What does a Patient Advocate do?
Patient Advocates typically work for health care facilities like hospitals or rehabilitation facilities, but they also work for insurance companies, government agencies or non-profit organizations. They work closely with patients and healthcare professionals to ensure patients receive the right care and billing options. Their job is to visit patients at healthcare facilities or their homes to determine their needs and to help them learn more about insurance policies. They may also be responsible for ensuring patients pay their medical bills on time.
Patient Advocate skills and qualifications
A successful Patient Advocate will have these skills:
- Listening skills to understand what the patients’ needs are and whether they have any problems or concerns
- Problem-solving skills to solve possible patient problems with health care professionals and insurance companies
- Decision-making skills so they can make choices on behalf of the patient
- Communication skills to work with patients, family members and health care professionals for a variety of situations
- Compassionate attitude in order to give emotional support and help the patients’ quality of life
Patient Advocate salary expectations
A Patient Advocate makes an average of $15.50 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.
Patient Advocate education and training requirements
Usually, a Patient Advocate has an associate or bachelor’s degree in social services, psychology, nursing, communications or similar field. Health care administration or management are two other specialized fields of study. Often, Patient Advocates decide to specialize and receive a master’s degree. There are also certification programs in health advocacy to gain a deep understanding of the options in hospital, nursing and home settings.
Patient Advocate experience requirements
Many Patient Advocates are Registered Nurses or have worked in the health care industry in a different capacity. Some start in clinical positions or work as Social Workers before becoming an independent Patient Advocate. If they don’t have previous experience in health care, Patient Advocates can complete internships with nonprofits or medical facilities to learn more about the healthcare system.
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