"Vicki's Corner" - How Can I Make Sure That My Medical Provider Has My Patient Advocate Form?

"Vicki's Corner" is designed to help our clients find comfort in knowing there is a place they can turn if they find themselves needing to address questions that require the input from a social or medical worker perspective.  This month's installment is devoted to Patient Advocate forms.

Q: "Dear Vicki,

I was just in the hospital a few days ago and they insisted they didn’t have a copy of my Patient Advocate forms. I know I’ve given these papers to them more than once and yet every time I need medical care, it seems no one can find them. I even receive all my medical care from the same system. Nothing seems to help. Do you have any suggestions?
Thank you,
John T."

A: John, you bring up a good point that many people find confusing. Our medical system is growing at an incredible rate. It’s filled with good people who are stretched very thin. One of the unfortunate consequences of this growth is a sometimes fractured communication system, even between Providers within the same medical group. It is realistically no longer a wise idea to rely on the medical professionals involved in your care to be the vault for your complete medical history. You must be your own database of information specific to you. This includes your Patient Advocate. Here are a few tips to help: 

  • Have your grandkids (because we know they understand computers better than anyone!) show you how to scan or email copies of your paperwork. Then you’ll have an electronic copy on your phone, or in your email.
  • Encourage your Advocate to do the same or to keep a written copy of your Patient Advocate HANDY – like in the glove box of the car. Don’t lock it up in a safe place and don’t forget to be sure your Advocate knows not only where the documents are, but what you want in the event you can’t communicate.
  • Be prepared to give copies of your papers to your medical provider, but DO NOT assume they will be able to consistently find it in the future.
  • Review, update and redistribute your Patient Advocate forms every 3 years.

There are many other ideas we can offer at Plachta, Murphy & Associates that can help you keep your medical care needs on track and within your control.

If you have questions for "Vicki’s Corner," please email or call at 616-458-3994  ~ Vicki Poleni, Family Services Advocate at Plachta, Murphy, and Associates, P.C.

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