As a patient, you have rights. In today’s healthcare system, it can be challenging to navigate the complexities of the healthcare ecosystem and advocate for yourself as a patient. But there are people who help make this process easier — your Patient Advocate. The role of the patient advocate is crucial in helping patients through their medical journeys. A patient advocate assists patients with anything that has to do with their medical care, insurance, or another time they may need advice on navigating the healthcare system. They can help with finding an interpreter, securing transportation if needed, assisting in filling out paperwork, making doctor’s appointments, answering questions about your health plan, and even find housing if needed. As a patient advocate will be your guide and support throughout your journey as a patient. Here’s what you need to know about this helpful role and how they can assist you during your next visit to a healthcare provider or hospital stay:

How to Find a Good Patient Advocate

The best way to find a good patient advocate is to ask friends or family members if they can recommend anyone. If you’re new in town or don’t have any friends or family in the area, try reaching out to a community health center or local hospital to inquire about patient advocate services. Another way to find a patient advocate is to call your state’s department of health and ask for a list of patient advocates in your area. You can also search online for “patient advocate” in your city. If you’re going through a medical journey and feel overwhelmed with the process, a patient advocate can be a great resource to have on your side. Patient advocates can be found in a variety of settings, including hospitals, health departments, community health centers, and private practices.

The Role of the Patient Advocate

The main roles of the patient advocates are to provide information and support to patients, advocate for patients’ rights, and help patients navigate the healthcare system. Patient advocates can help you with a range of health-related issues, including insurance, financial assistance, language or communication barriers, transportation, and navigating the healthcare system. You can also hire a patient advocate to help with any other kind of support that might be necessary, such as help filling out paperwork, providing a trusted interpreter, or helping you find safe housing if you don’t have a place to stay. Patient advocates can be very helpful in lots of situations, but it’s important to note that they aren’t medical professionals. Patient advocates may not be able to give you medical advice, but they can help you find someone who can.

Helping Patients Navigate the Healthcare System

A patient advocate’s main role is to help patients with anything that has to do with their medical care. They can help with finding an interpreter, securing transportation if needed, and assisting in filling out paperwork. They are also there to answer questions about your health plan, like how to get financial assistance, and help you understand what your health insurance covers. A patient advocate may also be able to help you find other services and support that you might need, like language or disability services. They can also assist you in finding a doctor, understanding your medical bills, and other relevant services like child care or food assistance that may be available to you.

What Does a Patient Advocate Do?

A patient advocate can do many things to help and support you. Some of these include connecting you with financial assistance and medical bill assistance, helping you understand your insurance plan, and finding doctors who take your health insurance. A patient advocate can also help you find interpreters and other services you might need, and help you with any paperwork or documentation you need to fill out. They can also help with scheduling and setting up appointments, be there as a support person during your appointment, and give you a ride home after your appointment if needed. A patient advocate can help with anything you might need, and they can be your main support person during your medical journey.

Other Ways a Patient Advocate Can Help

Your patient advocate can be your support system throughout your medical journey, but they can also connect you with other services and resources that you may need. For example, they can help you access your health insurance benefits and find out how much you can get for your medical bills. They can also help you apply for any financial assistance, like Medicaid, that you might be eligible for. Other services a patient advocate may be able to connect you with include food assistance, child care, housing, transportation, and medical equipment. They can also connect you with other support services, like support groups or other resources that can help you get through your medical journey.

Bottom Line

A patient advocate is a crucial support throughout your medical journey, providing information, assistance, and support. A patient advocate can help with almost anything that has to do with your health and care and can connect you with many other services and resources that may be available to you. A patient advocate can be your guide through this complex and challenging ecosystem, so make sure to find one and reach out to them when you need help.