Would you pay for a healthcare coach?

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Suppose you had a medical condition that caused you or a loved one a lot of trouble? Perhaps it is uncontrolled diabetes, alzheimer’s disease, congestive heart failure, cancer, multiple schlerosis, cerbral palsy, schizophrenia or some other challenging condition. Imagine that you got the diagnosis, saw your doc, maybe got some medications and a script for physical therapy but then…..nothing. Do you know what your diagnosis really means? Are you confident the diagnosis is correct? Does the recommended treatment make sense for you? Do you know where to go to get the best care or questions answered?  Can you afford your medication? If not, can you get it cheaper? What will your insurance cover? What if I can’t afford treatment or my insurance is limited? Can I get help at home for care, housework, shopping, transportation? Am I getting better? Are there other options for treatment? Better options? Are there nontraditional treatments that work for my condition?  What are my options for short or long term care such as a nursing home, brain injury program or assisted living? Can I get treatment for my chronic pain? What happens if I stop getting treatment? Is there help if I decide to stop treatment? How do I pick a hospice?  Is there someone out there who can coach me through all this????

You bet there is! Healthcare advocates (or coaches or navigators) are generally well trained, experienced medical providers who use their skills to help others get the best healthcare possible during difficult times. The help could be educating you and your loved ones about your condition and how it impacts your body, mind, soul and community. It could be helping you find a doctor, therapist, hospital, nursing home or other provider you trust and like. An advocate could link you to free or low cost programs and services to help you financially while you treat. She could find treatment for you out of your area and facilitate the care, transportation and housing for loved ones. Help could involve matching you or a loved one with a high quality long term care situation or trustworthy, compassionate help at home. An advocate could accompany you to doctor visits to make the most of those generally brief and often confusing appointments. She could work to solve the problems of non compliance with medications used to treat the mentally ill. The help could involve linking you to non traditional treatments and practitioners that are evidence based, trustworthy and safe. Help could be identifying side effects or treatment and what to do about them–stop, modify or change. It could be helping you make decisions about when to stop treatment and how to find peaceful, compassionate care when you do.

So, back to my original question. Would you pay for a healthcare coach? For the most part, healthcare coaches or advocates or navigators are privately paid individuals. At this point extremely little of this type of service is paid by healthcare insurance. If you are injured in an auto accident in the state of Michigan, you may be eligible for a medical case manager (same thing for the most part) who is paid by your insurance company. But most other people with health conditions who could benefit from this kind of help can’t get it unless they pay for it. Is it worth it? Only you can decide but if there wasn’t a nurse advocate in my family (me), I would certainly be looking for and referring my loved ones to a good patient advocate. We pay doctors, hospitals and other providers a lot of money for healthcare. Some is covered under insurance and if the prices are high the costs are passed on to us via high premiums. Some is out of pocket with copays and deductibles and non-covered services. Any way you look at it, we pay for healthcare in the U.S. Making the most of the healthcare we use makes sense in terms of money saved, value, quality care, relief and peace of mind. That’s what a good healthcare advocate can do for you. I think it is worth it. Next time I talk about how to find a healthcare advocate who is truly qualified to help you.

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Abraham Advocates
PO Box 70983
Rochester Hills, MI 48307

tel: (248) 930-9155
fax: (248) 844-8115
email: info@abrahamadvocates.com

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