What is a private patient advocate?
A private patient advocate is an independent practitioner who works with and for clients to navigate the complicated healthcare system, helping them become informed and empowered patients. Research shows that patients who are more engaged in their care have better outcomes. (1)
Since you are an RN, can you provide me with medical advice?
No. Your physicians and other members of your healthcare team will provide you with medical advice. My medical experience and expertise give me the skills to help you steer through the often complicated and confusing healthcare system and to provide you with information that will empower your access to the highest quality care. My clinical background has also provided me with the knowledge to act as a medical interpreter so you can better understand the diagnosis, tests, and treatments that are presented.
What are your fees?
The cost of my services depends on each client’s individual needs and the time involved in their care. Costs can be structured by the hour or by the service offered, and monthly packages are available. I offer a free initial consultation and can provide a specific breakdown of service costs after a needs assessment.
Don't hospitals and insurance companies provide these services for free?
No. While hospital navigators or advocates and insurance liaisons do provide advocacy services, like care coordination and information about diagnosis and treatment, their services are very limited in scope. Furthermore, their duty is to their company, not you. An independent advocate works solely on behalf of the patient, with the patient’s best interests at heart and in mind.
How do you protect your clients' privacy and health information?
All documents that contain client protected health information are stored in a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based application. Calls and texts to Clarity Patient Advocates are also routed through a HIPAA-compliant service. I do not discuss any patient information with anyone other than the client, unless given express permission by said client. This includes patient family members who may pay for the services. I follow all ethical standards outlined by the Patient Advocacy Certification Board, as outlined in: https://www.pacboard.org/wp-content/uploads/20191115PACB-Ethics.pdf.
Can you guarantee you can save me money?
No. I provide services that lessen the client’s emotional, physical, and financial burden. Advocates can often save a patient money by negotiating with insurance companies or providers and helping them access financial resources; however, I cannot guarantee that there will be cost savings identified.
Can you drive your clients to their appointments?
No. My insurance does not allow me to drive patients in my vehicle. However, I can help facilitate transportation with a car service or medical transportation company.
Will having an advocate with me make my doctor uncomfortable?
Patient advocacy is a relatively new professional field, and some physicians do not have experience with advocates. Those that do, however, typically recognize that advocates are another valued member of the healthcare team who empowers the patient to make informed choices and achieve the best possible outcomes. Prior to attending an appointment with a client, the client will complete the appropriate paperwork that allows me to discuss his or her care with the physician and other members of the care team. I will also contact the physician in advance to explain my role so they understand what to expect. Included in the correspondence is a link to the following article, which helps physicians understand how patient advocates benefit their practice: https://www.physicianspractice.com/staff/5-ways-private-patient-advocates-work-physicians.
Do you work with out-of-state clients?
I can provide some services remotely but mostly work with patients in the metropolitan Atlanta area. However, some out-of-state clients may hire me to work with their elderly parents or extended family members who live locally. Please contact me for a free consultation to discuss your needs.
Do you only work with cancer patients?
While I have extensive cancer experience, I am not limited to working with cancer patients. I can assist anyone with a healthcare concern, whether it be dealing with a serious healthcare issue or simply providing a review of medications.
What sets you apart from other patient advocates?
I am a licensed registered nurse with certification in oncology (cancer). I am also a Certified Patient Experience Professional (CPXP), which means I have had specialized education and training in patient advocacy. In addition, I have personally experienced being diagnosed with a serious illness and, therefore, understand firsthand the patient experience as both a caregiver and a patient.