What Is a Patient Advocate?

The medical system is difficult enough to navigate when you are healthy. If you are ill, it’s just that much more difficult to focus on getting the proper treatments and the medical attention that is best for you. That is where a patient advocate comes in. Health advocates help hospital patients receive the best care possible while finding affordable options. While they do not give medical advice, they help you get the right advice, make sure you understand it, and manage your care process. 

Having a patient advocate that understands you can save you more than just one headache while navigating through today’s tedious health care system.

What does a patient advocate do?

Patient advocates work in hospitals and can help relieve stress when you are ill or injured. They can help you find your way through the health care system without getting lost or becoming just another account number. Some of the things health advocates do each day to help you navigate the health industry include:

  • Making sure you understand your illness or injury
  • Giving emotional support to you, your family, and your friends
  • Helping with any delays in getting tests or treatments
  • Assisting in getting second opinions
  • Researching treatment options
  • Getting copies of your medical records for you
  • Resolving complaints you have with the hospital
  • Reviewing and negotiating medical bills
  • Filing claims and disputing claim denials

The goal of your patient advocate is to make sure you understand your condition and relieve stress to make healing and recovery easier on you. It’s their job to tackle the details while you rest and recover. 

Who does a patient advocate help?

You don’t need a patient advocate every time you go to the doctor, but there are times in life when you need a little help. If you are feeling overwhelmed or don’t understand your diagnosis, a patient advocate may just be the person to help you along the path. 

Patient advocates help people who:

  • Want a second opinion
  • Are having difficulties managing their medical treatment plan
  • Want more information about their treatment options
  • Are overwhelmed or do not understand their medical bills
  • Live far away from family and do not have a support network nearby

If this is you, a hospital patient advocate may just be who you need to visit with.

How to find a patient advocate when in the hospital

Most hospitals have a patient advocate in-house, or they will know who to reach out to for more information. These advocates understand the inner workings of the hospital they work in and will be able to keep you informed about what the hospital can do best to help you. 

Health insurance companies also often have patient advocates that they can provide to an insured. Check with your insurance company to see if they have one or if they cover the cost of using one. If they do, ask them how to find one covered by your policy. 

You can also hire an independent patient advocate. There are organizations that can connect you with a patient advocate in your area. 

Benefits of having a patient advocate

As the healthcare and insurance systems have become more complex, the idea of having a patient advocate has started to appeal to more people. They offer so many benefits and can easily put your mind at ease so you can focus on recovery. 

  • Expertise. Patient advocates truly understand different conditions and the workings of the system. They can put your mind at ease while talking with your doctor and make sure that you get the best care available.
  • Communication with the whole team and family. They can communicate with your medical team, so they understand what you need. They can also communicate with your family, bridging the gap between them and the doctors. 
  • Support. Patient advocates will always be on your side. They will support you 100% and help bring in friends and family when needed.

Patient advocates are becoming the key to bridging the gap between the medical community and their patients. They can work with medical staff to bring you the best treatments. They can take away the stress of having to deal with incorrect billing and insurance companies. If you are looking for a patient advocate or would like more information, contact Careweavers today. Let us advocate for you.