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Kevin Wiehrs is a nurse at a busy doctor’s office in Savannah, Ga. But instead of giving patients shots or taking blood pressure readings, his job is mostly talking with patients like Susan Johnson.
Johnson, 63, a retired restaurant cook who receives Medicare and Medicaid, has diabetes, and she already met with her doctor. Afterwards, Wiehrs spends another half hour with her, talking through her medication, exercise and diet.
Care coordinator Kevin Wiehrs meets with patient Susan Johnson at Memorial Health, a medical system based in Savannah, Ga. (Photo by Sarah McCammon/Georgia Public Broadcasting).
“So it sounds like you cut back on your sweets, things that have a lot of sugars in them -- what about vegetables, your portions of food, have you made any changes with that?” he asks her.
“A little bit. Ain’t gonna lie; a little bit,” she replies.
Wierhs, 51, was a hospice nurse for 15 years and a social worker before that. Now, he is one of five new care coordinators at Memorial Health, a medical system based in Savannah. He was hired to pay special attention to patients with poorly controlled chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
“Some of these patients have fought with their diabetes for many years and get very complacent with the whole situation and feel that no...