Trust but Verify: Find the Right Patient Advocate for You
Reagan’s famous quote is actually an original Russian proverb: “Trust but verify.” If that slogan helped get us safely through the Cold War, then it probably can help you find and hire the right patient advocate for your needs.
You enter a courtroom. Alone. How’s that going to turn out for you? Quid pro quo. Brown v. Board of Education? Marbury v. Madison? Plessy v. Ferguson. Sheesh… you might as well have a law degree. Wait. That’s exactly the point.
You open up an online trading account. What’s that hash mark? How do I interpret a trend line much less make a smart investment? Precious metals are always a safe investment, right? Sure… that’s what they thought in 2012.
So why do so many people try to do big, important things themselves?
Some Reasons Why People Do Important Things By Themselves without Seeking Help:
- Distrust of others
- Overweening pride in themselves and their abilities (the ancient Greeks called this hubris and it was the root cause of the fall of all great heroes)
- Lack of time to delegate
- Inability to budget or plan so they react and try to make the best reactive instead of proactive decisions they can.
- They are loners like John Wayne or Chuck Norris or of all things The Lone Ranger (hmm… makes sense, except he had Tonto (aka Johnny Depp) by his side)
When you have to make important life and health decisions, wouldn’t you want a friend by your side? Perhaps even someone who has navigated the healthcare industry before. Even dozens or hundreds of times before for others like you.
You wouldn’t go into that courtroom alone without a good lawyer, and you wouldn’t invest your life savings without the help of a great investor. Do you really want to make decisions about the most important aspect of your life and your health without the help of someone who both knows the industry and has your best interests at heart?
Now, we aren’t discrediting the good intentions of doctors, nurses, hospitals, and even insurance companies. But at the end of the day, hospitals and medical practices are businesses. Health insurance is a business. A big one.
There are quotas. There are employees. There are policies. People get tired. Mistakes happen.
Navigating the intangibles of managing your most important tangible – you – is best done by a patient health advocate.
Cool. Got it. I want one. How do I get one?
How Do I Hire a Patient Advocate?
Well, it isn’t hocus pocus. There isn’t a Magic 8 Ball that we mail you and it reveals your soulmate, er, hem, patient advocate.
All kidding aside, you don’t need to call a temp agency and just hope for the best. Here’s how you find one!
- Just contact us! We’ll point you in the right direction.
- Many hospitals keep patient advocates on staff or on speed dial.
- There are also non-profit, as well as for-profit, patient advocates or good Samaritans who serve as independent health advocates.
How Do I Choose the Right Patient Advocate for Me?
Not all patient advocates are created equal. Choosing the right one to help you through hard times is both a bit of an art and a science.
The Art: Trust
- Find someone you like
- Find someone you trust
- Ask a potential patient advocate a detailed list of questions that you can find here before hiring him or her
The Science: Verify
- Run a background check on the person you are interested in hiring to be your health navigator
- Compare their credentials with these patient advocate board certification standards
- Ask for references from past clients and documentation to support their claims. As Dr. Phil says, “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”
Only in this way of combining art and science can you too hope to find your Tonto. You don’t have to face the swift currents of insurance policy changes, the barren landscape of tailored medical advice, and the dismal prospect of confusing, overwhelming paperwork alone.