Medicine has changed a lot for both patients and providers, especially primary care doctors. Time directly spent with patients has been minimized greatly and is no longer valued economically. Medical insurance companies reimburse physicians based on volume of patients seen vs how much time is spent with each given patient. Because reimbursable amounts have decreased care providers have been forced to take on more patients in order to make their practice economically feasible. A lot goes into a single appointment with a doctor. A patient may wait an hour for a quick 15-minute visit or even shorter when you figure in paperwork, prescription refills and a few minutes for questions outside of the exam time. Plus, there is an unequal power relationship between providers and insurers. Tests and procedures are reimbursed at a much higher rate than doctor’s appointments. That combined with limited time in office visits, patients often find themselves getting more exams and tests than thought to be medically necessary. This is where a patient advocate can provide essential services.
Patient Advocates can assist doctors and their office staff in freeing up much needed time. They can help minimize a loss of productive hours with employees having to spend large amounts of time dealing with insurance companies or medical providers. They can assist in finding specialists covered by the patient’s’ health coverage and can assist with scheduling of necessary follow up treatments and exams. Advocates can ensure all paperwork is properly completed and submitted, including necessary insurance documents.
Patient Advocates can relay important medical information about the patient to the doctor and ensure the client is fully prepared at the time of the appointment. This helps maximize the time spent with the doctor and potentially minimize unnecessary tests and exams. Patient Advocates can serve as a direct line of communication between the doctor, the patient and their loved ones… which is particularly helpful in more sensitive cases perhaps where there is an unfavorable medical diagnosis or terminal situation. In addition, Patient Advocates can help a doctor educate a patient and family members about their condition by breaking down the medical jargon into understandable explanations. This helps both the patient and medical office by providing clear lines of communication and potentially alleviating unnecessary phone calls and conversations to explain specifics about a patient’s care.
Senior Patient Advocates provides educated, skilled and experienced Patient Advocates for a wide range of situations. To receive more information about hiring an advocate for you or someone you care about, please contact Senior Patient Advocates at Senior Patient Advocates’ website, or call (307) 472-1770.