Patient advocates play four major roles every day: analyzing and clearly explaining patient rights, working with patient’s families and fielding their complaints, assisting patients with billing, and understanding jargon-filled insurance policies. Here, we’ll break those roles down a little further.
Any person seeking care from a medical facility is entitled to patient rights that are to be upheld by all staff members of the facility. These rights include receiving adequate and timely communication from the facility and their doctor and having faith that their doctor will provide them with the most beneficial and straightforward treatment plan per the patient’s situation.
Along with receiving the best possible care, the patient can also expect to have information articulately presented to them while having the opportunity to ask their doctor questions regarding their healthcare and course of treatment. The patient reserves the right to make the ultimate decision as to how they and their doctor(s) will proceed, as well as the right to obtain copies of their results and medical records and receive a second opinion from another physician.
The patient should be confident in their physician’s promise to uphold their promise to follow the patient’s wishes and to be informed by anyone who has witnessed their physician go against their wishes. The patient even has the right to leave the hospital against medical advice, wherein the patient advocate will explain the benefits of leaving in hopes of convincing the patient to complete their medical treatment.
If for any reason, you are questioning your doctor’s abilities, you can look up their credentials and licensure on a people search by GoLookUp or your state’s medical board website. Combing through public records can help ensure you stay safe in an unknown world.
Working With The Patient’s Family
Often, when faced with long-term healthcare needs, our families become our biggest advocates. A patient advocate will take the time to sit with the patient and their family and explain the given diagnosis as well as the tests ordered by the doctor and possible treatment options to explore. Aside from discussing the possible treatment options laid out for the patient, they will also assist in developing a realistic and manageable at-home care routine.
Not only will they assist in after-care planning, but a patient advocate is also the person a patient or their family will likely meet with to discuss concerns and complaints that may arise.
Departments working behind the scenes in a medical facility all work hand-in-hand, and that is especially true for patient advocates. They meet one-on-one with patients and their families; they are also heavily involved with the billing and financial counseling departments to ensure the patient will be properly billed for the care and testing they have undergone.
The advocate will work with the patient’s insurance company for coverage and may even help the patient to schedule a meeting with a financial counselor from within the facility. Many hospitals even off their own form of financial aid.
Understanding Insurance Policies
A patient advocate will work with the patient’s insurance company to gain coverage, but they will also save the patient and their family the time and frustration of trying to translate the terms and conditions of a complicated insurance policy. They will have the knowledge to properly inform the patient what and how much their current insurance plan will cover regarding their needed testing and treatments. Based on their assessment, they will be able to help the patient and their family form a reasonable payment plan.
Before meeting with a patient advocate, you may want to do some research on your own, using a site like Health Quote Gurus, which will provide you with pricing and plans for a new healthcare insurance plan.