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Dennis Domrzalski, Reporter - Albuquerque Business First

 

It can be difficult for people who know their way around the health care system to navigate it, find a new doctor or specialist and make an appointment.

But for someone who has never had insurance or who rarely deals with the system, trying to get through it can be maddening.

Lovelace Health System says it is out to change that.

A little over a month ago, Lovelace launched its Lovelace Care Concierge service, which helps the newly insured and others find doctors and get appointments.

The service has three employees, or ambassadors, who man phones and computers 10 hours a day, seven days a week helping people find providers and getting them appointments, said Lovelace President and CEO Ron Stern. So far, about 450 patients have been helped.

“The biggest challenge for people here is getting access to providers,” Stern said at a Lovelace “State of the System” talk on Wednesday. “Delays in finding providers increase risks of disease and fatalities. We are taking the barriers to access away.”

The service can be used by anyone to find a doctor especially those who are newly insured and those patients discharged from the ER who need a doctor for follow up, Stern said.

Lovelace’s ambassadors, who can be reached at 505-727-2727, will find primary care doctors or specialists, make appointments with them and follow up to see how the appointments went. The ambassadors have access to the scheduling systems of the approximately 100 providers in the Lovelace Medical Group and can easily make appointments, Stern added.

If the Lovelace Medical Group doesn’t have the provider the patient needs, the ambassadors will find one outside of the practice, Stern explained.

The ambassadors work out of the Lovelace Medical Center in Downtown Albuquerque and many have clinical backgrounds, which helps them navigate the system, he said.

“I think this is going to be a game-changer for people in this town and for people who need care. We’re looking to expand it,” Stern said.

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