Susan Langley: The Woman Who Moved Mountains
If you’ve come across Susan Langley in your lifetime, you wouldn’t forget her. Or, as she likes to put it, “My voice will be in your head.”
Having worked at The Denver Hospice for 22 years, Susan is a self-taught expert in the community. During her tenure, she worked in various departments, served on committees, influenced policy and positively affected many lives.
She’s moved mountains.
As accomplished as she is, Susan is humble. And, as she nears her retirement at year-end 2016, Susan asked that The Denver Hospice not hold a celebration that would put her at the center of attention. But she did accept the opportunity to offer her hospice story.
Where it all began
From the 1970s through the early 1990s, Susan worked in healthcare, learning the ins and outs of administrative and Certified Nurse Assistant work.
A pivotal experience in her life and career was when her sister fell ill with breast cancer. Susan moved to Denver to become her sister’s primary caregiver. Shewas with her sister every step of the way in her battle against cancer — from uncertainty at the beginning to the end of her beloved sister’s life. Shortly after, in 1993, Susan applied for a job with The Denver Hospice and began her work at The Hospice Inpatient Care Center in Aurora.
While some were hesitant to offer her the position because of her recent loss, Janelle McCallum, now President of The Denver Hospice, embraced Susan with open arms.
“Janelle was my champion,” said Susan. “She decided I was ready. I owe it all to Janelle.”
How far she’s come
From CNA to Inpatient Administrative Assistant to Patient Benefit Advisor doing discharge planning and admission assistant work on the side, Susan’s hunger for knowledge kept her climbing up her personal career ladder. Susan taught herself about the complex world of Medicaid reimbursement, quickly becoming the go-to person at The Denver Hospice for any and all questions regarding this important healthcare benefit for the poor and near-poor. Susan, in fact, became a vital resource for healthcare administrators and Medicaid officials charged with implementing and overseeing the program across Colorado. .
Where she is now
On the cusp of retirement, Susan is closing her career as a Patient Navigator. After completing a program with the Colorado Patient Navigator Training Collaborative, she was charged with launching a patient navigator function for the Optio Palliative Care team.
Her many accomplishments
When asked what her greatest accomplishment has been, Susan was stumped.
She served as both co-chair and chair of the Ethics Committee at The Denver Hospice. She was a member of the Long Term Care Advisory Board, a committee of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. She was awarded the Spirit of Hospice Award in 2007 at The Denver Hospice and also awarded Employee of the Season. She helped write, revise and implement any number of rules and regulations about Long Term Care and Medicaid for hospice patients. She helped develop the Children with Life Limiting Waiver (CLLI). She served as vice-chair on the Haley House Board of Directors.
Yet, humble as ever, she could not pick her proudest moment.
“It has always been an honor to be in the presence of people [who are] going through their end-of-life journey. I believe in The Denver Hospice mission and I try to live it every day. Every patient and family I touch, I do my best to exemplify that mission,” said Susan.
“My intention was always to give back. I am fortunate to have been able to care for the vulnerable population. I’m rich with the meaningfulness of all of these years. I can still see people’s faces, their families, their heartbreak and their joys. It’s a privilege to have shared their journey.”
Her farewell to her peers
“Please continue your compassionate work and service. It has been an honor to be part of The Denver Hospice and Optio Palliative Care team. Thank you kindly.”