Ensuring Patients are Matched with the Right Setting for their Unique Needs

Beyond Magazine

Jun 21, 2022

Brooks Clinical Liaisons – Delivering Access to Excellent Inpatient Care

With the opening of Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital – Bartram Campus, the Brooks Clinical Liaison team will have more opportunities to help connect acute care patients with the inpatient rehabilitation services and location that are right for them.

Twenty-seven members strong, the majority of this team of nurses and therapists promote our expertise regionally with the acute care hospital systems, while a smaller number promote Brooks to a wider provider audience throughout the Southeast. Clinical liaisons evaluate patients and consult with the patient’s entire current support environment – physicians, families, therapists, nurses, social workers, discharge planners and insurance company representatives – to facilitate admission to one of Brooks’ inpatient settings, such as our two Jacksonville rehabilitation hospitals, our rehabilitation hospital partnership with Halifax Health in Daytona Beach, Fla., or one of our two skilled nursing facilities.

“A clinical liaison is the first contact a patient may have with our Brooks inpatient care settings,” said Kerry A. Maher, PT, MD, Senior Vice President of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Consulting and Education, Medical Director of Admissions, who oversees the Clinical Liaison team. “A patient may have heard of Brooks, but it’s the clinical liaison that goes to the bedside, reviews the patient’s medical history and really educates the patient on the benefits of rehabilitation at Brooks. That’s so important to give patients the confidence that they are going to improve and succeed at Brooks, and ensure individualized, patient-centered care once they are admitted.”

Overseeing the Clinical Liaison team was a role Dr. Maher began playing almost immediately when she first joined Brooks in 2004. As a consulting physician, Dr. Maher has privileges at every hospital in Jacksonville and developed strong relationships at each location (a characteristic she instills in all liaisons). Concurrently, Brooks was forming specialized programs in stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputees, medical complex patients and pediatrics. The relationships and programmatic focus resulted in unprecedented referrals and admissions. A team that started with three clinical liaisons grew to 27.

Brooks clinical liaisons are expected to have degrees and licenses, strong experience in clinical rehab and healthcare, as well as experience in marketing, communications and business. Besides these technical skills, Dr. Maher says each clinical liaison needs to be able to work autonomously, think outside the box and, of course, be able to develop those strong relationships.

“A clinical liaison, on a moment’s notice, should be able to explain what rehabilitation is, why it’s important for that patient, and why Brooks – with all its programs and offerings – is the best choice for that patient. They go above and beyond to ensure that each patient can access the rehabilitative care they need.”

Promoting Access to Excellent Outpatient and Home Health Care

Similar to the Clinical Liaison team for inpatient rehabilitation, both our Outpatient and Home Health divisions have dedicated teams that educate health professionals and the public on the features and benefits of their respective offerings.

Tammi Van Brocklin is Brooks’ Manager of Outpatient Referral Development. A 20-year veteran in our outpatient division, Tammi has witnessed firsthand the growth in both Brooks’ outpatient locations and capabilities throughout Florida.

“When I started 20 years ago, I think we had six outpatient sites,” said Van Brocklin. “We used handwritten notes. Today we have more than 40 sites with many specialties and the latest technology. It’s much more than just a referral – it’s educating and connecting the right people to the right places.”

Regardless of a patient’s condition, Brooks Outpatient Therapy designs a comprehensive treatment plan to meet the patient’s specific needs, using state-of-the-art equipment and therapy concepts. The end goal for every person in outpatient therapy is to help them reach the highest level of recovery and maximize life participation.

With Brooks well-known in many places, and expanding as a new provider in others, Van Brocklin and her team of Provider Relation Specialists need to be well-versed in all things Brooks.

“For those physicians and referral coordinators who already know us, there’s always the latest Brooks’ outpatient specialty to inform on – say pelvic pain, TMJ issues, or geriatrics,” said Van Brocklin. “In areas that we’re growing, like Orlando, it’s a different form of education. In that case, one thing we stress that sets Brooks apart is our patient to therapist ratio. There’s never more than two patients per therapist. Whereas some of our competitors we have witnessed maybe three or four patients per therapist. The outcomes of course are going to be better with our lower ratio.”

Brooks’ Home Health division carries out almost 200,000 certified home visits annually, serving more than 8,500 patients in 23 north and central Florida counties. Home Health provides a wide array of skilled, professional medical services, performed in a patient’s home, under physician’s orders. Brooks Home Health is much less expensive than remaining at a medical facility and safer than traveling for care.

Chrisyl Brandner is Director of Sales and Marketing for Brooks Home Health north region – the largest of four Florida regions. When Brandner and her team discuss Home Health as an option, the benefits are very clear. “We have patients recover at home, get healthy at home, and stay safe at home,” said Brandner. “It’s all about minimizing readmission rates.”

Brandner and her team stress two innovative communication services available to Brooks’ Home Health patients. “‘Brooks Connect’ is a tablet patients have at home that is loaded with their diagnosis and health information,” said Brandner. “The tablet is interactive and monitors for blood pressure, oxygen saturation and pulse data, and will alert the Brooks team if something isn’t right. ‘Brooks Belle’ is our emergency, push-button access to help. It’s a lightweight and water-resistant neck pendant with 24/7 monitoring by a medical call center, with unlimited emergent and non-emergent use.”

Both Van Brocklin’s and Brandner’s teams boast knowledgeable members who love what they do, have been with Brooks for years, and do what they do for the education, benefit and health of their patients.

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