Excellent question! After our initial complimentary phone call, we'll schedule an Assessment. This is a time for us to get to know each other and for me to learn about your health care situation, concerns, and goals. Assessments typically take place at a library or coffee shop near your home and run 1-2 hours. The Assessment also includes a 2nd meeting at which I will provide you with a written report and proposal. If you would like me to be able to communicate with your health care providers, I will have you sign Release of Information forms. Then we'll move on to addressing your Advocacy needs with a plan customized to meet your needs and preferences. It's important to note that a contract needs to be signed and payment received prior to the provision of any services. This can be done electronically.
Alternatively, I offer Emergency Advocacy which would roll the Assessment and Advocacy together, so that we can get started right away -- as soon as the contract and payment is completed I can be on the way to the hospital.
I also offer phone-only Advocacy which is guidance of a more general nature. As with other services, a signed contract and payment is required in advance.
We all benefit from having someone in our corner. In particular, if you leave medical appointments with any confusion about what they told you, what your options are, what should happen next, frustrated by the interaction, overwhelmed, or scared, or disappointed that you didn't get to share your concerns, an Advocate will help ameliorate these concerns. Likewise, if you are dealing with multiple stressors (illness, family matters, financial concerns, etc), an Advocate can help lighten your load.
Absolutely! This is very common, especially with the geographic distance common to many families. It's also invaluable help to family members who are juggling multiple responsibilities such as work, caregiving, parenting, and their own physical and emotional health. With an experienced, compassionate resource on your side, you can be confident that your loved one is receiving the care they need. You CAN have peace of mind.
In this case, the client (the patient) will sign the contract, but you will sign a Guarantor contract regarding payment. Please note that the client must grant permission to discuss their care with anyone, even family or the Guarantor.
BCPA stands for Board Certified Patient Advocate. The Board Certified Patient Advocate (BCPA) is the only certification for professional health and patient advocates and is a designation awarded to qualified individuals. Earning the BCPA certification requires individuals to pass a rigorous exam and to uphold the highest ethical standards for the benefit and protection of the clients they serve. Board Certified Patient Advocates are multidisciplinary professionals who have demonstrated advanced skill and knowledge in navigating the complex system of health care.
Our contract will clearly outline the planned services, timeline, and expenses. If you need less than planned and paid for, you will receive a prorated refund as soon as possible. If you need or want more services, we can revise the contract accordingly. Additional services will not be provided until a revised contract is in place.
At one teaching hospital I worked at, Physical Therapists were referred to as "the purveyors of common sense." It's our specialty to evaluate all the medical and functional impairments and devise a real-world, feasible action plan to help the patient achieve their goals. It's a unique role in the health care system, especially because we are graced with spending significant, quality time with our clients. You simply learn more about an individual, their strengths and challenges, their home life, their fears and goals, even their sense of humor when you are walking and exercising together versus interacting while the person lays in bed.
I bring the same skills of analysis, creative problem-solving, finding adaptations, communication, coaching, and goal-setting to my work as an Advocate.
The following information is very helpful:
With your permission, I will record our conversation, to assist me in note-taking and planning.
We will work best by developing a relationship of trust and honesty. You should feel free to tell me any and all of your concerns as they relate to your health and health care. Medical appointments feel rushed and intimidating, our meetings absolutely shouldn't feel this way! At times I may give you "homework" and our success will be enhanced by your follow-through.
All of your information will be held in the strictest of confidence. Electronic communication occurs over a HIPAA-compliant web application. Paper documents are maintained in a locked filebox. I will discuss your case with ONLY those people to whom you grant written permission.
The following tools may be used in our communication:
You are right - for now, it's just me. But I'm a planner and I know that as much as this service is needed, it won't be long before I'll need to bring on other advocacy professionals.