Madison, July 20 – Patient Care Partners LLC, a Madison-based private patient advocacy firm, has formed to offer unique and relevant services to patients and families. Principals Debby Deutsch and Tamara Sondgeroth bring unique skill sets and training experiences to their firm. Debby holds a certificate in Consumer Health Advocacy from the Center for Patient Partnerships – UW Madison, and is on staff as Patient Advocate at Gilda’s Club Madison. Tamara is a chemical engineer, holds an MBA, and is the President of Midwest Lighting Institute.
“Both Tamara and I were profoundly affected by healthcare situations with immediate family members that left us looking for help and unable to find appropriate support, which was frustrating and made emotionally-charged situations even more difficult,” states Debby. “We are fairly savvy, and we had strong family support. But still, when someone you dearly love is in a health crisis, you really need an advocate, even if it’s for a short time and even if you’re not exactly sure what a Patient Advocate is or how one can help you.”
Citing ever-shrinking physician appointment times and increasingly complex medical care teams and healthcare systems, Debby and Tamara recognize a need and feel that they are uniquely poised to help individuals and families. Medical billing errors also happen frequently, and billing systems and insurance companies are difficult to navigate. Medicare, Medicaid and disability can all be overwhelming, on top of illness and treatment plans.
Notes Tamara, “Families are often scattered geographically, and adult children become concerned that their parents may have care coordination needs that simply can’t be met from afar. Even the most well-intentioned family members need help and guidance. We can go with a patient to medical appointments, for example, ensuring that the patient’s questions and concerns are heard, and answered in a way that the patient understands. We see that this leads to improved access, improved patient outcomes, and higher patient satisfaction. Medical care teams tell us that our presence and support helps them – we feel that we are helping both the patient and the system that is serving the patient.”
“Additionally,” notes Debby, “we can help through times of transition, which can be incredibly stressful for patients as well as families. For example, imagine having a dedicated, trained advocate supporting you through a diagnosis, treatment plan, possible second opinion, researching clinical trials, handling billing issues or errors. A recent Harris poll advised that the likelihood of errors on medical bills is 57%! We can help rectify billing issues, resulting in savings for our clients. We know the healthcare community and we can help guide patients in accessing healthcare options and identifying community support systems. We have been in those situations ourselves, and we can help people just like you.”
Tamara reflected, “Patent advocacy is emerging as a new and very valued discipline. We anticipate serving patients and families while also developing a professional patient advocacy firm – unlike anything established locally or regionally, we believe – that will attract other practicing, trained Patient Advocates. We envision ourselves to be leaders in advocacy service and support, as well as trainers and mentors to Patient Advocates who will join us in helping to shape advocacy as a discipline on a national level.”
More information can be found at www.patientcarepartners.org.