All Patient Advocates Are Not Created Equal
Why Hospital and Insurance Patient Advocates May Not Be Able to Help You
You might be surprised to learn that hospital-based or insurance company patient advocates or navigators often work for the risk management department of their organizations. They may have titles like health advocate, patient navigator, care coordinator, ombudsman, patient relations representative, customer service representative, patient liaison, consumer advocate or even crisis resolution representative. While their jobs are to help you, they are often constrained by the allegiance they owe their employers – keeping them out of hot water.
This is key. Understanding the focus of your advocate’s job, and who is responsible for the advocate’s paycheck helps you understand where the advocate’s allegiance lies.
When you work with a private, independent advocate, you will pay him or her to help you; thus, your advocate will be invested in your success. Together, you and your advocate will set your goals, then together, you work to make them happen.
In the profession of patient advocacy, we call this the Allegiance Factor.
As a patient or caregiver, you want to be sure that your advocate’s allegiance lies only with YOU, not some other organization with a conflict of interest.