What is a patient advocate?

Why do I need one, and how much does one cost?

ADVOCATE: From Latin ADVOCARE, to “add” a “voice”. To advocate is to add a voice to support a need or a cause. An advocate adds that voice by supporting or working toward a particular goal.

Often patients and caregivers who seek the help of a patient advocate are surprised to learn that there are two kinds of advocates:

1. The kind you find in a hospital, who works for the hospital
2. The kind who run private practices, who are hired like you would hire an attorney, and who
provide services you usually pay for from your pocket, not covered by insurance.

You might wonder why they aren’t covered by insurance-or free? You WANT to pay for the service yourself, or at least let someone who has your best interests at heart, to be the payer. A loved one, or your church or synagogue, or an employer-they do have your best interests at heart. An insurer or a hospital does not, including the patient advocates who work for insurers or hospitals.

Hiring an independent, private advocate often costs far less than you think and depends on a number of factors:

1. It includes the services you need, how long it will take, the background and experience of your advocate, and your location/geography.
2. It depends on what your quality of life is worth to you. What is life itself worth to you? (you can’t take it with you, as they say.)
3. And further….what about the alternative? What if you don’t hire the help you need? Will you survive? And-how much of your hard-earned savings will it cost you? So what does that mean in terms of dollars? Is there an hourly rate? Yes, but also no. Yes, most advocates keep an hourly rate in their heads, but even that can vary. An hour’s worth of sitting in your living room discussing your medical situation or helping you draw up your advance directives does not have the same value as an hour’s worth of driving to your house, is not the same as an hour’s worth of sitting by your hospital bed while you sleep, is not the same as an hour’s worth of researching the deep web for clinical trials.

Further-what does an hourly rate mean to you anyway? You have no idea what one advocate can accomplish in one hour, so just knowing that number, as an isolated piece of information, can’t help you figure out the cost anyway. How long will your situation take to solve? One hour? Fifty? That question is usually answered by doing an assessment, which is where your advocate will begin and will then tell you what your work will cost.

So the real question about cost is this: What is peace of mind worth to you? Can you put a price on it?

The Bottom Line is...
 Yes. An independent, private health or patient advocate charges for his or her services.
 The charges will vary, dependent on all of the above.

 It might cost you $200. It might cost you $500.00. It might cost you thousands to hire an
 IMPORTANT! Your advocate will give you a good idea of the total before you get started
with your work. So- what harm can it do to ask?

Why Choose Stepping Stone Advocacy Services?

The Founder and Innovator of Stepping Stone Advocacy Services comes from a background of over 40 years in Nursing coupled with 20 plus years as a Nurse Case Manager. As a Registered Nurse, she practiced patient advocacy under the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics which states:

“The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient. The nurse makes decisions and takes action consistent with the obligation to provide optimal patient care.”

Although she is now retired and not practicing Nursing, she brings these experiences to help patients and their families navigate the complexities of our current health care system, as a Patient Advocate. In addition, at Stepping Stone Advocacy Services, the focus is on innovative approaches to meet our Client’s needs. Our software program was specifically designed by a Patient Advocate, who understands the role of the advocate as well as the needs of the Client. It enables us to spend more time with our Clients, and less time on paperwork. The software is HIPAA compliant assuring all information is kept confidential. Families and Clients can access our software platform through a portal, allowing seamless up to date communication with all parties. Invoicing is done directly through the software platform.

Our website is designed to provide you with information, regarding Patient Advocacy. In addition, all payments for services are made directly through our website, making it very simple and saving our Clients time and money.