Patient Advocate Responsibilities – What Does a Patient Advocate Do?
The Patient Advocate Role
When you go to court, you need a lawyer. When you go to the hospital, you need a patient advocate
Most people would agree that if you had to go to court, you would hire an attorney. Why? Because they are the experts, they know the ins and outs of a courtroom, and they will fight for your cause. The same is true with taxes. Most people hire a tax preparer to do their taxes because they know that an expert will do a better job.
Shouldn’t your health and well-being get the same consideration? After all it is your health (and sometimes your life) we are talking about!
What does it mean to be a “Patient Advocate”?
The Assertive Patient advocacy group offers the following definition:
Patient advocates support and promote patients’ rights as they navigate the health care system. Whether or not you are ill, managing your health can be confusing and overwhelming. And when things go wrong, it can be hard to get your voice heard by the health care professionals around you. Health care providers and administrators do not intend to make things difficult for patients, but the system is so complicated that there is not much time for compassion and understanding.
A patient advocate can guide you through the confusing maze of health care with caring, sensitivity. (S)he can focus exclusively on your needs and help you resolve concerns about the quality of your care, get the care you need, and ensure that your voice is heard and that you are included in decision-making.
Why do you need a patient advocate? How about some statistics…
Did you know that
- 90% of all medical bills are incorrect?
- The #1 reason for bankruptcy in this country is medical bills?
- 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed every year?
- Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in this country?
- Doctors are so busy they often spend only 5-7 minutes with their patients?
There are stories of real people, real needs, and devastating realities who need real help behind these statistics. One family we met would thought they had to spend thousands of dollars to pay for a surgery that the billing department mis-coded. You can read the story of how we helped them find a solution here.
What can you do to prevent these things from happening to you or your loved ones?
Patient advocacy means a second pair of eyes will check your health care providers to ensure that you receive the best quality care. This can help prevent medical errors from happening to you!
- Become and advocate for yourself and your loved ones. Bring in a family member or friend to help you at your appointments. Educate yourself on the best care standards for your particular health needs. Stand up for yourself to makes sure you receive the best quality care.
- Hire a professional patient advocate. Just like you would hire a lawyer, a professional patient advocate will help coordinate your care and advocate for you and your loved ones.
Who could benefit from professional patient advocate services?
- Wants more information about a diagnosis or treatment options
- May need a second opinion
- Has difficulty managing or feels overwhelmed by a medical situation
- Is unfamiliar with the medical system
- Is overwhelmed with their medical bills
- Lives far away from family and needs someone to monitor their care
- Wants support to carry out an advance directive, or to discuss end-of-life care
Patient advocate duties: What an advocate can do for you!
Patient advocates will help you navigate all areas of the healthcare industry. They will:
- Help you research and select the best health insurance
- Track paperwork and records
- Review medical bills for accuracy
- Negotiate medical bills with your providers
- File insurance, social security, and disability claims
- Dispute and negotiate claim denials
- Research diagnosis and all treatment options
- Assist you in getting a second opinion
- Prepare and accompany you to doctor’s appointments
- Provide hospital bedside monitoring
- Review your medications
- Provide End of Life planning, and assist with the paperwork (i.e. living wills, POST, DNRs, Advance Directives, etc.)
- Make recommendations for in-home care, assisted living facilities, or nursing homes
Find a patient advocate to protect your health and your life!
Healthcare is a very personal issue.
Having a patient advocate in your corner means you have somebody that’s going to ensure the health care you receive is not only the best treatment but also fits your personal beliefs and values.
Looking for more answers? Going through a rough situation right now? Contact us, and let us help you! We want to be that Patient Advocate for you!
Our Patient Advocate Office is ever just an email or phone call away: 703-222-1300 – we’re happy to help! A phone call is free and it could save a life or reduce a large hospital bill.