Julie Harden, BSN, RN
Owner / Manager
What is a healthcare advocate?
The role of an advocate in the health care system is to represent the best interests of the patient when dealing with doctors or other medical professionals, documenting information and asking questions to ensure the highest level of care and the most effective treatments. The advocate may attend appointments with the patient or visit him at home to review aspects of current care plans and diagnoses
Why would I need a healthcare advocate?
Healthcare has evolved into a complex and complicated world. The healthcare system has changed to the point where it is no longer recognizable. As patients become more fearful they aren’t getting the care they need, or are being asked to pay more than they can afford, they and their caregivers are increasingly reaching out to private, independent patient advocates to get the help they need.
How does one become a healthcare advocate?
A nurse is by definition is a patient advocate; that role includes listening to and understanding a patient’s direct care needs. However, the role is not defined as strictly nursing. Many others such as social workers, therapists, or physicians may be an advocate. Patient advocacy as a growing field where independent agents may work to help patients navigate and negotiate the complex field of medical services.
Advocates may also be employed by hospitals, rehab centers or other medical facilities; nonprofit organizations; government agencies; insurance companies; or for-profit patient advocacy firms. Others are self-employed.
Until recently advocacy had no national certification for patient advocates. In 2018 that changed with the Patient Advocacy Board now offering a national certification twice a year. As of January 2020 there are 632 Board Certified Patient Advocates (BCPA) nationwide. Cited as one of the fastest growing professions of the upcoming decade, patient advocacy is, indeed, growing rapidly.
Healthmatch Advocacy is a nurse only, independently owned and operated business reporting to, and responsible only to the client. At this time health insurance generally does not pay for advocacy services.