Why do I need someone to be my advocate? Can’t I just do it myself?
Getting a cancer diagnosis is an earth-shattering moment. Emotions of fear, anxiety, and confusion add to an already high-stress situation. Keeping track of appointments, being up-to-speed on relevant medical information, being able to comprehend medical language, and thoroughly understanding the journey and process can be overwhelming for anyone. Add side effects from treatment and it can be very challenging to advocate for one’s self. A private patient advocate with expertise in cancer and navigating the healthcare system may be your biggest asset at this challenging time. Take also, for example, the following situations. While many may opt to do their own accounting and taxes, most individuals hire an accountant to complete these financial tasks. A homeowner may chose to sell their home on their own though the majority who wish to do so hire a real estate agent.
Do you accept health insurance for your services?
No, private, independent patient advocates do not accept insurance or Medicare and are paid directly by the client. My expertise is delivered to you unbiased, tailored specifically to your particular needs without the influence of a for-profit organization’s reimbursement framework. You may be assured that my allegiance is exclusively to my clients and my highest priority is to deliver exceptional services to you.
Do you offer medical care or prescribe medication?
No, I do NOT provide licensed medical care. My services are NOT a substitute for a doctor’s care. I do not examine patients, write prescriptions, order tests, or offer second opinions.
Do you accompany clients to doctor appointments or hospitals?
Yes, clients may be accompanied to doctor appointments or hospitals in the NJ/NYC area. Arrangements may be made to travel to other locations if needed, in advance. Respective travel fees, such as mileage, tolls, and parking will apply. I may also conference call into an appointment as an alternative to in-person accompaniment. I do not offer overnight hospital bedside accompaniment services.
What will my doctor or medical care team think about me having a patient advocate?
In my experience, doctors and medical care teams welcome meeting with and involving patient advocates as part of their patients’ care. It has been my experience that my clients have been better prepared for appointments, ensued better discussions, and were more understanding of their doctor’s instructions due to my advocacy services. Appointments with doctors become more productive and streamlined. While some physicians may not be familiar with working with a private patient advocate, I am happy to answer any questions they may have about my role and services that I provide.
Hospitals and insurance companies offer complementary patient advocates. Why would one hire a private, independent advocate when we could use one of the hospital’s or insurance company’s advocates?
The advocates or patient navigators provided by hospitals or insurance companies have an allegiance to the respective agencies that pay them, NOT you. The hospital advocates assist patients within the framework and regulations designed by the hospital to benefit the hospital, not you. Similarly, advocates provided by insurance companies assist patients within the framework and rules imposed on them by the insurance company. If there is a conflict of interest, the advocate will conform to the restrictions imposed upon them by the insurance company. A private, independent patient advocate is solely focused on providing the best outcomes to their paying client, without any restrictions from for-profit healthcare agencies.
My doctor is wonderful and known for providing exceptional care. Why would I need to hire a private patient advocate?
Even the best doctors in the world can’t spend all the one-on-one time many patients desire and need to get up to speed on their diagnosis, their treatments, and to answer all of their questions. Most patients are disappointed and frustrated by how little time their doctors and medical care teams spend with them. It is an unfortunate reality of today’s healthcare system that doctors simply do not have the time nor are they compensated to spend the time patients are looking for. Hiring a private advocate will provide you with the time, information, and support you need to make the best decisions about your care.
How do I know what services I need?
I offer a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation to discuss your current medical situation, to understand what you are struggling with or need help accomplishing, and to determine what goals you are looking to achieve. Once I have all of the pertinent information, I will compose a scope of services which outlines and describes what services would be beneficial, what the process would be, as well as the approximate time commitment to complete and execute the described tasks. A detailed quote will be included within the agreement for your review. The scope of services agreement may be refined as needed until a favorable agreement is reached.
What is the charge for your advocacy services?
Each client has different needs and levels of involvement based on their diagnosis and personal preferences. I perform a complementary consultation and create a scope of services that outlines all of the services recommended, the plan of action, and the associated fees. I work on a retainer basis to provide individualized service. All retainers are paid in full and in advance of work completed.
How may a payment be made?
Most clients are eager to begin collaborating on advocacy services as soon as possible. For your convenience, all payments may be made electronically via e-invoicing.
How are services billed to the retainer?
Once an agreeable scope of work is established and an agreement is signed, a new client account file is created with the retainer. Any advocacy services provided will be charged against the balance on this account. Clients will receive monthly invoices detailing all billable services provided during that month along with the current balance on account. An invoice will be sent to the client any time their account balance falls below $400 so as to allow the client time to replenish the retainer. Advocacy services will cease to be continued if appropriate funds are not available. Any and all funds available on the account are refundable to the client upon completion of the work or termination of the agreement.
Do you have regular office hours or are you on call?
Regular business office hours are Monday-Friday 9 am - 5 pm. Individual client needs outside of these hours may be negotiated in our agreement. Please note that our services are not meant to address medical emergencies. In the case of an emergency, please call 911.