NEW YORK, April 24, 2008 — The Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute today announced that representatives from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention were amongst the first to be certified and representatives from the Cleveland Clinic were the first to be trained in patient navigation. The Institute offers the only certification program that exists in patient navigation training.
Patient navigation, a concept pioneered by Harold P. Freeman, M.D., in 1990, helps people remove barriers to timely cancer screening, treatment and supportive care. "Up until the institute began offering our training and certification program, there were no standards or measures to ensure patient navigation. "Now, for the first time, we've created standards and principles that can be tailored to each community's specific needs." To earn certification, the representatives participated in a three-day course at the Institute, which emphasizes the Harold P. Freeman Navigation Model, as well as information on how participants can tailor the program to meet their organization's specific needs.
"The Taussig Cancer Institute leadership has been working on providing better services for the undeserved over the past four years." said Kimberly Bell, Cleveland Clinic Taussig Institute Administrator. "Patient navigation further enhances our commitment to meeting the needs of the communities we serve." "It was an honor to meet Dr. Freeman, to hear firsthand about his research and the success of his program that moves mountains every day to improve the lives of cancer patients," sail Hildy Dillon, senior vice president, patient services for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). "The Institute's training staff are excellent and the patient navigators are inspirational. We are very fortunate to now have our chapter staff attending this training as we build our own program for blood cancer patients." Patient navigation has been a cornerstone of the Ralph Lauren Center's success in providing cancer care services to the Harlem community.
"It's particularly meaningful that the Ralph Lauren Center's patient navigators are among the first to be certified, since that program has already proven what a difference patient navigation makes in saving lives," said Dr. Freeman. In addition to being the Institute's founder, Dr. Freeman is the founder and president of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention.
Since the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute was established in June 2007 as a result of a generous $2.5 million grant received from the Amgen Foundation, 42 representatives from 12 organizations from around the U.S. have graduated from its training and certification program so that they can develop or expand patient navigation programs.
Since Dr. Freeman initiated the concept of patient navigation, many organizations have implemented patient navigation programs. Much of the recent growth has been spurred by funding from government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services' grant program to stimulate patient navigation programs targeting vulnerable populations throughout the country. The nonprofit and private sectors have also funded many patient navigation programs. Such programs vary in their approach to providing patient navigation. To date there are no widely applied standards for defining or measuring the effect of various forms of patient navigation. The Institute was established to help meet the growing need and demand for training in patient navigation, as well as to ensure standards and best practices.
The purpose of patient navigation is to eliminate barriers to timely diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The most important role of patient navigation is to assure that any patient with a suspicious finding will receive timely diagnosis and treatment. The Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Model taught at the institute addresses outreach efforts but focuses on the critical window between an initial cancer finding and the resolution of that finding through timely diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Freeman is an internationally recognized authority on the interrelationships between race, poverty and cancer. In 1990 Dr. Freeman initiated and developed the nation's first patient navigation program in Harlem to reduce disparities in access to diagnosis and treatment of cancer particularly among poor and uninsured people. He recognized there is a small but critical window of opportunity to save the live of patients -- the window between the point of an initial positive finding of potential cancer and the resolution of that finding through further diagnosis and treatment. Patient navigators guide patients through the complexities of the health care system, removing barriers to early diagnosis and treatment. Based on this early experience, Dr. Freeman developed the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Model, the gold standard of Patient Navigation.
In 2005, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 1812, the "Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act of 2005," which authorizes appropriations through FY 2010 for the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a competitive grant program designed to help patients access health care services.
With the movement and support for Patient Navigation Programs among cancer centers, the time is ripe to meet the growing demand, as well as to ensure standards and best practices. Healthcare organizations and individuals interested in starting a patient navigation program can call 1-646-380-4060.
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