2012 CARE Awards: Honoring ‘Unsung Heroes’ in retail-based health care

As the nation works to iron out the ultimate impact of healthcare reform, thousands of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in retail health clinics across the country are already on the front lines working to improve patient lives and expand access to high-quality, affordable healthcare. To recognize the best of the best, DSN Collaborative Care/Retail Clinician magazine — in partnership with the Convenient Care Association — each year hosts the annual Clinician Awards for Retail Excellence (CARE). This year’s winners were selected from more than 60 nominees.

 

Erica Souders, Target Clinic
The patient experience that Erica Souders provides has brought patient loyalty to the Target Clinic in Warrenville, Ill., and, in fact, several patients have said they wish they could come to the clinic every day. That’s truly a positive patient visit.

Her active listening, ability to emphasize and true concern for each patient does not go unnoticed. Aside from her knowledge and impressive patient care skills, Souders is always volunteering and taking on extra tasks to improve Target Clinic and its surrounding community.  Souders has helped to develop advertising in the community, promoted use of clinics among Target employees and developed high patient return rates to drive the clinic business. She also has taken on the responsibility as the Warrenville Target store Wellness Captain. This position helps to keep all Target team members informed of monthly wellness topics and promotes engagement in one’s own health. She also mentors new graduates, training the new Target Clinic practitioners.

 

Christine Yoemans, Aurora QuickCare
When a woman came to Christine Yoemans at Aurora QuickCare in Greendale, Wis., complaining of a sore throat, Christine took no chances. It’s a good thing because it is likely that she saved her patient’s life. Concerned that the patient had a throat abscess, Yoemans insisted that she go to the emergency room. The woman had no health insurance, so after talking with her lead, Yoemans referred the patient to an ER within Aurora QuickCare’s large integrated health system. The woman took Yoemans’ advice and went to the ER, where they did a CT scan. Doctors ruled out an abscess, but they coincidentally discovered an aneurysm on the left side of her brain. She was referred to a neurosurgeon, who performed a six-hour surgery to remove the aneurysm, which was about the size of a quarter. Doctors told her that because of the size of the aneurysm, had it bled, it most likely would have been fatal.

 

Lori Phinney, MinuteClinic
Lori Phinney is clinically excellent and exceptionally caring, as demonstrated by the fact that — within a six-week window — she assessed and triaged two separate cases of emergent pulmonary embolisms, saving two young lives. As one of the patients said in a thank you letter, “Lori is awesome at what she does, the epitome of an employee and someone that CVS should be so proud of.” It was 8:30 a.m. when that patient stopped at the MinuteClinic in Medway, Mass., as he was having difficulty breathing. He had childhood asthma, and figured he would be prescribed an oral steroid to open up his lungs and would be back home shortly with his wife and two young children. Upon examination, Phinney determined that he needed to go to the hospital, and she dialed 911. The ER doctor found two clots in his left lung, and he was hospitalized for three days. “Lori’s actions are commendable!!! I am speechless, as 1-in-4 do not survive a pulmonary embolism. I have since visited Lori at the clinic to tears of joy and happiness. I am so grateful, appreciative and proud of her actions,” he wrote.

 

Renee Corradetti, Take Care Clinic
Renee Corradetti was performing a routine sport and camp physical when she saw a mass on the young patient’s neck. Concerned about the mass, Corradetti encouraged the family to immediately follow up with their physician to have the growth further examined. Taking Corradetti’s advice, the girl was taken to the doctor and diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. The early diagnosis allowed for rapid treatment, and she is currently finishing up successful chemo treatment.

The family wanted to thank Corradetti and surprised her at the Deptford, N.J. clinic one day with the CBS Philadelphia station news to show their appreciation for Corradetti and for retail clinics being available for patients.

 

Melissa Ann Herrington, MinuteClinic
Melissa Ann Herrington, who works at the MinuteClinic in Charlotte, N.C., has been in the same clinic for the past five years — a clear indication that she loves what she does. And while her love of what she does certainly rubs off on her patients, managers and colleagues, it was her astute clinical judgment and years of experience that earned her a CARE Award.

As the story goes, in February, a 28-year-old male patient came to MinuteClinic with complaints of nasal congestion and itchy, watery eyes over the course of about two days. He had no chronic medical conditions and said he had been taking no medications.

While many providers simply may have discounted his symptoms as an uncomplicated upper respiratory infection or seasonal allergies, something jumped out at Herrington — something in the way that he complained about feeling “hot.” Asking him for more details, Herrington learned that he was actually thirsty — all of the time — and had been urinating more frequently than usual. He had a family history of diabetes, but had never been diagnosed himself. She checked his glucose levels — it was over 500. The next stop: The ER across the street from the clinic, where he spent a week as doctors worked to get his blood sugar under control.

 

Shea Adkisson, The Little Clinic
Going above and beyond for a patient, helping the medical “homeless” navigate back to a healthcare provider and triaging those in greater need is something Shea Adkisson clearly understands and adheres to.

A prime example of her dedication is the day when a patient showed up at The Little Clinic in Hermitage, Tenn., just before closing. He was holding his stomach and appeared to be in a lot of pain. He also did not have insurance. Upon signing in, he explained that he had never felt pain like this before. He was sweating and shaking so much that he was having trouble just entering his information into the computer. Certain that it was something quite serious, Adkisson immediately sent him to the emergency room at the Summit Medical Center. He was immediately admitted and taken straight to surgery. His appendix had ruptured. It is very likely that if Adkisson had been a stickler about clinic hours or if the patient had arrived just a few minutes later and had not had the presence of mind to go to the ER himself, he would have died a few hours later.

 

Kelly Longenberger, RediClinic
In addition to a heavy clinic schedule of patients coming in for routine acute conditions, Kelly Longenberger with RediClinic in Atascocita, Texas, is helping to make a big difference in the lives of patients who are participating in RediClinic’s Weigh Forward weight-loss program. In fact, one patient describes Longenberger as something between a coach, cheerleader and a friend.  That patient was 5 ft. 3 in. tall, 230 lbs., on blood pressure medicine and diagnosed with chronic kidney disease when she met Longenberger. The patient knew she needed to make a change. Longenberger encouraged her, and all of her Weigh Forward visits were scheduled for when Longenberger was working at the clinic. After nine weeks, she had made significant progress. She decreased her blood pressure meds, her cholesterol dropped 40 points and her doctor said her kidneys were doing much better. “I owe it all to a person who went above and beyond for me. She made the difference between a life filled with doctors and medicines, and my current life that is full of energy and hope,” the patient said.

 

Susan Matschner, Target
Consumers routinely rank the community pharmacist among the most trusted professionals in the country. But Susan Matschner marks the first-ever pharmacist CARE Award winner. One occasion that stands out and demonstrates the important work pharmacists do every day in terms of patient advocacy was the time a patient complained to the pharmacist about a problem she had been having. The patient had been bouncing back and forth between two different physicians, each deferring to the other on her therapy and unable to make a decision. Susan, who is a Target pharmacist, stayed on the case for days, making countless phone calls until the matter was resolved.

“I have witnessed her sponsoring a charity event almost by herself, helping out needy families and running to the rescue of both a woman having a pulmonary embolism and a choking child,” her nomination stated. “She volunteers for all the difficult tasks without hesitation. She is a great motivator, entertainer, counselor and a role model. She truly is an amazing pharmacist and human being.”

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