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How Our Nurses Support Care and Experience for Members

The many nurses employed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas help members get the care they need and improve their health. In recognition of Nurses Month, we honor our nurses for their empathy, compassion and commitment to our members.

Their experience is diverse. Many devoted decades of their lives working long shifts and countless nights, weekends and holidays caring for patients in clinical settings before transitioning to their jobs as case reviewers, care managers and care coordinators and other roles.

Here are a few of their stories.

Scott Catone
Holistic Health Specialist
Health Advocacy Solutions

As one of BCBSTX’s newest nurse employees, Scott Catone looks forward to working with members, offering the empathy and support he’s always provided patients throughout his nearly 30-year career.

Holistic Health Specialist Scott Catone

He also believes his own story of survival could offer members strength and encouragement as he helps them manage their health conditions and illnesses. In March 2020, as threat of COVID-19 infections kept Americans quarantined at home, Catone waited in a Dallas-area hospital for a heart transplant, which he received weeks later.

He shares his story because he knows it gives other people hope. The hospital recorded a video testimonial of Catone and his wife, which it plays on a TV screen.

“A patient at the hospital recognized me from the video and told me that they watch it all the time,” Catone says. “Nurses have to have empathy, but this experience has given me a different perspective.”

While successful, Catone’s transplant required him to reinvent his nursing career, which started in the early 1990s after he trained as a U.S. Army combat life saver during his Operation Desert Storm deployment. Anti-rejection medications suppress his immune system and increase his infection risk, preventing Catone from performing the direct patient care he was used to providing.

He joined BCBSTX after a fellow church member and BCBSTX clinical operations director suggested Catone apply for a position that would allow him to make use of his nursing skills and work from home.

“If I can do something for other people, I’ll definitely try,” Catone says. “I still love helping people.”

Cathy Lambert
Utilization Management Coordinator
Health Advocacy Solutions

Cathy Lambert’s road to fulfilling her dream of becoming a pediatric nurse started with a 10-year detour recording and transcribing depositions and family court proceedings.

Utilization Management Coordinator Cathy Lambert

Difficult testimony and unreliable pay led her to follow her passion and return to school, becoming a nurse about 15 years ago. Lambert joined BCBSTX as a utilization management coordinator in 2019 after years working as a clinic pediatric nurse, in home health, and a brief stint in laser hair removal.

"It was the best decision I ever made,” says Lambert, although she feared the transition from clinical work to case reviews. “I was afraid I wasn’t going to feel like a nurse if I was not touching people. But this is a dream come true.”

She works with providers to coordinate member care for needs such as hospital stays, elective surgeries and in-home physical therapy. Lambert enjoys the job because she’s learning new things about diseases, treatments and therapies, including those for cancer and cardiac care.

“Every day is a new person and a new story,” she says. “I treat them like my family member. I’m going to get what I need to review their case. I’m going to fight for you. I would want someone to do that for me.”

Erika Tibbs
Medical Review Unit Nurse
Health Care Management

Every time her mother went to work for her nursing shift, Erika Tibbs wanted to go with her. As a teen, she became a hospital patient liaison and knew she’d found her life’s calling.

“It was the best job ever,” Tibbs recalls. “I got to help people. I really felt energized.”

Medical Review Unit Nurse Erika Tibbs

Following in her mother’s footsteps,Tibbs became a nurse and worked 20 years at the same hospital —working as a floor nurse to case manager.

She remains as passionate about patient care now as a medical review nurse as she did as a hospital volunteer. In 2018, Tibbs joined BCBSTX, and, she says, “hit the jackpot.” In reviewing member cases, Tibbs believes she has more time to get to know her patients and their conditions despite never meeting them.

Her experience as a floor nurse was invaluable, but she typically rushed from patient to patient until her shift ended. “I’m doing meaningful work because I’m still making sure patients get what they need,” Tibbs says. “You touch people’s lives when no one else in the world can.”

Majdi Saleh
Utilization Management Coordinator
Health Advocacy Solutions

Majdi Saleh was introduced to the health care profession while he was a teenager in his home country of Jordan and his father had a heart attack.

Utilization Management Coordinator Majdi Saleh

“When I saw the health care providers and the amount of passion they had for a helpless man at his weakest moment, that motivated me,” says Saleh, whose father survived. “It made me think about health care as a career in that moment. It was my spark.”

He became a cardiovascular critical care nurse and spent years treating patients in Saudi Arabia and Southern California before finding his way to Plano, Texas, where he worked at Baylor Scott & White’s heart hospital. In 2021, he says his career “took a 180-degree change” when he became an BCBSTX utilization management coordinator.

He communicates with doctors and other providers to ensure members get the inpatient, outpatient and rehabilitation care they need. Saleh says he likes the challenge of assessing patient needs and using his clinical background to resolve issues and improve workflows.

“I’m analyzing and looking for the best outcome for each member,” says Saleh, adding that he enjoys collaborating with other colleagues to chart the best course of care for everyone he serves. “When you can touch someone’s life and make a difference, it’s priceless.”

Tina Fontenot
Utilization Management Coordinator
Health Advocacy Solutions

Tina Fontenot’s path to nursing was as straight as a winding mountain road.

Beginning as a medical assistant and phlebotomist, Fontenot fell in love with care giving and enrolled in nursing school. Those plans quickly unraveled after she became a single mother to her sons, then 4 and 2.

Utilization Management Coordinator Tina Fontenot

To support her boys, Fontenot changed course, earned a business degree and worked 20 years through the corporate ranks to become an assistant vice president at a national bank. But Fontenot found herself back in nursing school after losing her job in 2008 during the Great Recession.

“It was bumpy in between, but I stayed focused,” says Fontenot, who graduated about 10 years ago. “I saw my way through because I love people.”

She became a hospital critical care nurse — and still works weekend shifts — even after joining BCBSTX in 2019 as a utilization management coordinator. Fontenot reviews cases and works with providers to help members get the surgeries and care they need.

“In the hospital, I’m working at the bedside, where it can be high adrenalin, trying to keep the patient alive." At BCBSTX, she says, "I’m working for the member on the back end with the provider to get the member what’s needed. Although the member doesn’t meet me, I’m there to support them.”

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