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Company leads people through health care maze

Renee Balcom, Pattie Slagle and Shantel Escobar help clients at their Brookings office.

A confusing doctor’s visit, or the instructions that seem hard to understand and even harder to apply. 

In the changing world of health care, and with the deadline to find coverage under the Obamacare Act approaching, health care can be a difficult field to navigate for the layman.


Liberty Advocacy Group, in Brookings, aims to act as a liaison between patients and the health care industry, by helping patients feel less intimidated by doctor’s visits, or making sure that treatments are followed correctly once at home. 

“Liberty was founded in November 2011 to assist people in finding resources or living at home independently,” said founder Renee Balcom. 

Since opening, the needs having been greater than expected and Liberty has served a variety of patients, ranging from stroke victims to those who just need some extra help as they age. 

“It’s whatever they need to be successful in health care,” said Pattie Slagle, general manager at Liberty Advocacy Group.

The services provided by Liberty can be a boon to many families who have family members who have retired to the Brookings area but do not live in the area and would like someone to check in on them. 

“We can serve as a liaison. Sometimes it might be a problem communicating with the insurance company. Or a doctor may need help judging a person in a holistic way,” Balcom said. 

One of Liberty’s clients is a 92-year-old man who lives independently. Liberty attends his medical appointments, and then make sure he follows through with what the doctors order. 

“We make sure these people aren’t a burden on the emergency response system. By getting health care professionals closer to individuals and their needs, the need for emergency response is lessened,” Balcom said. 

The group brings together individuals who have many years of experience in the medical industry. Pattie Slagle, the general manager, worked for 20 years in home health care and hospice. Shantel Escobar is a registered nurse and oversees the nursing and clinical aspects of Liberty’s work. 

With Obamacare looming, Liberty personnel feel they are in a good position to help people receive the care they need and businesses lower their healthcare costs by creating wellness programs.

Balcom said they have strived to make Liberty’s services affordable and not just something for the rich. The team takes on several cases pro bono, and strives to be good members of the community by serving on various boards and committees. 

Their work as advocates has led them to do many different things, from negotiating the costs on insurance bills to guiding people through filling out Veteran’s Administration or Social Security disability claims. 

“The work we do is right where people live,” Balcom said, “And we work to find solutions to their health care issues right where they live.”

Liberty Advocacy Group is located at 1043 Chetco Ave. and can be contacted at 541-469-7611.


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