Is a Private Patient Advocate Worth the Cost?

Yes…

While we can probably agree that our health is important! However, we also have to be considerate of the costs. We need money for necessities for food, clothing, housing, etc. In addition, many of us already have accrued healthcare costs including insurance premiums, deductibles, and much more. It may seem like hiring a private patient advocate, just doesn’t fit into your budget. You may want to reconsider your calculations. In most situations, a patient advocate can actually save you money and help you END up with more MONEY than expected. 

Medical Bills

Have you ever opened up a medical bill and become wide-eyed? Medical bills even when expected can be a lot. It is also not uncommon to encounter some unexpected expenses. A private patient advocate can review your medical bills to evaluate whether or not you have been correctly billed. If the event that your bill is incorrect, a private patient advocate can carry out the necessary steps to fix the issue. If your bill happens to be correct, then a patient advocate can negotiate the bill to accommodate more manageable payments.

We have many clients that we have saved over $300,000 in medical bills. Even if you are dealing with a small bill, we can still help.

Insurance coverage

Are you having problems with insurance coverage? Perhaps your currently enrolled plan isn’t working great for you. Maybe you are paying a high monthly premium, but realized most of your care is not covered. Or your medications are too expensive.  Or maybe you don’t have insurance. A private patient advocate can help with that. Help determine what plan is best based on the medical providers you see, may see in the near future, and medications needed. If you were denied a certain procedure or medical treatment, we can help with that too!

Improved health:

Many times, achieving the right diagnosis and proper care is trial and error, and may require multiple opinions, specialists, testing, and visits. A private patient advocate can help navigate your path to help reduce unnecessary appointments and shorten the wait for proper management.

Medical Bills

If you have paid for medical expenses out of pocket, you may qualify for a reimbursement from your insurance. A private patient advocacy can check with your insurance company and submit a request for reimbursement. 

While private patient advocacy is not covered by insurance, in many situations you may be able to include it as a deductible tax expense on your taxes. 

Quality of Life:

Quality of life is a reason worth living. Most importantly a private patient advocate can help you achieve a better quality of life. Don’t waste time worrying about managing medical bills, appointments, trying to decipher medical records, make appointments and determine next steps. Let a private patient advocate help navigate your medical care so that you can spend quality time with friends, family, and hobbies that you enjoy. Life is short, how are you living it?

In Summary: Is a Private Patient Advocate Worth the Cost? The answer is YES!

A private patient advocate can manage and negotiate medical bills, navigate insurance concerns, help with timely appointments, and help you achieve a better quality of life. You don’t have to struggle through it all alone, let a private patient advocate help. Call Pathway Patient Advocates to learn more about how we can help (947) 517-8395

What To Do When Cancer Treatment Is Not Working?

Cancer stinks. That’s something that we can all agree on. Cancer is unexpected bad news that no one wants to hear. Oftentimes a treatment plan is started immediately, due to the potential quick disease progression. So what happens when cancer treatment is not working as expected? It is definitely an emotional rollercoaster. Dealing with side effects of the treatment, waiting to see if any improvement is noticed on imaging and other tests. When not-so-good news happens, you’re often left feeling defeated. And it doesn’t just negatively affect the patient, but also family and friends. So let’s talk about some options.  

Should You Change to a New Oncologist

If you feel as if you are not getting enough answers, or your trusting relationship with your oncologist is fading, you may be wondering, is it too late to change oncologists? The answer: It is absolutely NOT too late to change. It is almost always okay to get a second opinion (or a third). If the second opinion gives you the same opinion, then it can offer a piece of assurance that the previously recommended management plan may be the best decision. In contrast, the second opinion may offer a completely new treatment option that had not been considered before. Sometimes (not always) the two specialists may be willing to work together. As the old saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.”  

Where to Go 

Let’s say you have made the decision to get a second opinion, what next? How do you actually go about getting that second opinion? You may have an oncologist that will offer a second opinion referral, but this is not always the case. Finding the most qualified provider to meet with for a second opinion, requires a lot of research, preparation, and devoting time. All this takes a toll on your energy. 

This is where a private patient advocate can help. At Pathway Patient Advocates we can find that second or third opinion you may need. Attend appointments with you as needed, and help navigate your journey with you. 

A private patient advocate offers a non-biased opinion and is not affiliated with any health insurance or healthcare system. Our only focus is helping you.   

