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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Professional Patient Advocates


Patient advocates help people through the health care system.

If you do not have a family member or friend (or group of them) who can act as your patient advocate, you can hire a professional patient advocate.

It is advisable to take care when hiring a person who calls him or herself a professional patient advocate because anyone can call himself a patient advocate. There is no license required and there are no rules or regulations. .

Services that can be provided by a Professional Patient Advocate  In general, professional patient advocates can do any of the following::

  • Help you locate a doctor and get an appointment.
  • Go with you to appointments to help ask questions and remember what was said.
  • Help coordinate care between doctors.
  • Research treatment options.
  • File medical paper work.
  • Help convince an insurer to pay for the care you want.
  • Stay with you in a hospital to help you get the medical care you need, avoid medical errors, and reduce the chance of infection.

How to locate a professional patient advocate

To locate a qualified professional patient advocate, try the following:

  • In general: Contact:
    • Your doctor and/or the doctor's staff.
    • Local disease specific non-profit organizations - whether they relate to your health condition or not.
    • Members of your support group.
    • The nonprofit Patient Advocate Foundation which provides free services on a case-by-case basis. Tel.: 800.532.5274, offsite link
    • Alliance of Professional Health Care Advocates which can help you find a professional patient advocate at: offsite link
  • If you are employed: Check to find out whether your company provides patient advocacy or if the HR department has a suggestion of how to find a good patient advocate.
  • If you are in a hospital or nursing home: 
    • Check to see whether there is an in-house patient advocate. An in-house advocate is frequently referred to as an Ombundsman.
    • Keep in mind the person is employed and paid by the hospital or nursing home so there may be a conflict of interest. 

What to do when hiring a professional Patient Advocate When considering hiring a professional patient advocate, at least:

  • Get a copy of the person's resume. Pay particular attention to the person's training and professional experience that enables him or her to be knowledgeable, ethical and effective.  A college education is helpful - but not necessary.
  • Ask about the experience the person has with situations such as yours. The more experience, the better.
  • Ask for at least two references. Actually contact the people and ask about their experience with the person you are considering.. 
  • Ask about costs. Get the answer in writing. For instance, ask about the person's  fees, any expected expenses, and an estimate of the total cost of the services you need. 

NOTE: Before hiring a professional patient advocate, check with your hospital, employer and insurance company to find out if they can provide a free patient advocate or free patient advocacy services. If you do locate a free professional, confirm with the person that he or she will act in your interests rather than the interest of his or her employer.

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