off. The patient had an appointment scheduled.
“Hallelujah,” Lee said. “That’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to make sure that patients are taken care of. It took me a month to get that done, but I got it done. Because I was determined to make sure the patient was good to go before they left.”
Before traveling out of the state, the patient came to Memorial for an appointment and gave Lee a hug and a heartfelt message: “Thank you so much.”
“It made me feel good,” Lee said of the patient’s reaction. “The patient was overly excited and grateful that they got the appointment and they didn’t have to stress about it anymore.”
“It’s my job to take care of our patients. If you’re going out of town, then you need to establish care. It’s our job to make sure that that’s done before you leave.”