And why do you need one?…
Many people are not yet familiar with a patient advocate, let alone a board-certified patient advocate. In addition, you may have heard of hospitals or insurance companies offering a patient advocate. So what’s the difference? And why do you need one?
What is a Patient Advocate?
A patient advocate helps navigate and support you through your health situations. There are a variety of ways a patient advocate can help, and advocates specialize in different areas of healthcare. One common goal is that a private patient advocate focuses on YOUR best interest.
Some areas that a patient advocate can assist in include, increasing communication between healthcare providers and patient/family, coordinating care, finding second opinions, placement to different facilities, chronic disease and cancer navigation, assistance with insurance issues and medical billing, and much more.
What’s the Difference between a Private Patient Advocate and an Advocate Provided by your Hospital or Healthcare Insurance?
While they are often confused as the same position, there is in fact a BIG difference! Many hospitals do now offer a patient advocate, however they practice more like customer service representatives. The patient advocate may refer you to the billing department or other areas in the hospital. While their services may at times be useful, they typically do not themselves have a medical or billing background. More importantly they are employed for the healthcare system or insurance company, therefore your (the patient/family’s interest) is not the first priority.
A private patient advocate is an unbiased individual, who focuses on YOU. A patient advocate helps navigate your path to the best possible care for YOU.
What is a Board Certified Patient Advocate?
When you are seeking medical care, you search for a board certified healthcare provider (board certified physician, surgeon, psychiatrist, physician assistant, etc). Board certification is reassuring because you as the patient know that that individual has passed strict credentialing requirements and upholds certain expectations and regulations.
A Board Certified Patient Advocate is a patient advocate who has achieved and maintains certification by the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB). A Certified Patient Advocate upholds the PACB’s Ethical Standards, Competencies, and Best Practice. Certification also requires successfully passing the PACB examination, which evaluates broad areas of competencies within the profession.
When you find yourself or a loved one dealing with a health issue, your emotions take drive and it is difficult to navigate the healthcare system to the best possible care. Even if you have a medical education, self-navigation becomes challenging. It is not uncommon for healthcare professionals to hire private patient advocates when a personal concern arises. A patient advocate can help navigate your care to assist in preventing medical errors, obtain appropriate care in a timely manner, help find second opinions, research different options, clinical trials, assist with medical billing issues, improve communication between health care providers, staff, and much more. We are here for YOU, especially when you need us most.