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Case Study

PHM has your back

Published January 26th, 2023


The ability to live a normal life versus one that is defined by pain can change in an instant. Amanda was enjoying a weekend with friends in California’s wine country. As she took in a spectacular view, she suddenly began to experience unimaginable pain that began in her lower back and radiated down her legs.

Amanda couldn’t turn, she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t even move.

Amanda spent the next few days making agonizing trips to emergency rooms where she was given the same prescription for pain medication and told that her pain wasn’t severe enough for her to be admitted or receive an MRI.

PHM Insights

After days of not being able to sit, stand, or walk on her own, Amanda was scared, nervous, and didn’t know where to turn. That’s when her mother, who had a unique health benefit through her employer, called PHM to ask for help.

Later that day, a member of PHM’s Personal Care Team contacted her and offered her everything she was looking for: knowledge, reassurance, and a path forward that finally matched the urgency of her situation.

PHM arranged for a specialist to come to her. The specialist examined Amanda and gave her a steroid so she would be able to travel to his office the next day for an MRI. There they discovered that her condition was even more serious than an of the previous doctors had anticipated.

Amanda had a severely herniated disc that was at risk of paralyzing her from the waist down and she needed emergency spinal surgery. After hearing the results, Amanda immediately received a phone call from PHM who had already reviewed the results of the MRI and had also sourced opinions from PHM’s team of experts. Their findings were consistent – Amanda needed the surgery, and she needed it as soon as possible.


Amanda had a decision to make, but it wasn’t one that she made alone. Her PHM Personal Care Team walked her and her parents through the procedure and explained the the likely outcomes as well as possible complications. Armed with this information, Amanda underwent a successful surgery the following morning. Fortunately, she regained her range of motion and ability to walk almost immediately.

Before her surgery, Amanda felt her world had been turned upside down. She struggled to make informed decisions about her health. Amanda’s Personal Care Team acted as her champion, offering the advice, compassion, and guidance she needed to navigate this complex health issue – and the healthcare system itself.

Hear directly from Amanda

About the Authors

Katelyn Smith, MSN, RN, ANP-BC​

Vice President, Clinical Services, Business Health Solutions

Katelyn oversees the Health Optimization clinical team that provides comprehensive clinical care and case management support for individuals, families, employers and their employees.

Nicholas Argento

Senior Director, Executive Services

Niko’s primary focus is client relationships, care management and business development.