Meet Lorraine Mundy (Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation), an FNHA Health Benefits Assessor with the Medical Transportation team. Lorraine arrived at the FNHA well prepared for her role. Before joining the Health Benefits Medical Transportation team in August 2015, Lorraine worked as a patient travel clerk in her home community of Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation. Her colleagues at the FNHA Paul Clairmont, Medical Transportation Program Coordinator, and Mary Legge, Health Programs Officer, say her community experience adds a vital, hands-on perspective to the Medical Transportation team.
Adding capacity to support communities
Lorraine is the first person to hold this new Health Benefits position. The position was created to provide additional support to BC First Nations communities navigating their members' medical transportation needs.
By adding this new position, the Health Benefits Medical Transportation team can be more responsive to the needs of community members. Now the team members have more resources, which allow them to work in partnership with communities to carry out funding arrangements, deliver programs, and complete reporting.
Adding Lorraine's position is part of the transformational work happening at FNHA Health Benefits, explains Devi Goberdhan. Devi is the director of Health Benefits Operations and is from the Sapotoweyak Cree Nation.
"Health Benefits Medical Transportation programs are primarily delivered by patient travel clerks in our First Nations communities," says Devi. "We're asking ourselves, how can the Medical Transportation team better support communities on their journeys to accessing health care? We are listening and providing the tools and information communities need to do their work."
Team work for patient journeys
It takes team work and strong relationships to support patient journeys. Lorraine and the Medical Transportation team support patient travel clerks working in our First Nations communities. The team responds to questions and navigates especially complex cases.
Lorraine keeps her focus simple: "I try to help people get to where they need to go!" Being a good listener is also essential, explains Lorraine. "Listening to people – I think that's what community members want – they want to be heard."
An important part of Lorraine's day-to-day is helping patient travel clerks with reporting – a key way in which the FNHA stays responsive to community needs.
Getting the reports right is important. "The reports help me know what kind of resources the community needs," says Mary. "The reports allow us to see the whole picture. Everything starts right there in community and we support that process."
With the addition of Lorraine to the team, Medical Transportation spends more time connecting directly with community members. The Medical Transportation team also connects with patient travel clerks throughout the year.
The team provides one-on-one learning and support for patient travel clerks. The team hosts three to four one-day training sessions each fall and spring, depending on demand. The training is so well-received that clerks travel from across the province to attend. These sessions help them build skills and provide a valuable opportunity for patient travel clerks to meet others doing similar work. These training sessions are also an excellent way for Medical Transportation team members to strengthen their relationships with community.
For Lorraine, Mary, Paul and Devi, this is what the work is all about: building relationships, responding to community needs, and gaining understanding for the journey ahead.
When asked what inspires her about the role, Lorraine speaks about FNHA Operating Principles, especially number one – a wellness philosophy based on First Nations teachings.
"Everything we're doing is based on First Nations teachings – and that's important," says Lorraine. "It's such a positive and supportive way to work with community members."