Treatment Options

Even when you have a shocking diagnosis such as cancer, you have options. Some potential options include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation, surgery, clinical trials, and alternative medicine. You may decide that you would like not to undergo any medical treatment and let the disease run its course as you continue living as it does. A private patient advocate can help present you with various choices for you to consider with your healthcare team so that you are well-informed. An informed choice helps eliminate doubt and second-guessing. 

When Your Path Becomes Unexpected

Cancer is scary. When your path takes an unexpected turn, let a private patient advocate help. You do not have to try to carry the burden alone. A private patient advocate is there for you, so you can spend more time doing things you enjoy doing. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help. (947) 517-8395

Is Genetic Testing Right For You?

You may have heard about genetic testing. But what exactly is it and is it something you should consider? Genetic testing identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. It can be used for precision medicine to help best manage your condition.

Why Genetic Testing?

Precision medicine is an emerging field of medicine that relies on genetic testing to tailor treatments to each patient’s unique physiology. In other words, it is a type of “customized” medicine. While precision medicine is still in its early stages, it has the potential to completely change the way we think about and treat diseases. This is especially true for rare disorders, for which there is often no “one-size-fits-all” treatment. If you or a loved one has a rare disorder, you may be wondering whether or not precision medicine is right for you.

How Does it Work?

Precision medicine involves using an individual’s genetic information to develop personalized treatments that are tailored to their unique biology. This is possible because advances in technology have made it possible to read the genetic code of an individual quickly and accurately. By analyzing a person’s genetic information, healthcare providers can identify genetic mutations that may be causing or contributing to their illness. Once these mutations have been identified, a treatment plan can be developed that specifically targets the underlying biology of the disease. 

What are the Benefits?

The potential benefits of precision medicine are enormous. By developing treatments that are tailored to each individual, doctors can improve the effectiveness of treatments and reduce the risk of side effects. This is especially important for rare disorders, which often have very few treatment options and can be difficult to diagnose. If you or a loved one has a rare disorder, including rare cancers, you may be considering genetic testing and precision medicine as a treatment option. Before making any decisions, it is important to understand that genetic testing can carry some risks, including the possibility of misinterpretation or misdiagnosis.

What is the Cost of Genetic Testing?

It is also important to consider the practical implications of genetic testing, including the cost of testing and the availability of treatments. While the cost of genetic testing has come down in recent years, it can still be expensive, and insurance coverage may be limited. Despite these challenges, precision medicine holds enormous promise for patients with rare disorders.

Get the Help of a Private Patient Advocate

Pathway Patient Advocates focus on helping clients navigate rare disorders.  If you or a loved one are considering genetic testing, an experienced private patient advocate can assist you with finding the right provider, and genetic testing, and help navigate your medical care with you. We can help you navigate this complex field.

What Can a Private Patient Advocate Do for Me?

Increasing awareness of the necessity for private patient advocacy has increased. While the term Private Patient Advocacy is becoming known, many wonder what a private patient advocate can actually do for them. What’s the benefit? There are several benefits a private patient advocate can help with, including cancer and chronic disease management, senior care placement, medical bill navigation, and inpatient patient advocacy. 

Cancer and Chronic Disease Management

Pathway Patient Advocates can assist with understanding your diagnosis, arranging second opinions, finding specialized care, and access to innovative diagnostic and treatment options. In addition, we offer intensive care management and coordination. The diagnosis of cancer is a word that no one wants to hear, let us help ease the process for you and your loved ones. Cancer care requires decisions to be made in a timely manner, we can help increase confidence in your decision, knowing you have considered all the available options. 

Senior Care Placement

Pathway Patient Advocates understands the transition to a new home can be overwhelming on many accounts. That is why we provide a personalized comparison analysis of the skilled nursing or assisted living facility that best suits the needs and preferences of our clients. This can be from hospital discharge to facility or when the decision is made to transition right from home. Once the decision is made, we assist in the coordination of placement to facilitate a seamless transition. We are knowledgeable about various facilities and are able to provide a non-biased recommendation, as we do not work on any referral fees or compensation basis for these facilities.

Medical Billing Negotiation

Billing errors are becoming more and more common. There are many reasons why your medical bill can be incorrect. Some reasons include coding errors, improper submission by healthcare facilities or providers to insurance, improper processing, duplicate billing, etc. You may also have a bill that is correct, however, you are unable to pay for a variety of reasons. Pathway Patient Advocates reviews and negotiates unexpected medical bills. Regardless of the amount of your bills, we are able to assist; insurance or no insurance.

