1) How do I find a private patient advocate?
Finding a private patient advocate is not unlike seeking any other professional with specialized expertise. Using any search engine on the internet with the words “private patient advocate” and your location should generate a list of advocates serving your general area. Then be prepared to interview potential advocates.
These questions may be helpful.
a) Have you handled a case like mine before?
b) What training in patient advocacy do you have?
c) What do you charge for your services?
d) How long will it take to perform the services I need?
e) Do you have references?
For an in-depth article about this process, please click here.
2) Can you go on doctor visits with me?
Yes. In the Atlanta metro area we can attend doctor visits in person. Outside Atlanta it is possible to join a doctor visit via cell phone (audio only) or an application like FaceTime.
3) Can you explain my Medicare or other insurance coverage to me?
Yes. Insurance coverage, whether through Medicare or a private insurance can be challenging to “translate” into English. Having worked for one of the nation’s largest health insurers, and having held a life and health insurance license, I support clients with research and interpretation of their policies and coverage.
4) What will my doctors think about my having a private Patient Advocate?
Doctors are individuals, just like each of us, but in my experience most welcome a private Patient Advocate with their patients if they understand that our role is to provide the support that helps you get the most from your appointment. Because office visits are often short, a Patient Advocate can help a patient better prepare for those encounters, as well as extend them by reinforcing the information that was provided.
5) Do you have regular working hours or are you on call?
Generally office hours are Monday-Friday 9-5. If individual requirements dictate needs outside of these hours, those are negotiated in our agreement. Patient Advocacy is not intended to support medical crises. If you feel your situation is an emergency, please call 911 or contact your local emergency room.
6) I have family members that assist with my care. How do you work with them?
An ideal healthcare team for every patient includes family members, whether they are providing direct care, assistance, or interacting in a more general way. As we determine what your needs are, we also identify how family members are engaged and want to be engaged and develop planning with those goals in mind. Family meetings are a common way to make sure everyone is on the same page.
7) I’m not really sure what services I might need. How do I know what you are doing for me and for how long?
After our initial 15 minute consultation we can generally tell you whether your situation is one that we can assist with. If so, we will share what services may be helpful for you, and if requested, a general time frame to accomplish those services. If you wish to retain us, we will provide you with written documentation of what we discussed in the form of a letter/contract that clearly spells out what we will work on and how we will work together.
8) Do you work with patients outside Georgia?
Yes. While many patients prefer a face to face working relationship, it is not only possible, but can be very effective to work with patients telephonically and via media like Skype, FaceTime, or GoogleVideoChat. And certainly if family members are outside Georgia, these other media work very well for family meetings and conferences.