Katrina Yanez

Blog | May 11, 2022 | Article

Empowered PCP: How One Nurse Is Making the Biggest Impact Through the Total Care Model

By agilon health staff

As part of our blog series, The Empowered PCP, agilon health has been sitting down with powerful voices in the primary care physician (PCP) community to learn about how they’re creating healthier communities through value-based care and to hear their perspectives on empowering other PCPs. In honor of National Nurses Week (May 6-12), we wanted to shine a spotlight this time on nurse Katrina Yanez—a key empowering figure at one of our partner practices—to highlight the pivotal role nurses play on a value-based care team in delivering high-quality, independent primary care.

People talk a lot about wanting to make a difference, but for Katrina Yanez, Clinical Operations Manager at Premier Family Physicians in Austin, Texas, “difference” isn’t a strong-enough word. What she’s wanted to do most in her nursing career is make an impact. Her eyes were opened to the power of nursing at a young age, when her high-school best friend passed away from leukemia. Seeing her friend’s nurse speak at the funeral service, “I knew I wanted to have that kind of impact,” Yanez recalls today. “That’s how it started.”

She launched her career as a medical-surgical nurse at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center in Texas, but in the years that followed, working in both hospice and home health care, her eyes were opened again—this time, to the specific, critical need for high-quality, patient-focused senior care. “It was a culture shock to really see the lack of care for our senior population—whether their family is involved or not,” Yanez says. “One of the hardest things in nursing, I think, is when you don’t feel like you’re having much of an impact…. when [you] get into that mode of, ‘Am I really having an impact—one that brings joy into my life [through] the way I’m doing things?’”

The answer, as it turned out for Yanez, was to transition to practicing value-based care, which she found at the physician-owned Premier Family Practices. As a critical member of a care team (which also includes the PCP, APPs and others), a large part of her role there is to educate, mentor, train and support the clinical supervisors on her team to “become better leaders, which ultimately helps impact our patients.” She adds, “I love patients! I’m very patient-centric in everything I do, and I try to infuse that into everything I do as a mentor: What is the best thing for our patient?”

And since Premier Family Physicians practices care under the Total Care Model, educating her team on the best, value-based patient practices often means undoing the fee-for-service mindset they’ve likely been inculcated with throughout their careers—a challenge she welcomes, as she notes, “Being a part of delivering high-quality, preventative medicine for the patient, it excites me.”

Although Yanez’s role at PFP is a degree removed from hands-on patient care, she’s carried with her a desire to make an impact in patients’ lives by teaching other caregivers on her care team—whether a nurse, PCP or APP—the best ways to deliver value-based care.

“Where I come in, we educate our teams on, ‘How can we not just send this patient to the ER? How can we do an in-home visit or palliative care instead? Let’s try to work with each one of these illnesses and make sure we’re educating the patient enough where it doesn’t panic them to go racing to the hospital when most people don’t want to do that,’” Yanez explains. “We’re trying to perfect preventative medicine, helping people live longer and, as they decline, still live better. And to be honest, that just means taking the time to do the little things that will improve the day-to-day impact for each patient we come across—I’m excited the more that we get into it.”

Perhaps the most exciting part of Yanez’s mission? Getting to come full-circle with her original desire to make an impact. “It personally just brings me joy that we’re working toward that even more, every day as we perfect it,” she says. “I know we’re making an impact.”

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