Inpatient Patient Advocacy

Pathway Patient Advocates advocates for our clients while in the hospital. The hospital is a fast-paced environment that involves several people evaluating you, caring for you, and giving you all sorts of information. It is overwhelming and often quick decisions need to be made. A private patient advocate helps coordinate your care and smoothly navigate the entire process, preventing medical errors. Elena’s 20+ years of medical experience adequately equips her to best professionally communicate with our client’s care team and advocate effectively.

Personalized Care

An essential component to understand is a private patient advocate provides personalized care just for you. The plan is specific to your challenges, needs, and goals. Call Pathway Patient Advocate today to get started (947) 517-8395

Parenting. It Takes A Village…Especially When Your Child Is Sick

Parenting

If you are a parent you already know that parenting is hard. As a parent myself, I will tell you that my children mean the world to me and have given me a whole kind of new happiness and outlook on life. I also know, that parenting is challenging, tough, and exhausting. You never fully understand the responsibilities that come with parenting until you hold that child in your arms for the first time. Instantly, you are responsible for keeping this little breathing human (and often many humans) alive 24/7. Everything you do has to take in the safety and health of this other human. Soon enough you learn that the joy of parenting comes in the package with sleepiness nights, extra coffee, and a lot less “me time”. You soon also learn to ask for help, guidance, more help when possible. It is a true blessing to have family or friends who are available to help.  

Then it happens

So what happens when your child is diagnosed with a critical illness or chronic condition? As having gone through this myself, I can tell you…it feels as if all the pieces you were trying to hold together to get by each day, just shatter into millions of pieces. Now, aside from the daily life struggles, you need to determine how to best care for your ill child. It’s physically and emotionally draining and overwhelming. There are so many choices that need to be made, and time is of the essence. 

Why you need a Private Patient Advocate

What do you do? How do you decide who is the best doctor for your child’s condition? How do you know what hospital you should go to? Does your insurance cover it? How are you going to pay for it all? What about medications? What about resources? Scheduling? Where do you even start? 

If you start with a private patient advocate, she can help you with all of this. A private patient advocate can alleviate a lot of stress and give you back some time. Time where you can rest, spend quality time with your child, and recharge. A feeling of reassurance knowing you have the appropriate research to make the best-informed decisions.  A private patient advocate can do the necessary research to help find and get you scheduled with the best provider for your child’s care. A private patient advocate is experienced in scheduling appointments promptly, knowing how to best communicate with medical teams, and familiar with how to gain access to the latest research and resources. A private patient advocate is with you along this journey.

Expand your village

If you are lucky enough to have help and support from your family or friends, that is a tremendous resource. One thing often forgotten is that they are also emotionally invested and that your child’s health issues are affecting them too.  A village is needed to achieve the best quality of life for you and your family. Be sure to add a private patient advocate to your village. 

Call Pathway Patient Advocates at (947) 517-8395 to discuss how a private patient advocate can help you and your family.

Help! I can’t get the care I need.

Tried to get an appointment with a specialist and got denied? Now what? 

Unfortunately, as a private patient advocate, I  have heard this story all too often. You research and find a doctor that specializes in your condition, then you try to make an appointment and are either told it will be a 6 month or longer wait, or simply that they are not accepting any appointments at this time.  I had one client tell me the doctor’s office has a 24 month wait. 2 years!  Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this situation has become all too frequent. This experience has likely left you discouraged and feeling defeated and hopeless.  

I hear you, and I am her to tell you that most often Pathway Patient Advocates can help. Whether you are trying to get into a  private local health facility or a large facility such as Cleveland Clinic or Mayo; we can help.

I’m guessing your next question is how?  What can a private patient advocate do differently than you? 

We are private patient advocates, and experienced in making appointments, and know what to say and what information to provide to get appointments with the appropriate provider. My client who was told there was a 24 month wait, I ended up scheduling an appointment for her and she was seen by the specialist 3 weeks later. Of course this is not always the case, but when we hit a roadblock, rest assured that we have  back up options B, C, and D ready if needed.

In addition to getting you scheduled to see the right healthcare provider, Pathway Patient Advocates can help you prepare for the visit, so that you can get the most benefit during that encounter. Oftentimes we can attend your appointments with you, either in person or virtually.  It’s very upsetting when you attend a long awaited appointment, and find that either the healthcare provider does not have your previous records, or is not the right provider for your situation.  To help avoid this outcome with my clients, I always review the prior medical records and ensure that the healthcare provider has the pertinent medical information prior to the scheduled visit.   

