By Annie Deaver, LMSW, Acute Care Project Manager

As the Acute Care Team turns the page on DY2 Q2, hospital systems are beginning to adapt to foster a more inclusionary and interdisciplinary approach to providing patient care.

This innovative style helps Acute Care settings provide better quality care to patients and families as they are discharged from the hospital to continue care either at home or within another healthcare or community setting. As a direct result, the healthcare team is more reflective of the patient populations and communities they serve.

To this end, the roles of Patient Navigators are transforming and broadening as hospital systems are adapting and refining. “Patient Navigator” is becoming a widely used title in health care; non-profit and community based organizations and they can be utilized in various roles to help patients navigate systems in their care coordination.


DeAnna Butera serves as the Patient Navigator at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

The title “Patient Navigator” can be used interchangeably with Community Health Worker; Care Coordinator; Care Navigator; Patient Health Facilitator and the like.

For Patient Navigators, educational levels, skill sets and work experiences can vary with this burgeoning role in Acute Care settings. Initially, Patient Navigators or Community Health Workers were used primarily in community settings and non-profit organizations. However, the role has developed to include more healthcare and hospital settings.

In Acute Care projects at Millennium Collaborative Care, Patient Navigators are embedded within hospital emergency departments and are directly involved in patient care coordination and discharge planning to help improve patient transitions upon discharge.

Patient Navigators help patients facilitate connecting meaningfully to primary care providers while linking patents to health homes and other needed services within the community.

Additionally, the Acute Care Team is very excited to ramp up coalition meetings involving each acute care hospital site. These coalition meetings will include representatives from each hospital site where best practices will be shared along with highlighting how Millennium Collaborative care will be a resource throughout DSRIP to support hospitals as they form a more integrated delivery system.


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