Patient Care Coordinator Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Patient Care Coordinator, or Care Coordinator, is in charge of managing communication between patients, family members, care providers and other healthcare institutions. Their duties include scheduling appointments with Doctors, providing referrals to new care providers and teaching patients about their health issues.

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Patient Care Coordinator Duties and Responsibilities

A Patient Care Coordinator may complete a variety of tasks during a shift. Some Patient Care Coordinator duties and responsibilities may include:

  • Using data to do analytical tasks and charting tasks related to patient information
  • Communicating with patients about their status and condition through emails, phone and face-to-face conversations
  • Managing patient accounts with contact information, insurance and financial information in a confidential manner
  • Scheduling patient visits and answer questions, including billing and preparation
  • Ensuring services comply with state and federal regulatory requirements
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What Does A Patient Care Coordinator Do?

Patient Care Coordinators work as patient advocates at social service and healthcare providers like group homes and hospitals. They generally assist patients who may not be able to manage their care on their own, such as disabled or elderly people. The role of a Patient Care Coordinator is to make sure their client is aware of all the responsibilities associated with caring for their health and helping them manage those tasks. They can help the patient pay medical bills, schedule transportation to appointments, pick up medications and follow up with care providers about their condition. 

Patient Care Coordinators determine a patient’s eligibility for different community support and financial assistance programs, enabling them to access the care they need. They put together care plans and explain them to the patient and their family, answering questions and carefully documenting each step.

Patient Care Coordinator Skills and Qualifications

Patient Care Coordinators should have a variety of skills relating to the position. Some required skills may include:

  • Teamwork to coordinate with Doctors, Nurses and other health care personnel
  • Strong verbal communication skills to communicate with patients and the health care team
  • People skills to connect emotionally with patients and health care personnel
  • Leadership
  • Management skills
  • Counseling skills
  • Time-management skill

Patient Care Coordinator Salary Expectations

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Patient Care Coordinator Education and Training Requirements

A Patient Care Coordinator usually needs to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing or social work. However, education in related fields such as substance abuse counseling, psychology, sociology or criminal justice is useful for the Patient Care Coordinator role and career path. There are Patient Care Coordinator training programs available as well as certificate programs for the profession and professional growth as a Patient Care Coordinator. Health Unit Coordinator and Patient Care Coordinator certificate programs usually last two years and are available at many community colleges. The Patient Care Coordinator examination required to attain the certification is given by the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators. Students taking a two year course in Patient Care Coordinator work will learn how to communicate with patients, communicate physicians’ orders, read medical charts and follow hospital policies and procedures. They will also learn about laws related to the health care profession. If the Patient Care Coordinator pursues a more senior career role as Patient Care Coordinator, then a master’s degree or doctorate is useful.

Patient Care Coordinator Experience Requirements

Employers prefer at least one year of related work experience in a Patient Care Coordinator position for someone with a bachelor’s degree. It is useful to have supervisory experience as a Patient Care Coordinator if the person will be in charge of other staff at a health care facility. However, some health care facilities will substitute a master’s degree for lack of experience.

Patient Care Coordinator Samples for Similar Positions

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Frequently asked questions about Patient Care Coordinators

 

What is the difference between a Patient Care Coordinator and a Medical Scheduler?

Patient Care Coordinators and Medical Schedulers both set healthcare appointments for patients, but Patient Care Coordinators have a more comprehensive role that involves looking after each patient’s overall wellness. Medical Schedulers serve an administrative role in a healthcare office where they determine staff schedules and set appointments with patients based on their availability. They may not meet a patient or know about their medical details besides the type of appointment they want to schedule. 

Patient Care Coordinators act as patient advocates and provide some administrative services as part of how they assist patients. They have in-depth knowledge of a patient’s medical history and healthcare needs that they use to provide guidance and create a healthcare plan. They assess a patient’s needs and coordinate care based on their findings, calling Medical Schedulers to confirm the appointment with a care provider.

 

What are the daily duties of a Patient Care Coordinator?

Patient Care Coordinators manage several cases at once to provide people in need and their families with support and assistance. They determine which patients have the greatest need for medical coordination help. After accepting a new case, Patient Care Coordinators meet with patients and perform an initial assessment of their healthcare needs. They answer question the patient has about their injuries or illnesses, explaining how they plan to address each aspect of their care. The Patient Care Coordinator follows up with their patients throughout the implementation of the care plan, liaising with their Doctors and other carers.

 

What are the characteristics of a good Patient Care Coordinator?

As patient advocates, Patient Care Coordinators work hard to find solutions for their client’s healthcare needs, requiring them to be creative, resourceful, hardworking and dedicated. Good Patient Care Coordinators must have excellent research skills so they can track down resources for their clients who may not have the means to access healthcare on their own. They are friendly, kind and patient with their clients when talking to them about their condition and healthcare options. Patient Care Coordinators are highly organized and can track the progress and appointments of multiple patients while keeping their information private and confidential.

 

What should you look for on a Patient Care Coordinator's resume?

Good candidates for a Patient Care Coordinator position should have some form of previous advocacy experience on their resume. People who’ve worked for social services or community programs in the past can be a good fit for a Patient Care Coordinator role. Resumes that list previous healthcare experience can also indicate top candidates who understand how the healthcare system works, allowing them to help their clients navigate it successfully.

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