15 Weeks Early: A Success Story
Imagine you are barely six months pregnant and on a business trip from your home in Wisconsin to California, when quite unexpectedly you begin premature labor. Courtney, the mother in this story, delivered a baby boy weighing only 1 pound, 14 ounces at 25 weeks gestation. This presented a host of challenges that ProgenyHealth was equipped to handle.
Almost immediately, an incredible clinical and personal support system was arranged to help this micro-preemie and his displaced family thrive under very fragile circumstances. Behind the scenes, there was a lot of coordination with Courtney’s health plan on the complex questions of out-of-state care in a non-par hospital. Karen, a case manager at ProgenyHealth, was regularly on the phone with the hospital reviewer in California and Courtney’s health plan making sure nothing was overlooked. The first issue was deciding whether or not to transport the baby back to the parent’s home state of Wisconsin. Because Griffin was so small the team decided to keep him in Santa Clara Medical Center for the care he needed. And fortunately, Courtney’s employer supported her staying near the baby and working remotely from California.
Courtney’s health plan was grateful that Karen could manage the coordination of neonatal clinical care, logistical challenges, and social needs ranging from finding multi-state pediatricians and specialists to medical air transport. Karen was in frequent communication with the Utilization Review (UR) Supervisor at Courtney’s health plan, developing a collaborative relationship each time they discussed their “California baby.” The UR Supervisor wrote, “I think Griffin’s success was a significant joint effort that would not have succeeded without Karen’s passion and commitment.”When Griffin was born 15 weeks early, it was the most frightening and amazing experience of my life. Knowing our friend Karen was only a phone call away provided my husband and me with incredible peace of mind. Courtney was grateful to ProgenyHealth for serving as her family’s only consistent source of support during the first months of Griffin’s life. Courtney, recalling when her son was born, said, “When Griffin was born 15 weeks early, it was the most frightening and amazing experience of my life. Shortly after my son’s birth, I received a call from ProgenyHealth, letting me know that they were there to help my husband and me in any way they could. Karen quickly became one of our biggest cheerleaders. Receiving calls from Karen and sending her pictures of our little peanut became highlights of our journey. Since Karen is a NICU nurse, each conversation provided us with a better idea of where our son was in terms of development. It also allowed us the opportunity to ask questions about nearly anything. In addition to listening to our concerns and offering helpful input, Karen sent articles and other valuable information to us. Knowing our friend Karen was only a phone call away provided my husband and me with incredible peace of mind.”
Three months after Griffin was born, he was discharged from Santa Clara Medical Center. Because he was still so fragile, Griffin and his parents were advised to stay in California for two more weeks so Griffin could be monitored and so they could schedule immediate follow-up visits with other non-par providers in general pediatrics and pediatric ophthalmology. Karen took care of scheduling these appointments and took the time to send the parents information about how to travel with a premature infant on an airplane to ensure their safe arrival back home to Wisconsin.
Normally, Karen would have transitioned this case to another case manager once Griffin was discharged, but at Courtney’s request, Karen continued as his care manager until his first birthday. At Griffin’s five month developmental mark, Courtney wrote, “He is doing six month old developmental milestones!! Every day he makes us smile.” At twelve months, Courtney reported that Griffin reached nineteen pounds, was sitting up from a laying down position, army crawling, and standing on his own.
Griffin is now 4 years old and is completing his 4-year-old milestones without difficulty.
Collaboration between providers and families is crucial when the objective is improving quality outcomes. In this case, Karen tirelessly managed the transitions of care which resulted in Griffin’s healthy success!
About the author:
ProgenyHealth is a leading provider of neonatal care coordination services. Focusing on the unique health care needs of infants in intensive care nurseries, ProgenyHealth’s neonatologists, pediatricians, and NICU nurses, partner with the infant’s neonatologists and primary care providers to deliver care management services from birth through the first year of life.
Karen Strohecker, CRNP, MSN, CCM is a perinatal nurse, with 41 years’ experience. She’s been with ProgenyHealth for seven years, sharing her passion for delivering healthy outcomes and her commitment to the health promotion for high risk infants.