Photo Information

Marla L. Little, case manager for the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, assists a sailor with locating a doctor to treat his concurrent back problems, July 22. Little is part of the Navy Case Manager Program, a service geared toward helping find the right medical treatment for someone with complex injuries.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

Case managers draws up medical roadmap for service members

19 Jul 2010 | Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright

When a military member sustains multiple injuries receiving proper treatment can be daunting and complex. While seeking medical care, Marines can easily get lost navigating various sources of information, which is why an important program was established.

Aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune sit 19 nurses and social workers whose goal is to help service members easily get the necessary medical treatment as quickly as possible. These personnel are part of the Navy Case Manager Program, a service geared toward helping find the appropriate care for someone with complex injuries.

“The NCMP was initiated in the fall of 2002 as a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation and advocacy for options and services to meet an individual’s health needs,” said Kathy Buffall, MCB Camp Lejeune Case Manager division officer. “Before the war, it was open to military dependents and retirees as well, but due to the increase in injured personnel returning from the war, it is now for active duty service members only.”

A case manager is, in essence, the middleman between a patient and the various medical practicioners he needs for treatment. If a patient with multiple injuries comes in, his record is handed to a case manager who lays out a ‘roadmap’ to all the treatments needed, monitoring the process throughout.

“The (NCMP) helps patients be in the right place at the right time receiving the right care,” said Pete Demonch, utilization management department head for NHCL. “Under those 19 case managers, 650 patients are seen and assisted in seeking medical resources.”

The 19 case managers aboard base are separated into various medical specialties ranging from women’s health, pediatrics, orthopedics and mental health. Five case managers are also assigned to the Wounded Warrior Battalion barracks on base.

“When we look for certain treatments for the patients that come in, we are not just limited to (NHCL)’s resources,” said Buffall. “We network with other treatment programs on base, such as EDIS, as well as medical establishments out in town.”

While the NCMP is exclusively geared toward active-duty service members, Buffell has expressed hopes of opening the service up to military dependents and retirees once again.  She says another hope of the program is to also sign on more case managers, because a single case manager can only assist no more than of 40 patients in their treatment schedules and locations.

“The (NCMP) has gone a long way since its creation in 2002 with just four case managers, and it keeps growing,” said Buffell. “The overall summary of the program is if healthcare was an orchestra, the case manager would be the conductor.”

For more information on the Navy Case Management Program, call the case management front desk at 450-3422.