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Bluegrass Care Navigators Pioneer Janet Snapp

During her 19-year tenure, Janet Snapp grew both as a nurse and as a manager as Bluegrass Care Navigators, then Hospice of the Bluegrass, grew in the community. A previous job’s hours were too late for the single mom, so she started as a home care nurse serving Fayette County in 1990.

“For the first time, I felt I was truly doing holistic nursing care,” Snapp remarked. “It felt more like coaching patients and families during a difficult time.”

Snapp had earlier worked as a labor and delivery nurse and “the work seemed similar…. [the] patients did all the actual ‘work’ and I provided support and guidance!”

In her nursing role, Snapp saw the need and began promoting hospice services to other medical providers in town. It was soon obvious that providers wanted more than the staff was trained to do, so she began training nurses. Concurrently, Hospice of the Bluegrass was growing into other counties and, out of necessity, Snapp was asked to lead the Lexington office.

In 1995, Snapp was named Vice President of Clinical Services (later Chief Clinical Officer), a position she held until she retired in 2009.

Snapp says, “I made the transition into management by default!”

In her role, Snapp traveled statewide, including spending many nights in a small apartment over the Hazard office and in Louisville training physicians on end-of-life care. By the end of her tenure, she had direct responsibility for 80% of the organization’s $86 million budget.

In addition to her clinical leadership and education responsibilities, Snapp helped open the Hospice Care Center at Kentucky One’s Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington in 1996 and an inpatient unit in Northern Kentucky at St. Luke’s Hospital in Ft. Thomas in 2004 (That unit closed in 2010 due to a merger.). Along the way, Snapp authored numerous papers, partnered on many research projects and received several awards for her groundbreaking work.

Since 2009, Snapp has lived in the Columbus, Ohio area where she works at The James Cancer Hospital, the largest cancer hospital in the Midwest and the third largest in the country, as a Service Line Administrator in Supportive Services. In her current role, Snapp oversees several clinical and non-clinical areas of care, primarily survivorship care, palliative care and other services that provide support for patients during cancer treatment. She acknowledges that the program development work she did at Bluegrass Care Navigators helped to prepare her for this role.

“Hospice of the Bluegrass was quickly growing and becoming a nationally admired program,” Snapp said in closing. “I think it’s great to see the [continued] expansion….of services that are needed by patients and families. At its core, hospice remains focused on answering the primary driving question always asked at any point of conflict: ‘What does the patient want?’”

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