Whether you have a complex medical condition or need minor treatment, navigating the healthcare system can be a challenge. Insurance agents, doctors, nurses, healthcare facilities, and many other elements of the U.S. healthcare system make getting the right treatment somewhat complicated. That’s where patient advocates come in.
A patient advocate is a person who understands the healthcare system enough to help others get the care they need. They can assist with setting up appointments, getting second opinions, working with insurance companies, hiring malpractice lawyers, and much more.
What does a patient advocate do?
The main goal of a patient advocate is to help you get the care you need and deserve. People who are too sick, confused, or busy to navigate the healthcare system require someone else to do it for them.
A person with a serious condition may not have the emotional integrity to deal with all the health-related logistics and paperwork. To achieve the best results, they need to focus on their health. Meanwhile, the patient advocate assists with the rest of the task.
A patient advocate can:
If you are getting complex treatment or going through a time-consuming recovery, you may need to schedule a wide variety of appointments. This could involve finding the right doctors, figuring out how to manage your schedule, waiting on hold, navigating healthcare apps, and much more.
Evaluate Financial Resources
Financial issues could prevent a patient from getting the right care. The patient advocate does their best to find the available financial resources, evaluate insurance options, speak to healthcare facilities, and much more. In some cases, these specialists can even find sponsors for procedures.
When a patient is ready to give up due to seemingly unresolvable financial problems, a patient advocate can use their knowledge and experience to discover financing opportunities to continue the necessary treatment.
Find a Legal Advisor
When a patient is treating injuries related to medical malpractice or any other negligent care, they may need legal assistance to figure out how to proceed with covering medical expenses. Searching for a lawyer can be a time-consuming process, especially when you don’t know what to look for.
A patient advocate can help you find a legal professional who handles similar problems and set up an appointment. Many legal teams offer free case evaluations. The patient navigator can help you find the one that does.
Help with Medical Bills
Medical bills can be confusing. Trying to figure out what you are charged for is often overwhelming. In some cases, patients end up making unnecessary payments simply because they don’t their rights and insurance privileges.
A patient advocate helps you understand medical bills. Patient navigators have experience negotiating medical bills and getting patients the care they deserve.
Connect With Social Support Groups
Depending on the condition, a patient may need social support. Searching for suitable groups may be time-consuming. A patient advocate can find local support groups that can contribute to the patient’s recovery and connect the patient with the right agencies when necessary.
Cut Medical Costs
Studies show that only 6% of Americans feel confident about navigating their health insurance. Many people simply don’t know what they are entitled to. They end up paying more than necessary or missing out on the available treatment options.
A patient advocate has enough time and experience to learn about the patient’s insurance plan and figure out exactly what the patient can take advantage of. This can cut medical costs significantly and keep the extra stress out of the treatment process.
When it comes to developing a complex treatment plan, some patients may face conflicts with their healthcare provider. If a person is tending to injuries or dealing with a serious health condition, they can have a hard time resolving a conflict.
A patient advocate who doesn’t have an emotional investment in the process can use their knowledge to resolve the conflict and give both parties a chance to come up with a reasonable solution.
This person handles phone calls, emails, and other communication channels to take the burden off the patient.
Do I Need a Patient Advocate?
Patient advocates help people handle issues, problems, bills, and organizational questions related to getting medical assistance.
If you feel confused and overwhelmed by the healthcare system, you may need a patient advocate. The complexity of the system shouldn’t keep you away from getting the treatment you deserve.