Chris Klemme: Senior Vice President, Trust Officer

“We owe the highest duty of care to our clients.”

Chris Klemme
Senior Vice President/Trust Officer

PyxisCare Management is proud to work with other expert service providers on a daily basis to ensure that a range of client needs are met. Chris Klemme, a Senior Vice President and Trust Officer at American National Bank and Trust Co., is an executive trust officer who brings a wealth of knowledge and a law degree to serving the complex needs of trust clients. Learn more about how the trust process works for clients in need of wholistic care coordination.

What do you think is most valuable for a trust officer from an initial assessment?

A trust officer needs to have a good understanding of the full range of services available to their clients that are both helpful and pragmatic, based upon the specific medical or mental condition of the client.

What are things everyone should know about working with a trust officer?

We are fiduciaries – which means we owe the highest duty of care to our clients.   We are also heavily regulated – our departments typically go through a third-party audit and a government examination every year.   Documentation is the key to a good results.   The documentation provides justification for the money we are expending, or are about to spend; it is also extremely helpful so that any team member in the trust department can review monthly reports to quickly get up to speed on what the clients’ needs have been in the recent past.

How can trust officers utilize care management on behalf of their beneficiaries? 

We receive most of our referrals from attorneys. Many times, they expect a bank employee to serve  almost as a legal guardian for their clients, when we are often not equipped to do so.  Retaining case management partners, like the Nurse Client Advocates at PyxisCare Management, provides the corporate fiduciary with additional eyes and ears on a clients’  situation. Because of their expertise, there have been several times over the years that the case manager for a client has apprised us of needs that the family, for whatever reason, has not.

Why do trust officers need initial assessments of beneficiaries?   

Many times, especially by the time a client arrives to us, it has been several months, if not a year or more, since there has been an updated assessment. This is especially important in brain trauma cases, where most specialists say there is a two-year window after the injury for maximum improvement to occur. Trust professionals need an accurate baseline of our client’s medical circumstances at the time the relationship begins, so we can provide the funds for the most critical needs of the client.

What is the biggest benefit of care coordination to your clients? 

Having additional qualified professionals who focus on our clients, means that we are always updated on new needs that can be addressed quickly and compassionately.  These are items that most bank-trained professionals are not going to pick up, even making house calls. For instance, care coordination professionals might identify the client’s need for therapy or counseling more quickly than others. In some cases, 24/7 caregiving is necessary, and it’s always important to ensure that there is consistent assessment of medical, financial and emotional health.