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Patient Advocacy: What Is It, and How Does It Affect You and Your Loved Ones?

Patient advocacy includes any support provided in the best interest of a patient. Our lived experience can change our ability to face health challenges or maintain a healthy being. The ability to gain health care coverage, access, and respond to our health needs is vital. Advocacy in health care is essential to address any individual challenges to receive the best health outcome.

Take a moment to consider your last experience as a patient. Was it easy to schedule your appointment? Did you have transportation? Was the appointment a good experience? Why or why not? Were there challenges? If so, what were they? Were your needs met? Does the provider speak your primary language? Do you have money to pay for the visit or medication? Can you remember critical fragments of information to tell your provider? Can you carry out the medical advice or recommendations? Each story would differ if we were to share our individual patient experiences.

Several factors change our interactions with our medical providers. Nothing is a given from coverage, appointment, exchanges, and outcomes. Not everyone will have an equitable experience.

Patient encounters can alter due to many things, including:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Facing biases
  • Transportation
  • Communication
  • Needs and abilities
  • Personal or medical history
  • Living situation or conditions
  • Insurance coverage or lack of
  • Social/economic/health status
  • Access to services as they relate to health needs
  • Understanding of insurance, conditions, or medical advice
  • Ability to act or respond to any of the above challenges or conditions

Each year, National Patient Advocacy Day is observed on August 19th. The importance of this day is to educate all of us to ask more questions, seek out resources, and get more information to understand better the distinct needs of ourselves, our families, and our community. Only some answers you receive are the final solution. Find ways to guide yourself and your loved ones to the best solution for your unique circumstance. See an advocate, like a care manager, social worker, or advocate who works within a provider office/facility/organization, if needed.

Our care management services may help you with the following:

  • Navigate between providers
  • Provide community resources
  • Understand medical recommendations
  • Transition into or out of in-patient services
  • Transition from justice-involved circumstances
  • Find medical, dental, and behavioral health providers

Helpful Links: Find resources and learn about services you can use. What you need to know for your annual Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) renewal.