A healthcare advocate’s duties and responsibilities are plentiful. Our rewarding career gives us the tools to ensure the client is taken care of from their diagnosis through their treatment, recovery, and follow-up visits. Healthcare advocates work with anyone who requires health care, but they more commonly assist those with chronic illnesses, multiple illnesses, or life-threatening conditions and or need help sorting out various parts of their medical appointments and interpretation of them, follow up communication and billing challenges.
We also serve as a communicative liaison for clients, families and attorney disputes between themselves to find a solution agreeable for all in or out of courts and or government involved programs.
Healthcare advocate is a private paid and not a covered benefit through ADS. It’s a specialty.
Setting up medical appointments and finding second opinions
Helping a patient find financial and legal resources
Assisting a patient find support groups and other social support
Negotiating medical bills
Reviewing medical bills to ensure they’re accurate
Resolving disputes between patients and their insurance companies
Resolving conflicts between patients and their health care providers
Gathering information on specific conditions and illnesses
Communicating with doctors, nurses, therapists, and other providers on a patient’s behalf
Communication with an insurance company on a patient’s behalf
Explaining things to patients, ranging from medical bills to information on a diagnosis
Helping patients navigate their treatment and care options
Keeping notes of what happens during medical visits
Ensuring a patient’s needs and wishes are met when they can’t speak for themselves
Helping patients fill out forms and applications
Identifying areas where more or better care is needed
Supporting patients’ rights
Reading medical charts, bills, and documents
No matter what your duties and responsibilities look like, when you work as a patient advocate, one of the most important things you’ll do is answer a patient’s questions. Whether they want basic information or just need reassurance, it’s your job to help make sure they’re getting everything they need. Patients often have questions about:
Transportation to and from appointments
Where to go for appointments
How to find a different doctor or hospital
Their diagnoses (they may not fully understand a condition or treatment options)
Options of treatment
How to pay for their medical care
Wanting to go home from extended hospital stays
General support when they feel lonely or sad
Where do Healthcare Advocates work?
Private homes, healthcare facilities, hospitals, nursing homes.
As the health care system grows more complicated and the American population ages, the need for advocates is likely to increase.
Independent Advocacy businesses: As the need for patient advocates grows, some people are working as independent contractors or setting up small businesses that deal solely with helping patients navigate the health care system. ADS provides this specialized service and has a great success record.
Hospitals: Hospitals typically keep patient advocates on staff. They are available to all patients during a hospital stay and then remain in contact for a time after discharge. However, you can retain your own personal one to assist you post discharge. This service stops when you’re discharged.
Nursing homes: Many nursing homes, senior living homes, and assisted living facilities also have advocates, if not, ADS can help.
Insurance companies: Like hospitals, many insurance companies also have advocates available to you. Even Medicare hires people to fill these roles depending on situation. Preapproval required and depends where the client is as an in or outpatient.
Health care Advocacy nonprofits: There are some nonprofit organizations set up to provide advocates for people in need. While some rely on volunteers, others may hire professional advocates to have on staff. You get what you pay for in these cases most times.
Government agencies: Some governmental agencies hire advocates at the federal or state level. These include government-run health care programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Being a respected solutions advocate, they must also possess certain human skills, particularly the ability to listen and communicate clearly. Listening to clients needs and their loved ones is important but must also be able to pick up on body language and other nonverbal clues. They may not know how to communicate their needs with or may be uncomfortable expressing discomfort or dissatisfaction. Written and verbal communication skills are two of the most important qualifiers for as an advocate.
A big part of the advocate’s job involves explaining everything from medical terms to billing and insurance to patients in ways that are easy to understand. Understanding the complicated health care system, especially finance and billing and who understands medical terminology. It’s also essential to understand health care laws and insurance coverage and how to use a computer.
If you need an advocate or unsure, call today 760-466-8089 for a free consult or click the link and complete the short form indicating your healthcare advocate need or challenge.