For months, Americans have been consumed by the national health care reform debate. But what has been missing in this dialogue is appreciation for the dedicated men and women who serve as caseworkers and care managers for health benefits companies.
As a nurse who has worked for 10 years as a nurse case manager at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky, I witness every day the extraordinary services we provide to our clients through the wellness, disease and care management programs we offer.
Every day I collaborate with more than 3,000 other nurses — my co-workers — who, like me, are dedicated to improving the lives of the people we serve and the health of our communities.
As nurses, we engage and empower members, assisting them in managing chronic conditions such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes. We partner with our physician and provider communities to facilitate and enhance the coordination of care, while promoting privacy, efficiency and consistency.
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We perform analytic research to evaluate and establish standards for health care quality and safety. From managing the business to managing disease, from patient outreach to innovation, as nurses we make a difference.
Nurses are often the unheard voices in the health care industry. Our impact outside the physician's office or hospital often goes unrecognized. But a nurse provides services in a multitude of settings, from clinics and hospitals to schools and corporations, including health insurance companies like the one I work for.
The work done by America's 3.1 million registered nurses every day to save lives and maintain the health of millions of people is the focus of National Nurses Week, celebrated through May 12 throughout the United States.
I am proud of the work that I do. As all parts of the health care industry work to implement health care reform legislation and provide access to high quality, lower cost health care for all Americans, remember the comfort and care nurses bring each day to millions of Americans. Our commitment and contributions should not be overlooked.