Be Your Own Healthcare Advocate

Whether you are preparing for an elective surgical procedure or an intense round of chemotherapy, it is important to be an advocate in your own healthcare.

1. Be prepared for your visit with your physician:

a. Know your medical background including previous illnesses, diagnoses, and surgeries.
b. Provide a list of current medications, physicians and treatments.
c. Bring insurance information and ID to your appointment.

2. Avoid costly and unexpected medical expenses by understanding your health insurance benefits including:

a. What are your deductibles, co-pays, maximum benefits and maximum out-of-pocket amounts?
b. Is your physician an in-network or out-of-network provider?
c. Is the hospital an in-network or out-of-network facility?

3. Invite a friend or family member to your doctor’s appointment if you feel like you need a second set of eyes and ears. Ask your companion to take notes. Later you can later discuss what was covered in the appointment.

4. Be assertive. Ask questions. It is not disrespectful to question your doctor about a diagnosis or a treatment plan.

5. Stand up for yourself. If you don’t agree with a treatment plan, say so. Ask for other options.

6. Educate yourself about your diagnosis and treatment plan. There are many credible books, articles and reputable websites on the internet. Avoid chat rooms, forums and other untrustworthy sites where opinions exceed facts.

7. Seek second or third opinions.

8. Acknowledge your intuition. If your gut is telling you that something isn’t quite right, then make a change in your doctor and/or treatment plan. You should feel 100% comfortable with your doctor, the staff, and the prescribed course of action.

9. Review the medical bills. Don’t assume that your health insurance is paying its part or that the doctor’s office hasn’t charged you in error. Communicate with the office is you see something that isn’t correct.

It is your health. Take charge of it. Gain the knowledge and confidence that will empower you to make the best decisions for your health.

For more helpful tips and information, visit our Patient Resources page.