Customer service, patient care is No. 1 at Karmanos

Sylena Jones

By Sylena Jones, lead financial counselor at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

I enjoy working at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute because of the excellent customer service that we strive to bring to every one of our patients. 

I like to say that Karmanos customer service is ‘viral.’ It is displayed in every single department within the Institute, from the volunteers who escort our patients when they first arrive to their respective treatment areas; patients’ interactions with our doctors and nurses; to the representatives they meet with during “checkout” before they go home.

People and hospital organizations have noticed our brand of customer service. We’ve recently won a prestigious national award for outstanding patient experience, beating out all other hospitals in metro Detroit!

I am the lead financial counselor at Karmanos.  I assist patients with financial issues and help them to fill out Medicaid applications, understand payment plan options or recommending to them other programs that may offer assistance. Those programs might include Wayne County’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP), of which Karmanos is the administrating organization. The BCCCP program provides free mammograms and pap smears for uninsured women ages 40-64. We also can refer them to Susan G. Komen for the Cure resources, which offer breast cancer patients wonderful education and support services through Karmanos and other community partners.

Delivering excellent customer service to our patients is critical because these are people who are facing a difficult journey through cancer. A smile, a caring touch or a listening ear is all a patient may need to brighten their day.

At Karmanos, we do more than assist patients — we help their families by providing support services and information to them that show we understand that their own lives have changed too as they care for their loved one. 

Karmanos has adopted the “We CARE” policy, which ensures customer service is incorporated into each area of work. CARE stands for Communication, Answer, Respect and Excel.  

Throughout the 18 years I have worked at Karmanos, I have been able to tap into my own compassionate spirit.  Working at such a caring place has nurtured that spirit and has allowed me to reach my maximum potential as someone who assists cancer patients. 

I have met many people of different cultures and backgrounds here at Karmanos. I am thankful that I have helped so many individuals and families by making their lives easier by relieving some of their financial concerns. Being able to make our patients’ respective journeys as light as possible gives me great pleasure and incredible job satisfaction!  

For information about financial assistance or other services at Karmanos, please call 1-800-KARMANOS (526-6266) or visit


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