If you are not sure what doctor you should be seeing or even where to start, an experienced private patient advocate, like Pathway Patient Advocates, can help with that too.  Years of experience and strong medical background has equipped us with the skills required to help navigate the best care for you.

Therefore, if you have been unable to schedule the appointment you need, do not be discouraged, help is available.  Speak with Pathway Patient Advocates today.

We are never “prepared” on how to care for a loved one whose ill… and we should never have to do it alone.

No one is ever taught how to care for a sick loved one.

It doesn’t matter if your a doctor, a nurse, a mother, a grandparent, a child, a brother, a sister, or a friend; NO schooling or experience ever teach or prepares you for how to care for a sick loved one. Whether it’s the first time you are dealing with an experience like this or the 20th time… it’s a terrible, overwhelming, dreaded, all-consuming experience. You shouldn’t have to do it alone.

Knowledge

You may have a wealth of medical knowledge or experience researching. You may be a healthcare professional, and experienced with caring for the exact illness your loved one is dealing with.  Or perhaps you are proficient at organizing and coordinating care.  These are all EXCELLENT skills that can be extremely useful in assisting your loved one.  However, when the patient is someone you have a close emotional relationship with, emotions take precedence.   When a loved one is sick, emotion and grief take the wheel, and even if you are skilled in the knowledge of what steps need to be taken, the energy and straight thinking are often overwhelming and too much to handle.  This is one of the reasons that healthcare professionals are recommended to not treat family members. 

Emotion

When a loved one is ill, an overflow of emotions surfaces for not just the patient, but also the family member or friend.  Some emotions experienced include helplessness, confusion, defeat, guilt for not being able to help enough, exhaustion, sadness, depression, and anger.  What is often best for the loved one is that family and friends are there to emotionally support them throughout their journey, spend time with them, and show support for their desires.  Patients do not want to see people they care about exhausted and overwhelmed, especially on their behalf.  It is too big of a role for a family member or friend to fill both the emotional and healthcare navigation needs of the patient.

Time

In healthcare, time is almost always of the essence. The quicker care is coordinated, and symptoms are addressed, diagnoses are made, the sooner and better the management plan can be created. Despite your desire to give 100% of your time to your sick loved one, you also have to care for your own wellbeing and your work/life duties.  It seems like there is not enough time to fit it all in, leaving many people wondering what could have changed if they had more time or done things differently; often leading to feelings of guilt. 

Choosing what to pack during this journey

Overcoming an illness and achieving the best possible quality of life is the goal. Achieving this goal requires a team of people. What have you decided to bring with you on this journey?   This team will include trusted healthcare providers, however, healthcare providers have a specific job to focus on their specific tasks they specialized in. The healthcare system is not created in a way where healthcare professionals can be available to address all your needs 24/7, even if they wanted to. Doctors and other professionals have multiple patients and roles to address.  What’s more is that currently, healthcare worker burnout rate is at an all-time high.  

Adding a Private Patient Advocate to your team provides you support and direction during your loved ones’ healthcare journey. You can decide whether you want your patient advocate to assist with just a small hurdle care, or if you prefer for her to go through the entire journey with you and your loved one. A private patient advocate works independently, is not associated with any hospital or healthcare system, and is not associated with any insurance company. A private patient advocate provides unbiased support, with YOU or YOUR loved one as the key focus. Additionally, a private patient advocate is experienced with situations just like yours and are readily equipt to address issues such as obtaining second opinions, assisting in reducing medical errors, researching alternative treatments, addressing insurance issues and billing, and much more; all in a timely manner, giving you and your loved one back more time.  More time to focus on spending time together and focusing on the best possible quality of life.  At pathway Patient Advocates, Elena and Kristie are available to help you through whatever health journey you or your loved one may be struggling with.  We look forward to helping you navigate the path to better health. 

(947) 517-8395

Pathway Patient Advocates [email protected]

What is a Board Certified Patient Advocate?

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. 

Call Pathway Patient Advocates today to speak to a Board Certified Patient Advocate.  

COVID Vaccine? Help!

What to do? Is it Right for you?

Yes, Please!

