Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. When looking to hire a Patient Advocate or health Care Navigator, make sure the company and providers have legitimate clinical and health care skills and expertise. Many Advocates have specific nitches they are most effective in, and companies like Compass Care, have a staff of professional Nurse Navigators who each have their own area of specialty whic allows for a comprehensive group to choose from.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Patient Advocacy is a relatively new industry. Many hospitals and physician practices are rushing to hire "Navigators" to help them become compliant with the new government-,mandated health care quality measure that will ultimately affect their reimbursements. Many of these navigators are used as marketing tools to "drive business" the their respective practice or facility. If you are looking for an advocate that truly has your best interest as his/her primary focus, shouldn't they be "employed" by you, the client?
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. While fees and rates are important, the critical element is what will you get for you money and are you getting the right individual/company for your specific needs.
Consumers should know what the "start and end" points of the professional relationship will be before contracting services, have the advocates undergone background checks by their employer, and what are their specific credentials that make them the best "fit" for you.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. Mostly making sure that the individual advocate or company has the right professional qualifications and expertise to handle your particular situation. For example, you don want an insurance specialist to handle sensitive or important medical issues such as diagnosis research or physician office appointment escort services that should be handled by trained and specifically educated prof4ssionals such as Registered Nurses.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. Being able to help people understand their bodies and their health to the extent that they have a better understanding abut what influences their health and what they can do pro-actively to attain and maintain better health. Most people unknowingly "tune out" information that they do not readily understand and health care is the most common venue for this to occur.
Many times, when a diagnosis is given, or a surgical procedure is recommended, people think they hear what the practitioner is saying, but personal experience has shown that to be quite the opposite in most cases. All too often I hear patients say, "now, what was that word he used to describe my condition?", or "there's something wrong with my (ex. stomach, back, heart...you name it), but I didn't understand what he meant." It's time like these when I can make a difference by educating , interfacing and ultimately empowering the people I work for.
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. With all the changes that are occurring in the health care system, it will inevitably get more difficult to navigate within it, both for providers as well as for patients.
As the Baby Boomer population ages and becomes 65 years old, the impact upon the health care system, and Medicare more specifically, will increase dramatically. There will be a tremendous need for improved efficiency in health care delivery and we are positioned to help make that a reality for our clients.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. Our service packages, and levels of complexity of situations that our navigators may have to deal with will impact our pricing system. Our knowledge base, levels of expertise and time commitments are our "products" and costs will be different based upon variations within these factors.
Even though we have posted an "hourly rate", many service packages can be a single fee, such as the detailed initial assessments we conduct after a free consult and we have been contracted by the client, and "retainer fees" for longer-term or on-going commitment requests by clients and families such as our proprietary medicine management program.