Tufts MC True Blue Recipient: Kate Leonard, Financial Coordinator
Nominations from the Social Work Services Department: Manager Joan Smith, Social Worker Chris Jolliffe, Social Worker Laura Paradis and Resource Specialist Sally English.
Excerpts from Chris Jolliffe’s nomination:
“Kate is an invaluable part of the palette of services we offer families in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Services. She is knowledgeable, organized and competent as one would expect of a professional, but Kate also possesses a ’bedside manner’ which distinguishes her. She is sensitive to and respectful of each patient’s unique circumstances. She communicates the complications of health insurance in a way that patients (and social workers) can understand. Kate comes directly to the clinic or to a patient’s room, often within the hour that I call. She is so consistent in following up with patients after they have left the hospital and following through on any issue. She always answers her desk phone and is somehow everywhere in the hospital. I’m still trying to figure that out.”
Excerpts from Sally English’s nomination:
“Kate works with many patients and families who are not only coping with an illness, but also experiencing financial difficulty. No matter how overwhelming a situation may be she always has a positive attitude. She is very professional and has a great deal of compassion for our patients. Whenever I call with a question or concern, Kate talks it through with me and is excellent with follow-up.
“We work together with families in the NICU in completing SSI applications. For most parents, this is a very stressful time and it takes a special person to be able to discuss financial issues while being sympathetic to the situation. One particular instance involved a couple from Ireland whose baby was born prematurely. Kate worked tirelessly with them to help navigate insurance and financial concerns, and the mom told me that Kate made this difficult situation much easier for them.”
Excerpts from Joan Smith’s nomination:
“Financial coordination plays a key role in the delivery system towards patient satisfaction. Oftentimes, this department is the most important part of a patient’s treatment plan. Kate has been the anchor of this department for many years. The ever-changing world of accessing health insurance has created continuous challenges for our medical center and the patients. Kate is an expert on understanding the intricacies of health insurance. She works with our patients to assist in not only applying for Mass Health programs, but also understanding their benefits. She is patient and kind, always respectful of our patients.
“I have brought numerous patients to Kate, knowing that they were not in her assigned ‘catchment’ area of the department. Often sharing their difficult stories and asking for her to spend ‘just a little time with them’ knowing that none of these situations would be easily resolved. She always graciously accepts these patients in the true spirit of teamwork. One of these occasions involved a hardworking 57-year-old man with multiple medical problems; his resistance to applying for Mass Health had contributed to his deteriorating medical condition. Kate’s wisdom and gentle approach in working with this patient allowed him to seek the financial benefits he so desperately needed while maintaining the integrity he truly deserved. This patient continues to work with Kate. More importantly, I believe he has come to view her as a friend and an important part of his support system. The Medical Center is extremely fortunate to have Kate Leonard as part of our team.”
Excerpts from Laura Paradis’s nomination:
“Kate has assisted countless families with making sure their newborn child is insured. She is always thinking about what’s in the best interest of the hospital and the families, and carries that out in a collaborative way. She treats all families the same and is very sensitive to cultural diversity. Kate’s a great team player and connects families with the Social Work and Case Management departments. She is sensitive to families’ stress and with much patience she instructs, teaches and helps them understand what they need to do to take care of their insurance needs. She returns calls and emails promptly, and is always willing to help out in difficult situations. She is a great example of serving the institution and our families with quality, kindness and respect.”