Caregivers ease pain of funding foot care

Cottage Grove | November 7, 2017
Analysts patiently unravel knot of insurance to help patients get the foot care they need

Even on a good day, few of us look forward to calling our health insurance company with questions about coverage for essential care.

So when a snag related to insurance benefits cropped up for about a dozen patients at the PeaceHealth foot care services in Cottage Grove, Oregon, staff sprang into immediate action.

Without coverage, some of the patients had to stop coming for care, said Debby Coulthard, RN, the certified foot care nurse there. And foot care is critical.

Services are mainly for patients who have diabetes, nerve damage, and circulation issues. “Our goal is to help patients stay safe and comfortable,” said Coulthard, “When they lose feeling in their feet, they’re at a higher risk for injury, and that can be very dangerous.”

She was extremely grateful for the months of persistent help it took Teri Anderson (pictured), a PeaceHealth analyst and others in the financial office to sort out the mess.

“Teri is our hero. She did everything she could to keep our patients out of collections, and was successful. That was one thing I was particularly concerned about,” said Coulthard.

Anderson felt the same. In fact, she would wake up at night thinking about these patients and what to do to make sure their insurance coverage was there for the care they needed.

While it took a long time to resolve the issues, Coulthard said Anderson “never gave up. She kept her sunny and professional attitude all the while.”

Anderson admits the situation was particularly challenging. “We had a nasty knot that inexplicably formed, and it took all of our efforts to unravel it,” she said.

What kept her going throughout the drawn-out process? “Our patients honor us by choosing us to fill their healthcare needs,” she said. “It befits us to assist in minimizing their financial distress.”

Coulthard agrees. “Many patients have multiple issues, and we know it can be frustrating to call insurance. We're happy there's someone here to help alleviate some of the problem.”