Find Provider Providers Find Locations Locations Care Services Services Patients Patients

Mount Nittany Health Foundation Supports Oncology Patient Navigators in Removing Barriers to Care

Mount Nittany Health Foundation Supports Oncology Patient Navigators in Removing Barriers to Care

In November 2023, 71-year-old Denise Moser received a shocking diagnosis – she was living with adult acute myeloid leukemia.

Fortunately, Denise has a team of providers who developed a treatment plan to manage the disease. Part of this plan includes receiving infusion treatments at CANCER CARE PARTNERSHIP – a partnership between Mount Nittany Health and Penn State Cancer Institute – located in the Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

During one of the treatments, a Mount Nittany Health oncology patient navigator, Leslie Finton, MSW, stopped by to meet Denise and offered her assistance in navigating any challenges she was facing with her diagnosis and treatment. They immediately connected and identified areas of stress and difficulty for Denise.

On Denise’s behalf, Leslie secured funding from the Mount Nittany Health Foundation to cover some of the costs associated with her treatments. She also arranged for fuel assistance to pay for visits to and from the Medical Center and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center where Denise receives the remainder of her care.

“Leslie is a miracle worker,” said Denise. “Beyond the physical impact, I had no idea how much cancer would affect my life. With the help of Leslie and the patient navigator program, I was able to focus on my health instead of worrying about how I was going to pay for my gas, food, and treatments.”

Mount Nittany Health’s team of navigators helps patients deal with challenges they may experience with a cancer diagnosis. The navigators help remove barriers to care and serve as advocates for patients and their families. Along with Leslie, the navigation team includes Kristin Sides, OPN-CG, who has worked as an oncology patient navigator since the program started in 2007 and Angelique Cygan, RN, Oncology Breast Navigator who focuses solely on patients facing a breast cancer diagnosis. In 2023 the team expanded to include Haley Carpenter, Oncology Financial Navigator whose role is to talk with patients about costs associated with their treatment and counseling them on understanding their insurance.  Haley’s role has helped reduce great amounts of stress and uncertainty for patients facing treatment.

The Foundation is able to support Denise and patients like her thanks in part to their dedicated philanthropic partner, the Team Ream Foundation. Team Ream provides support and assistance to families affected by a life-threatening illness, including cancer. Team Ream has donated more than $200,000 to the Foundation, enabling patient navigators to use these financial resources to remove barriers to care, such as transportation challenges or expenses for treatment.

Over the past year, funding from the Foundation has assisted patients in the following ways:

  • Enabled home health assistance
  • Offered to cover mortgage, rent, car, and electricity bill payments, as well as home heating assistance
  • Provided transportation expenses, including car repairs, and payments for services like HealthRide and MedConnect
  • Covered hotel and fuel expenses when traveling for necessary care
  • Purchased  wigs for patients

Leslie has been an oncology patient navigator since 2019 and, alongside her fellow navigators, has assisted many patients like Denise to help to make their lives a little easier during their cancer journey.

“We are fortunate to live in an area with incredibly supportive donors of the Mount Nittany Health Foundation – Team Ream being one of many – that make it possible for us to help our patients in their time of need,” said Leslie. “Transportation continues to be a barrier for many of our patients so helping them get the care they need close to home remains a priority. We work each day to make sure that no one must choose between receiving care or forgoing treatments because of these barriers.”

The Foundation is proud to support the patient navigator program as it provides critical resources to those in the community facing a cancer diagnosis. To learn more about how Mount Nittany Health Foundation donors make a difference, visit