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Who’s Who on Your Care Team?


Krista DeMaio


March 10, 2022


The essential guide to who keeps you healthy when you sign up for Emcara Health at-home medical care.

Smiling Argentinian female nurse in medical scrubs

When your health gets complicated, your healthcare coverage inevitably does too.

Figuring out referrals, tests, prescriptions, and all the different appointment times … it’s almost like you have to build your own medical team to manage your health.

Good news: When you enroll with Emcara Health, we build that team for you.

Unlike traditional home health services, we surround you with a group of medical experts who work together to deliver comprehensive primary care based on your unique medical, social, and economic needs.

This is what sets at-home primary care apart from what we traditionally think of as home healthcare, which tends to be short-term and limited to what a home health nurse can provide—appointment reminders, blood tests, and the like.

Here’s a look at who’s who on your Emcara Health care team.

Medical Doctor

At the top of every care team is a doctor who oversees the entire operation.

The M.D. doesn’t usually join home visits, but he or she is aware of your medical conditions and treatment plans, reviews your files regularly, and makes decisions about your care behind the scenes after consulting with other members of your care team, especially your nurse practitioner.

At Emcara Health, we believe in a team-first approach. Though the team is led by the doctor, the entire group is deeply engaged with each patient.

“We pool everybody’s knowledge of each patient as well as community resources that are available,” says Vanessa Walantus, a nurse practitioner with Emcara Health, “so we can really do the best we can by each patient.”

Nurse Practitioner

Your N.P. is who you’ll see most in your home. In the United States, nurse practitioners are highly trained and licensed to provide primary care to patients, much like a medical doctor.

“As a nurse practitioner, I can place all orders, whether they’re for imaging or medication, and make referrals for specialists,” Walantus says.

Your Emcara Health nurse practitioner can also deliver a deeper level of care than a physician can during a typical office visit.

“When a patient visits a doctor, they get about 15 to 20 minutes in the office,” Walantus says. “With Emcara Health, you have a provider’s set of eyes in your home, seeing the environment—you’re getting the whole story. You can’t get that in 15 minutes.”

Registered Nurse

Your N.P. and R.N. are a tag team, switching off on home visits to provide you with highest-quality care.

“As a nurse practitioner, I see the patient once every 3 months, or every other month for our intensive patients,” Walantus says. The registered nurse checks in—either in person or by phone—between those visits and relays any concerns to the N.P. and doctor.

“For patients who need to be seen monthly,” adds Walantus, “my R.N. and I alternate months.”

Community Health Worker

Community health workers are not medical experts. They’re somewhere between friend and social worker.

“We’re the resource people,” says Shea Clapp, a community health worker with Emcara Health. “I tell my patients, ‘I can’t put you in my car and I don’t touch your meds, but I do have access to different resources in the community, whether that’s finding more affordable medications, a food pantry, or a way to feed their pets.’”

The goal of the community health worker is to develop a relationship with the patient on a personal level, not a medical one. And because of that, they may uncover issues a doctor wouldn’t see. “Our job is really about building trust,” Clapp says.

Mental Health Professional

Some care teams include a clinical social worker, a healthcare professional who’s highly trained in the assessment and treatment of mental illness and behavioral and emotional disorders.

Your care team is likely to include a clinical social worker if you have a substance abuse problem, mental health issue, or financial troubles, Clapp says.

Bottom line: Having access to this team of medical and non-medical experts, who work together on your specific needs, allows for a more personalized approach to at-home medical care.

“I treat my patients like family,” Clapp says, “because if it was my mom, I would absolutely want somebody making sure she was OK and being treated well.”

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