Some time ago, we wrote a post about the value of having a nurse navigator when trying to decide about in home care here: (The Value of a Healthcare Navigator), and now we are revisiting this issue with a contribution from our friends at RegisteredNursing.org.
Most people’s first thoughts of a new year center around new beginnings and possible resolutions to be made. While these are important considerations to start the year out right, the most important consideration for a new year can revolve around your health and healthcare coverage. If you are like most people, you were barraged with notices about getting health care coverage. Navigating the landscape of “Part This” and “Part That” is confusing and, when added to potential health issues or surgeries, is down-right overwhelming. Enter the Health Navigator (queue the harps and harmonic singing).
The role of the health navigator has progressively expanded over the past decade as programs such as Medicare have become extremely complicated. More than just a person to help assist you with which options to choose for medical coverage, a qualified and skilled health navigator will also assist people with local resources they might qualify for, such as county or state programs. For example, low-income families in Idaho may qualify for additional support and assistance for medical issues through a medically indigent program; a savvy health navigator will know which services are available in certain areas and how to access them for the patient or family.
Health navigators play a different role than the nurse navigators you may have experienced in various healthcare settings. Nurse navigators assist patients or populations through either a healthcare system or a specialized department. One example of this role is when a patient is scheduled for surgery or perhaps is diagnosed with cancer, a nurse navigator is assigned to provide advice and guidance to patients through each step of the journey for these devastating experiences.
Some community health systems, such as Terry Reilly, employ health navigators to reach out to patients in their service area to offer support in enrolling patients and families into the myriad of choices for healthcare. As many programs are time-bound and have enrollment windows, having a process to proactively reach out to help people navigate the programs is very strategic. By offering services directly, not only are patients more likely to choose the health system that assisted them, the organization is more likely to receive better payment rates if patients are correctly enrolled. Either way, offering help to patients and families to traverse the timelines, coverage options, and associated costs with each plan is a valuable service to offer.
Healthcare and medical coverage can be confusing, especially if there are already numerous healthcare members coming into a home to provide services. However, if you find yourself needing additional resources or information related to healthcare coverage choices, ask your doctor to recommend a reliable health navigator for clarification and assistance. You don’t have to face these choices alone.
About the Author
Catherine Burger, BSN, MSOL, RN is a board-certified nurse executive and contributing writer for www.registerednursing.org.
About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.