The emergence of the COVID-19 vaccine comes with a lot of mixed emotions. Some view it as a cure to this long pandemic-driven quarantine and the first step toward some sense of normality, with hopes to once again hug grandchildren and dine with friends without worry.  The goal of the vaccine is that if enough people are immunized, then herd immunity would be achieved.  

No Thank You!

Others are skeptical about the vaccine, as it was rushed through quality control in efforts to speed FDA approval.  Its unknown territory leaves wonder about potential side effects among other concerns. 

So what is the correct choice? And HOW do you choose what’s best for you?

Consider Your Specific Situation

Well, the ultimate decision should be yours.  Social media posts will try to sway you one way or another.  There are strong opinions circling throughout, and it is difficult to know which information is best to review.

Deciding if the COVID-19 vaccine is appropriate is a personal decision.  Some things to consider:

  • Are you in a high-risk environment?  The vaccine was made available initially to healthcare workers followed by nursing home residents because of the elevated risk of contracting the COVID-19 vaccine. Think about your environment. How likely are you to contract COVID-19? 
  • Do you have a potential allergic reaction risk for the vaccine? Are you allergic to other vaccines? If so, you may want to discuss this risk with your healthcare provider. 
  • Do you have a decreased immune system?  Perhaps you are undergoing cancer therapy,  immunocompromised, asthma, or other health issues? Then it is important to speak to your healthcare provider and discuss the pros and cons of the vaccine.  Your healthcare provider may explain that he or she feels you are high-risk for COVID-19 complications and should receive the vaccine immediately. Or they may recommend the opposite. 
  • How old are you?  The vaccine is typically being made available to individuals 65 years and older.  This is often the highest age population at risk of experiencing severe complications once COVID is contracted. 
  • Lifestyle: You may be feeling stuck at home, and scared to go out because of fear of contracting COVID19. The vaccine may offer some sense of safety comfort to you.

There is a lot to think about when deciding whether or not the COVID vaccine is currently right for you.  Talk to your healthcare provider.  

How and Where Do You Get the Vaccine?

If you have made the decision to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine, how do you physically obtain it?  Different cities and states are disbursing the vaccine in different ways. Some have clinics available throughout the city and some are being offered through healthcare systems or hospital systems. Many require online registration and portal registration to be eligible for the vaccine.  Individuals who are not very familiar with computers or do not have access to a computer may find this especially challenging. If you need assistance locating or registering for the vaccine, we can help. Call Pathway Patient Advocates today! (248) 247-8552. 

Health For The Holidays

The holiday season has officially begun and people all over the world have started preparing for Christmas. It is a magical time of year, filled with holiday get-togethers, hot cocoa, baking, Hallmark Movies, tree-lightings, shopping, and other festivities. While many will describe it as their “favorite time of year,” if you or a loved one are sick during this time, it doesn’t seem so great at all.    

Sick for Christmas

No one wants to spend Christmas in a hospital or with the diagnosis of a critical disease.  In fact, it can feel as if it is the most depressing time of year.  The problem of how to finish shopping in time for Christmas, does not anywhere near compare to the problem of: how am I going to survive through this holiday season? It may seem that the world is focused on preparing for the holidays, and you may feel left alone to deal with your medical issues. I have personally experienced this feeling, and it feels as if the entire world is continuing on around you. You miss out on enjoying this special time of year with your loved ones because you are too focused on your health.  

Your Current State of Health is Holding You Back

Perhaps you are fortunate to be spending the holidays at home, but your chronic condition, such as diabetes is leaving you fatigued and without the energy to really enjoy yourself.  You may be trying to participate in the holiday season, but it doesn’t seem too enjoyable. Your health seems to be holding you back.  The extra bustle of the holiday season, sweets, and weather changes can negatively impact your overall health.

Get The Help You Need

A private patient advocate can help make this time of year more enjoyable for you. Regardless if you or a loved one are battling cancer, a chronic disease, or an acute illness; we can help you get the care you need to best achieve your goals. We help create and navigate a plan personalized just for you, taking care of the tasks you don’t want to so that you have more time to spend with the people and things that you care about. In addition, we are experienced in dealing with your condition, so we can get things arranged and completed quickly and accurately while offering resources that you may not be aware of.  Our goal is to help you achieve the best quality of life possible.  We want to give you time and energy so that you can worry more about what Christmas festivities you will participate in, instead of how you are going to manage your health.

Contact Pathway Patient Advocates today, we are ready to help with your health for the holidays. 

Pathway Patient Advocates 

(248) 247-8552