System News

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - How Roper St. Francis Healthcare is serving our COVID-19 patients at home

As Amber Marflak talked by phone with a self-quarantined COVID-19 patient, she was concerned with the pain she heard in the woman’s voice.

Marflak, a registered nurse and leader of the care management team, scheduled the patient for a virtual visit with a physician who ultimately prescribed a stronger cough medicine than the patient could’ve gotten over the counter – one that would help ease her symptoms so the patient could get some rest.

Marflak described the scenario as an example of the difference care managers are making who are caring for patients with COVID-19 who are self-quarantining at home or are discharged home after a hospital stay.

“Even though she was in a moderate risk category, her symptoms were worse than some patients in a high risk category,” Marflak said. “The virus affects everyone different, but we certainly made a difference for her.”

A team of seven care managers is following up with every single Roper St. Francis Healthcare patient who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

The majority of Roper St. Francis Healthcare confirmed patients are under self-quarantine at home and don’t need inpatient care. Still, care managers categorize patients vulnerability to the virus then follow-up at a corresponding level of intensity; high-risk patients receive more phone calls and intervention than those who are low-risk. Care managers ensure they are connected with a primary care physician and educated on their medicines and how to care for themselves properly – even if that means finding a food supply for them.

“What makes this really successful is that this is what our care managers do every day with our patients,” said Caroline Pate, manager of operations for Roper St. Francis Physician Partners. “This is their job with our chronic care management, so it makes sense that they would do this.”

Although some of these patients might only have passed through the drive-thru testing site on Rivers Avenue, Roper St. Francis Healthcare leaders felt strongly that we needed to care of these patients, especially if they don’t have a primary care physician.

“We feel a sense of ownership of these patients from that first visit and want to provide the follow-up care patients need,” Marflak said.

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