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Lucia Croce and Cindy Yeo, Outpatient Nutrition Services

Every day at 7:30 am, Lucia Croce and Cindy Yeo have their morning huddle. These days, it’s over the phone rather than at their 165 Cambridge Street office. The two patient coordinators in Massachusetts General Hospital's Outpatient Nutrition Services talk about what is on tap for the day. Typically, they manage the schedules of five dietitians, book patient appointments, check patients in and out, manage incoming referrals, address concerns with insurance companies and provide patients with resources in the event that a service is not covered by insurance.

Like many Mass General employees, Croce and Yeo’s daily lives were turned upside down as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved. Beyond adjusting to an entirely new way of working, however, they also stepped up to fill in for an MGH Revere HealthCare Center colleague. They contacted patients to reschedule appointments or set up virtual appointments, administered referrals and worked with staff in departments with which they were not familiar.

“It was stressful, but we worked through it,” Yeo says. “We just did it. It’s part of our job. Whether we’re needed in Revere or anywhere else, we’re there. There was simply no question. We hopped right into it.”

Pat Engel, director of Community Nutrition, says she is proud of the duo for their willingness to offer their expertise when it was needed. “It was a relief and a comfort to know they were taking care of this for us and I felt that it really improved patient care for that area. They did this in such a positive, willing-to-help, ‘how can I make this happen?’ way. They were very proactive and that’s so important. They did it because they wanted to.”

Croce and Yeo have been working together as patient coordinators for about four years, however both have worked at the Mass General for longer—Croce for nearly 20 years and Yeo for nearly six.

“We work very well together, me and Cindy, and I’m fortunate I’m able to do this with her,” Croce says. "We also have a very strong support system. The dietitians are always very helpful. It takes a village!”