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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I usually go to the doctor by myself – Why would I use a healthcare advocate?

    Getting a new and serious diagnosis can be frightening, like being cast off into stormy seas in a boat with no motor or oars. An advocate can help clarify your situation and help steer you into a safe harbor. We help you understand and determine the best steps through the daunting complexities of the healthcare system. Significantly, a healthcare advocate represents your needs—not the needs of the insurance company, the hospital, or the healthcare system.

    Our job is help clarify your situation, improve communication with providers, and create and implement a plan so you can get the best possible care for who you are, with your specific health needs.

  2. People deal with serious illness all the time without hiring a healthcare advocate. When is an advocate really useful?

    Many perfectly capable, intelligent people use the services of a healthcare advocate when:

    • You have a new or serious diagnosis and don’t know where to turn for advice
    • You don’t understand your diagnosis or the treatment options available
    • You come back from an appointment with your head full of new and overwhelming medical terminology – and you need to make a treatment decision, fast
    • You have a family member who needs help managing their medical care
    • You need help arranging an end-of-life plan for yourself or a loved one
    • You have an elderly family member who needs care coordination and you live in a different geographic area

    If you feel the need, we'll be there for you.

  3. What does a healthcare advocate do?

    A healthcare advocate helps you understand your medical condition and the available treatment options, helps you make treatment decisions, and guides you through the complex medical system. Think of us as an additional level of support, guidance, hand-holding, and information processing. We can listen and translate between the medical world and the world you live in: your body and your life. We help you get the kind of care you want, not just what's “on the menu.”

  4. Will you go to doctor appointments with me?

    Yes, many clients use our appointment accompaniment service. We always recommend that someone accompany you to take notes and be a second set of ears any time there is a serious illness, whether an advocate, friend or family member. That way, someone is there to catch the important and confusing details.

  5. What do you do when you accompany me to an appointment?

    Before the appointment, we'll sit down to discuss what role you want us to play. During the appointment, we listen carefully and take notes. After the appointment, we'll meet to debrief and to make sure you understand all that your doctor said and what needs to be done next. In most cases, we'll send you a written summary of the visit and “to do” lists for you and for us.

  6. Will my doctors be upset if you are assisting me or if I bring you to an office visit?

    Doctors rarely have time to spend with each patient answering all their questions and concerns. Most physicians welcome the collaboration with someone who can take on that part of healthcare. We do not substitute for your relationship with your doctor; rather, we offer complementary service by providing personal attention and promoting clear communication with all members of your healthcare team, and by steering around obstacles to obtain the best care available. We have a track record of working with doctors and their patients to enhance medical care – that's why we call ourselves “partners.”

  7. How will I keep track of all the information about my illness?

    We will send you a written summary of your medical care and our meetings, unless you ask us not to do so.

  8. Who can benefit from using Healthcare Advocacy Partners?

    We assist people of all ages, from elderly patients needing help with coordination of care, to families with young children who are ill and in need of help defining the needs of both children and parents. We'll be at your side if you're diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. We also help with end of life planning.

  9. How do I know if Healthcare Advocacy Partners is a good fit for me?

    We are happy to talk to you for an initial discussion to see if we can help – without a fee or a commitment. Please contact Dr. Sima Kahn at 206 954-8805 or email.

  10. Do you help with transitions from the hospital to home or another care facility?

    Yes, Healthcare Advocacy Partners knows that this is one of the riskiest times in terms of medical errors. We make sure the transition is as smooth as possible and that all medical information, including medications prescribed and standing treatment appointments is relayed to the new caregivers.

  11. What is your fee structure?

    Healthcare Advocacy Partners will provide a brief initial consultation without charge, usually by phone, during which we estimate the amount of time and expected costs of our consultation. Our services are priced on an hourly basis. Please contact us for more specific information.

  12. What don’t you do?

    Healthcare Advocacy Partners does not do any of the following:

    • Perform physical exams
    • Make diagnoses
    • Order diagnostic tests, although we may suggest tests to discuss with the care provider
    • Refer to physicians directly, although we do recommend physicians when appropriate
    • Prescribe medicine or other treatments
    • Provide second opinions