How Referral Coordinators Make Specialized Care Simpler

Referral Coordinator Kenan Aldzic helps patients connect to specialized care.

Healthcare is a team effort, and effective teamwork can immediately and positively promote healthier patient outcomes.

As healthcare has evolved towards a coordinated, patient-centered approach, patient “care teams” at NHC work together to provide collaborative and integrative care.

The care team staff that provide your coordinated, quality care includes providers and clinical pharmacists, as well as medical assistants who check your vitals and patient service representatives who answer your phone calls.

One role you might not be familiar with is the referral coordinator, who plays an important part in your care team.

These team members are responsible for coordinating and facilitating patient referrals to specialty clinics.

Referral coordinators walk with patients in their care journey, helping patients get to the specialists they need and ensuring smooth transitions between provider care and specialty care.

The coordinator works with the rest of your care team, your insurance if you have it, and specialists outside of NHC to make your visit easier – meaning when you arrive at the specialist appointment, you know the referral coordinator has taken care of everything for you.  That’s what makes them such valuable members of your care team.

Kenan Aldzic is one of NHC’s referral coordinators.

Kenan joined NHC a few years ago as a medical assistant before taking the role of referral coordinator, allowing him the opportunity to see how clinics operate and care for patients before working behind the scenes in administration.

Originally from Bosnia & Herzegovina, he immigrated to the United States as a child and grew up receiving care from a Community Health Center similar to NHC.  Now he appreciates the opportunity to help those in similar circumstances by working at NHC.

Kenan’s work focuses on high tech imaging and testing authorizations. That means he works with your insurance company to ensure that specialty care is covered by insurance. He also connects uninsured patients to specialty care through Project Access NOW, a nonprofit in the Portland metro area that reduces barriers to care for uninsured community members.

“I try to put myself in a patients’ shoes, and that helps guide me throughout my projects,” Kenan says.  Uninsured patients especially benefit from the work referral coordinators do, as they act as advocates for their care when applying for specialty care coverage through Project Access NOW’s programs.

“My favorite memory at NHC," he says, "is when an uninsured patient called me to thank me for helping her get coverage for an oncology appointment through Project Access NOW.”

A look at Kenan’s work as a referral coordinator highlights the value of the position to both our patients and our organization.  Referral coordinators like Kenan are a driving force behind the quality of care NHC provides patients, allowing each patient peace of mind when the need for specialty services arises.