FAQsFrequently Asked Questions
Why do I need a private advocate? I can do this myself.
Learning you have cancer immediately elicits feelings of fear, anxiety, and confusion. You don’t know what you don’t know. Add to that the stress of managing your illness while tending to all of your other responsibilities. It is overwhelming. All of my clients have been surprised by how much they did not know and how truly difficult it is to coordinate multiple appointments, educate themselves on their disease and gain a thorough understanding of their options. Hiring a private advocate with expertise in cancer and navigation of a complicated healthcare system will provide you with the education, coordination, and support you need as you make important care decisions with confidence. One client said to me, “ I would not climb Mt. Everest without a Sherpa, why would I attempt this without a guide”?
How is a private advocate different from a nurse navigator or an insurance advocate?
Hospital systems, doctor’s offices and insurance companies have created the position of nurse navigator or patient advocate as a response to the growing complexity of healthcare services. The role of these positions is to help you navigate within the systems that they work for. Their allegiance is to the health system or insurance company that pays them. They provide a valuable service and I often collaborate with them, however, I work for you. As your independent, private advocate you pay me and I work solely for you with your best interest at the forefront. As an independent advocate, I have the freedom to provide you with a comprehensive assessment of options without restrictions. My allegiance is exclusively to my clients and their well-being.
Do you offer medical advice or prescribe medications?
I am not a licensed clinician and I do not provide medical care or advice. I am not a replacement for your healthcare team, but rather a supplement to the team that provides thoughtful research, options, and insights to help you make informed decisions.
Are your services covered by insurance?
Private patient advocates do not accept private insurance or Medicare. Private advocacy is a fee-for-service model and is paid directly by our clients. My expertise is unbiased and customized specifically to your needs without the influence of a for-profit organization’s reimbursement structure. My priority is to provide exceptional and customized service for every client.
Can you accompany me on doctor’s appointments?
I do accompany my clients to appointments when requested. Geography dictates whether it is face-to-face or virtual. Expenses such as mileage, tolls, and parking will apply. I do not provide transportation to medical appointments, however.
My doctor is highly-rated and I like him/her. Why would I need to hire a private advocate?
Even the best physicians are hindered by the complexity of the system. Physicians spend, on average, 1/3 of their time face to face with patients. The remainder of their time is spent recording information required by a plethora of regulations and healthcare metrics placed on them. This results in frustration for most patients when they realize how little time their team actually spends with them. Time constraints limit the amount of research for novel treatments or clinical trials your physician conducts on your behalf. I had a client say to me — after I delivered a comprehensive plan to him — “ why isn’t my physician doing this?” The unfortunate answer is that most physicians do not have the time. Hiring a private advocate provides you with the time, information and support you need to make confident decisions about your care.
Will my doctor resent me for having an advocate?
My clients are better prepared for appointments and have a deeper understanding of their disease and the options available to them — resulting in more productive appointments — and physicians appreciate this. I am happy to answer any questions or concerns a physician may have about private advocacy. Most physicians are happy to involve a private advocate in their patients’ care.
How do I know what services I need?
I offer a 15-minute complimentary phone consult where I listen with intention to your current medical situation. My goal is to understand what is causing you the most angst and what would help you bring some control to an out-of-control situation. I listen for how I can help you. If you choose to proceed then I will provide a detailed, customized scope of services designed especially for your needs.
How much does a private advocate cost?
Each person’s cancer diagnosis is unique. Every case has a unique level of need and involvement. I provide a complimentary consultation to identify your needs and ways that I can help. If you choose to move forward, I will provide a customized and detailed scope of services and plan of action. Your fee is based on your extent of need and my level of involvement. The time you gain to focus on your health, family and daily responsibilities, without the stress of a steep learning curve and the ensuing doubt with each healthcare decision, is the value a private medical advocate delivers.