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Exempla Lutheran Launches New Patient Navigator Program

October 23, 2008
Exempla Lutheran launches new patient navigator program -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The American Cancer Society has launched its Patient Navigator Program at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, thanks to support received from AstraZeneca. This is the second site to launch in Colorado as part of a strategic nationwide effort to significantly extend the reach of this innovative program and assist individual cancer patients in negotiating the health care system. "A cancer diagnosis can be a life-changing experience for patients, their families and their caregivers," said Laura Erickson, American Cancer Society Executive Director, Quality of Life. "Our patient navigator is able to provide support every step of the way, from explaining what to expect with chemotherapy, to making sure patients have transportation to and from appointments. Fighting cancer is a difficult, challenging journey; but with the help of trained American Cancer Society navigators, patients don’t have to go through it alone." The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program directly connects cancer patients to a cancer education and support specialist – known as a "navigator" – who, through one-on-one relationships, serves as a personal guide to patients and caregivers as they face the psychological, emotional and financial challenges that cancer can bring. The service is free and confidential, and places an emphasis on assisting the medically underserved. AstraZeneca’s support will enable the launch of a full-time American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center. According to American Cancer Society estimates, 18,900 people in Colorado will be diagnosed with cancer in 2008. The gift is part of a $10 million pledge by AstraZeneca to the Society to accelerate development of at least 50 new Patient Navigator Program sites over a five-year period in communities throughout the United States. "With funding from AstraZeneca, the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center will enable us to assist patients with personalized community resources and support," said Denise Black-Anderson, CRT, Director, Cancer Service Line and Specialty Services at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center. "This program proactively reaches those patients who are most in need of specialized services and support, providing the critical link to local resources that will improve their outcomes and quality of life." As no cancer experience is the same, American Cancer Society patient navigators connect patients and caregivers with the most appropriate programs and services to help improve each individual’s access to health care and quality of life. Whether it is getting patients and caregivers the information they need to make treatment decisions and better understand their disease, helping them deal with the day-to-day challenges of living with cancer, such as transportation and insurance issues, or connecting them with community resources such as support groups, American Cancer Society patient navigators can provide help throughout the disease continuum – from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, into survivorship. Furthermore, navigators are able to increase treatment compliance and follow-up care. "AstraZeneca is thrilled to be the first company to give nationwide, large-scale support to the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program," said Lisa Schoenberg, Vice President of Specialty Care, AstraZeneca LP. "This new program site at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center is a testament to our commitment to provide cancer patients with the access to the medicines and care they need to live longer, healthier lives. "We are proud to support the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program in its mission to improve patient outcomes, not only in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, but in communities throughout the country." The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program provides guidance for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers to help them navigate the cancer experience, with a focus on eliminating barriers to cancer care for the medically underserved. Formally launched in 2005, the Patient Navigator Program, in collaboration with community-based hospitals and cancer centers, links those affected by cancer to patient navigators who serve as personal guides for patients as they face the psychological, emotional and financial aspects of their unique cancer experience. Patient navigators receive national-level training through the American Cancer Society, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute Patient Navigation Research Program navigators, as well as localized training and opportunities for ongoing education. There are currently more than 80 American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program sites across the U.S., including five located in the Denver area. The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program is a component of the American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Network, a comprehensive offering of free resources to help patients, survivors, and caregivers manage the impact of cancer on their lives by providing information, day-to-day help, and emotional support. The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. Exempla Healthcare is a not-for-profit, community-based health care system that manages three of Denver’s most respected hospitals: Exempla Lutheran Medical Center, Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital and Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center. Exempla Healthcare is dedicated to fostering healing and health to the people and communities it serves.