If a hospital already has a hospital advocate, patient representative, or ombudsman on its staff, then why would I need to hire my own health care navigator?While a hospital advocate may be helpful in providing you with information, his/her ability to advocate for you is severely limited by the fact that he/she receives a pay check from the hospital and therefore has a financial incentive to advocate most strongly for the hospital, NOT FOR YOU. In cases involving a conflict of interest, the main priority of the hospital advocate is damage control for the hospital, not patient advocacy for you.
Why would I need to hire a patient advocate when I already have doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff taking care of me?
Most doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals will tell you that “patient advocacy” is part of their job description. And it is true. However, there is no way that a doctor or a nurse will have the time to provide you with the comprehensive and personalized services that your private health advocate will offer to you.
Why can’t a family member or loved one be my patient advocate/health care navigator?
Although your family members love you and have your best interests at heart, they can be overly emotional for the same reasons. They may lack the qualifications, experience, and objectivity to navigate the health care system and advocate on your behalf.
Why can’t I just be my own advocate and navigate the healthcare system myself?
The health care system is complex and overwhelming even for someone who is intelligent, educated, and assertive. Your private patient advocate will guide you through the medical maze from start to finish so that you won’t get lost along the way.
Will my health insurance company pay for the services that you provide?
No. Currently health insurance companies do not pay for the services provided by private patient advocacy companies. We in the patient advocacy profession hope that this will not always be the case, but for now you will need to pay for our services out-of-pocket.
What qualifications should I look for in a patient advocate/health care navigator?
Currently, there is no national accreditation or licensing requirement for patient advocates, so technically anybody can hang out a shingle that advertises “patient advocacy.” Therefore, do your homework and be careful when choosing a patient advocate. Do not be afraid to ask about education and credentials. Ask for references. You will want to make sure that your patient advocate has extensive experience dealing with the health care system, and that he/she is personable, intelligent, assertive, and creative.
Can my health care navigator give me medical or legal advice?
No. Although many of our health care navigators have educational and professional backgrounds in law and medicine, we are a patient advocacy business—not a law office or medical practice. While we will provide you with recommendations for doctors and lawyers when necessary, as part of our services, we will not provide you with any specific medical or legal advice.
Can you make house calls, care facility/hospital visits, or go with me to my appointments?
Yes, we can, if you so desire.
Do you provide transportation for clients to or from clinic/hospital visits?
No. We are not a transportation service, but if you need this, we can help you find a company that provides it.
Do you make medical decisions for the patient?
No. We educate you on the best options available for your situation to allow you to make an educated decision.
By what methods do you communicate?
For local services, we communicate with clients in person, by phone, or by email, depending on the client’s needs. The first meeting, however, is done in person. For remote services we communicate by phone, email, instant messaging, or video conferencing.
Do I need a patient advocate?
If you are facing a difficult healthcare situation, are confused or unsure of what kind of help you need or what steps to take next, call our office to set up a free phone consultation. Our advocates will evaluate your situation and see if we can be of assistance to you in any way. If so, we will then meet to discuss your situation further and establish a professional relationship. We will not pressure you in any way to become our client.
Are you a home-health service?
No, we don’t provide home-health services, but we can help set up those services for you. We don’t provide hands-on nursing services, rather, we evaluate and manage your care.
Are your services covered by insurance?
Currently they are not, we are private pay. We are considered consultants, we don’t practice hands-on care that insurance companies currently use to qualify for payment of services. Private patient advocacy is a relatively new field, and it will take time for insurance companies and hospitals to recognize the cost savings and reduction in medical errors that come with patients having a professional nurse advocate.
Do you coordinate 24-hour care?
Yes. Although we don’t personally provide 24-hour on-site care, we coordinate those resources as part of a complete customized patient plan. And we have insights into preferred service providers we can recommend for you.
I have a student in college far away ... can you help?
Yes, we help many clients who have college students away from home who need assistance managing medications, doctor visits, surgeries, in-house visits and more.
Do you work with Alzheimer's patients and those with dementia?
Yes, we work with patients who have a variety of needs, including Alzheimer’s.
Would my physician be offended if I brought a patient advocate to an office visit?
It has been our personal experience that the physicians appreciate having an advocate attend visits with their patients. Many of our referrals come from physicians who recognize when their patients need help.
Having someone who knows your medical history, medications, questions to ask and vital information to share with your provider will ensure a thorough and productive visit.
Can I hire you on behalf of my friend or relative?
Absolutely! We often work with the friends of patients and people whose loved ones live far away or are otherwise prevented from taking care of their relative or friend in person.
Can you go to the doctor or hospital with me?
Yes. In-person services are available in our local area. If travel outside our area then special arrangements can be made. Call us for more information.
What can you do for my elderly parent?
We can help find assisted living, long-term care, and local eldercare support services. Our technology can help you and your care partner team stay in touch and to be the center of communication during a prolonged illness.
What do you charge?
We schedule a free initial consultation with all patients. This usually takes a couple of hours, to get all the information and data enter it. Please call us to discuss our rate schedule for all our services. 228-623-2578
I am alone, my family is out of state, can you be by my side during my operation and relay updates to my family?
Yes, the benefit of having a private patient advocate is having a spokesperson by your side. We take notes of all healthcare provider’s recommendations.
My mother is scheduled for surgery, I want you by her side, do you travel to the patient’s location?
Yes, we are there by your side every step of the way. Travel expenses and travel time will be compensated by the client. The Consultation Agreement will document all services, costs, and special instructions.
Do you offer public speaking engagements to educate the public?
Yes, all speaking opportunities are based on availability.
Can your services be provided long distance?
Yes, we use telecommunications to provide most of our services. It’s very effective.