The Transitions program team members from Partners In Care were recognized as “2023 Health Heroes” in a ceremony on September 5 at Deschutes County Health Services.
The Partners In Care Transitions team has been transforming lives across Central Oregon since 2004. Five Transitions Coordinators, Bethany Benefield, Laurie Slye, Pam McConnell, Hollie Andrews, and Molly Denton, cover a 10,000 square mile area from Jefferson and Crook County, through Deschutes County and out to Christmas Valley. Transitions is a no cost, resource-based, non-clinical case management program for medically fragile individuals with a limited prognosis, including those who may not qualify for home health or hospice. Anyone can refer to the Transitions program, from the person themselves to medical providers, community members, and family members.
“Being recognized as Public Health Heroes is an incredible honor that took us all by surprise!” said Benefield, transitions team lead. “It’s easy to only focus on the immediate needs of the individuals we serve, so it’s been particularly special to have a reason to take a step back and reflect on the impact we’ve been able to make in our community. We take pride in what we do and are humbled by this acknowledgment of our work.”
Transitions Coordinators help clients and families navigate resources that many are not familiar with; this results in people not ‘falling through the cracks’ or feeling alone. Many are isolated or have minimal support from family. The team works closely with numerous organizations in Deschutes County and across Central Oregon, to include the county health services, social workers, the Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Service Officers and VA Clinic, the Vet Center, unhoused resources, transportation resources, the Council on Aging and senior centers for Meals on Wheels, and many more organizations that provide a support network throughout the region.
“As a nonprofit organization that has been addressing community needs for over 40 years, Partners In Care has supported medically fragile or seriously ill individuals through implementation of programs such as Transitions and Palliative Care,” said Greg Hagfors, Partners In Care CEO. “The Transitions Program started nearly twenty years ago and continues to fill a gap in our community. This award is a testament to the commitment of these five team members who go above and beyond every day collaborating with one another to best serve the clients in their care.”
Daily, the team supports approximately 400 people across the tri-counties, touching thousands of lives each year. Transitions Coordinators go wherever the client calls home and assess the situation for what may be needed. That could be a one-time visit to help answer questions and provide referrals to other agencies for support; it could be visits each month for a few years. Enrolling in Transitions can benefit the client and their family, ensuring support is provided as health conditions or living conditions change. Many clients that the Transitions team serves have said “what would I have done without them?” and many families who live miles away have shared how appreciative they were for the regular check-ins and resources for a loved one.
“Past awards have gone to exceptional individuals and organizations that have demonstrated dedication and extraordinary effort to improving Public Health in the region. This year’s nominees were a stellar selection of people and organization, with the difficult choice of recipients from a highly qualified field,” said the Deschutes County Public Health Advisory Board. “This year’s recipients join that group of deserving award winners, including the Individual Award Winner, Brad Porterfield, and the Organization Award Winner, the Partners In Care Transitions Team.”
Because Transitions is a no cost program for those receiving support, Partners In Care can continue this program through generous donations from the community.
partnersbend.org • 2075 NE Wyatt Court, Bend • 541-322-1289