Department Spotlight: Hospital Care Management

By: Alana Ridge

December 08, 2022

A team of case managers and social workers smile for a group photo.

Navigating care through the hospital system can be a daunting task for any patient. When faced with a difficult diagnosis or a complex healthcare journey, patients hope for, and deserve, the gold standard of support in helping them get connected with the resources, counseling, follow-up care and action plan to Fight the Good Fight. 

That hope quickly turns into reality and relief when the case managers and social workers at Renown Health step in to help. 

Renown’s Hospital Care Management department consists of caring, compassionate case managers and social workers who are the ultimate welfare protectors. By tapping into the needs of every patient and bridging any needs gaps with the resources they need, these team members move mountains to ensure every case results in the best possible outcomes. 

Your In-House Patient & Family Liaisons 

Whether they are providing therapeutic services to patients experiencing behavioral health issues, referring patients in addiction recovery to resources to aid in their recovery process or guiding a patient with cancer through the complicated care process, our case managers and social workers ensure patients and family members stay on course throughout their healthcare journey from beginning to end. 

“Our department has teams that cover all areas of the hospital, including the emergency department,” said Mary Matteoni, LSW, Director of Hospital Care Management at Renown Health. “We see all-aged patients, ranging from NICU babies and families to those experiencing the last moments of their life (and everyone in between).” 

“All of our cases start in the prevention, or pre-acute, phase and continue through the healthcare continuum,” added Alma Yanez, DNP, Manager of Hospital Care Management at Renown Health. “We are here to partner with patients and families, helping them assess, plan, implement and evaluate options of care and services to meet everyone’s needs.” 

These team members are your go-to counselors, crisis interventionists, community resource referrers, and most of all, patient advocates. When patients need a leader to follow if confronted with an intimidating hospital stay or life-altering diagnosis, our experienced Hospital Care Management department gladly steps in to be that support system, easing fears and anxieties along the way. Providing optimal care and guidance is par for the course for this team. 

"We help patients understand confusing diagnoses, arrange rehab and other post-hospital supports, help families understand how they can best support a loved one facing a ‘new normal’, navigate end-of-life decisions and so much more,” said Abbie Smith, LSW, MSW, Social Work Care Coordinator at Renown Health.    

This department also serves as Renown’s discharge experts. Our case managers and social workers facilitate appropriate length-of-stay and work around the clock to arrange services for patients as they acclimate back home. 

“Reviewing each patient’s medical records to ensure every resource and section of care is delivered at the right time is crucial,” said Alma Yanez. “Patients depend on us to use the best judgment when it comes to cost-effective outcomes and the planning and execution of their care after they leave our hospital.” 

Expert care coordination, health resource referrals, therapeutic services, workshop facilitation, healthcare financial liaising, crisis support, staff training...a better question for this department might be, “what don’t they do?” These team members are proud “do-it-all-ers.” 

“Our team is proudest of being a support to our patients and their families, as well as the positive impact our work has during traumatic and difficult times in people’s lives,” said Abbie Smith. 

“Everything is ‘Figure Out-able'” 

Those are the wise words said by Abbie Smith, LSW, MSW and emphasized by her entire team. No case is too complex for our Hospital Care Management department, yet every case poses great rewards for both the providers and the patients. 

“I love being a social worker for Renown, as every day is filled with new and diverse situations,” said Abbie Smith. “As the social worker assigned to the trauma intensive care unit, my experiences at Renown are challenging but very rewarding. I have the privilege of helping victims of traumatic situations get the social, emotional, psychological and medical assistance they need to help recover from their experience.”  

Every team member in the Hospital Care Management department leads with the utmost care and concern for every single patient and their families, leveraging compassionate communication techniques every step of the way. 

“For so many patients, they are admitted to the hospital and receive life-changing news,” said Mary Matteoni, LSW. “Our department is the one to answer questions like ‘what do I do now?’ or ‘how am I going to get through this?’ Our team members are experts in their field, and they have a unique holistic lens into the patient’s situation. They spend time learning about the patient’s experiences and circumstances before they were admitted and navigate the next steps of what their new reality means. We spend countless hours ensuring each patient has the resources needed to be successful upon discharge.” 

“I always ask open-ended questions to help reduce my patients’ fears, such as, ‘How are you feeling?’ or ‘What can I do?’” added Abbie Smith. “We listen to learn more about the individual’s unique circumstances so we can offer appropriate support and guidance.” 

Compassionate communication is especially important when our case managers and social workers approach terminal illness, palliative care options and end-of-life conversations with patients and families. While never easy, these team members always lead with empathy. 

“End-of-life conversations, which I help facilitate, frequently occur in the ICU,” said Abbie Smith. “When needed, I help families work through painful, initial moments of grief after losing a loved one.”  

Each social worker and case manager takes any opportunity to lessen patient stress, which can make all the difference in the end. 

“Patients and families look to us for comfort and support, and we are proud to be a source of solace for them,” said Kami Price, LSW, Supervisor of Social Services at Renown Health. “No matter how complicated the case is, we are always there to guide them through what may otherwise be a daunting journey.” 

Now Hiring: Holiday Heroes Needed 

This dynamic department is expanding! This team is seeking case managers and social workers in a wide variety of disciplines, including behavioral health, oncology and chronic care management. From social work bachelor’s and master’s students looking for an enriching entry-level opportunity to highly experienced case managers seeking to make a genuine difference, the Hospital Care Management department is the team for you. 

“Our team consists of some of those kindhearted and thoughtful individuals I’ve ever worked with,” said Alma Yanez, DNP. “Those attributes are vital to ensuring a positive patient experience, especially as we help them navigate a complicated and intimidating healthcare journey.” 

“Respect and compassion are also required characteristics to work in social services,” added Abbie Smith, LSW, MSW. “Having respect for our patients, their personal information and challenges is essential. Social workers interact with highly diverse populations, and it is imperative to keep an open mind and seek understanding of patients’ unique situations.” 

The holiday season can be especially difficult for many patients and families dealing with a difficult diagnosis or facing a long hospital stay. That’s why we need social work and case management heroes more than ever this time of year. Giving a patient and family the gift of support can be one of the greatest gifts of all. 

“I strongly believe that Case Management/Social Services often gets to be the light in many dark moments,” said Mary Matteoni, LSW. “I have a great passion for the work that is done in Hospital Care Management and am so proud of the team we have built and the work they do daily. We are a team of laughter, enjoyment and solid expertise in our work.” 

It’s time to ask yourself: are you ready to change the lives of patients and families? 

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