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This FAQ covers the most common questions we’re asked. We hope these help you understand what a patient advocate is and how we work with you to improve your health - and reduce your stress levels.

If there is anything we haven’t covered here, just give us a call at (484) 533-7822. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and get you on the path to healing!

1. What is a health advocate? What is a patient advocate?


Health Advocate, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Advocate, Healthcare Advisor. These are all different names for the same function - a patient advocate.


Private patient advocates work only for their clients – helping them handle their medical issues and navigate our complex healthcare system. For some of our clients, this means answering questions about medical terminology or doing research about specialists for their medical condition, for others it means going to doctor’s appointments and speaking up for the patient to make certain their wishes are taken into account. For still others, it means providing a second set of eyes for hospitalizations & follow-up or stopping in to ensure that caregivers are doing what needs to be done


Hakim Health Partners (HHP) is at your side, making certain you have all the information you need to make the right decisions about you and your family’s health. We’re MDs who ensure you understand your condition, the medical language and treatment options available to you. We don’t practice medicine – we provide the help you need to decide what’s best for you.


2. What is the difference between a hospital advocate or an insurance advocate and a private patient advocate?


A hospital patient advocate or an insurance patient advocate both work for someone else. The hospital advocate works for the hospital system and the insurance advocate works for your insurance company. While they both can help with specific company-related policy information, they are not medical professionals and do not work solely for the benefit of your improved health.


An independent patient advocate like Hakim Health Partners works only for you – our client. For us, your health and your wishes are our primary concern. We are not bound by insurance company or hospital system limitations. For example, if you need to see a specialist that does not practice within the hospital system, we will help you coordinate your care with the most appropriate specialist for your condition.


3. Are your patient advocate services covered by my insurance?


No, patient advocacy services are not covered by insurance. That’s actually a good thing, because it means that the patient advocate is only looking out for your best interests.


4. How do I know if I need you? Who needs a patient or health advocate?


The quick answer is if you’re healthy or have only one simple medical condition you understand and are managing well with, you likely don’t need us. If, however, you have a complex medical situation or need to see several specialists, you could benefit from someone overseeing your team of doctors.


Let’s face it though, when you’re not feeling well and are stressed out about going to your appointment, retaining what they tell you, understanding the medical language, and remembering to ask all the questions you had in the short time you’re with the doctor is not easy. Most of the time it just doesn’t happen. We understand, and that’s why we’re here. We focus on getting you all the answers you need to make the right decisions about your healthcare. Contact us here.


Here’s how we’ve helped some of our clients:

  • Helping clients decide which member of their healthcare team to approach about various problems

  • Ensuring a client focused on a life-threatening condition before receiving treatment for another more treatable disease

  • Explaining the results of medical tests and language to a client so she understood what it all meant for her

  • Preventing unnecessary major surgery which could have harmed the patient by coordinating care with multiple specialists and clarifying a treatment plan

  • Helping patients remember important medical problems during doctor visits leading to treatment and improved health outcomes

  • Providing out-of-area adult children with up-to-date reports about their parents’ medical information & residential facilities

  • Arranging at-home treatments and coordinating with doctors and care teams


5. What services does Hakim Health Partners provide?


We provide a wide range of patient advocacy services. We customize our services for your individual situation. From answering brief call-in questions or arranging second opinions to traveling with you to doctor’s appointments to providing respite for caregivers, we’re available to help you in the way that matters most to you. Please visit our health advocate page for more detailed information.


6. How does it all work?


At Hakim Health Partners, we form a personal relationship with you. We start with a one-on-one meeting where we talk about you and your needs. We gather all your medical information, review your medical history, and listen to your concerns. Based on all of this information, we’ll determine the priorities and make an action plan for your needs.


Once we have that roadmap in place, we’ll go with you to your doctor and specialist appointments. We’ll be there to ensure your concerns are heard by your healthcare team. We’ll make sure that you understand what your doctors are saying – and that they understand what other specialists are doing to treat your condition. We also provide follow-up between your appointments to make sure you’re following directions in order to maximize treatment outcomes.


For us, it’s all about personal communication. We view our relationship with you as a partnership. We won’t make a decision for you. What we will do is help you come to your own decision about what’s best for you and your family.


7. How do we communicate? How do children of elderly parents stay in the loop?


For adult children who hire us to keep an eye on their Lehigh Valley- or Philadelphia-based parents and be an advocate for them, we stay in touch with you via email or text – whichever you prefer. It’s important to us that you know exactly what your parents are experiencing.


We’ll communicate with you whenever we have contact with your parents. Whether it’s just checking in on them to ensure caregivers are providing what they are contracted to do, or going with your parents to doctor’s appointments, we follow-up with you to communicate what was said or done, their treatment needs, and treatment plans.


8. Is there a contract?


Yes, but you can stop service at any time. There is no long-term commitment. We’re available for you as long as you need us.


9. What are your fees?


HHP charges a monthly fee for 30 minutes of on-call time. We charge an hourly rate for any additional work we do on your behalf. This work could include research, going to appointments, picking up medical records, talking to doctors, setting up appointments, home visits, etc.


10. Why choose Hakim Health Partners?

If you’re frustrated with the medical system and feel as though things are out of control, or you just don’t understand what your doctor is telling you, give us call. We’re MDs who believe you should clearly understand your best treatment options – and you shouldn’t feel stressed out about your health. We’re here to help and provide assurance that someone is on your side.


We’re friendly and approachable. We’re honest and straightforward. We’re also pretty easy-going - but no less serious about your best health options. If you find our relationship is not working – we stop. HHP should be a comfort and a resource for you to turn to.


If you don’t like non-confrontational honesty, we probably aren’t a great fit.


We are members of the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates, the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy, Greater National Advocates, and Lehigh Valley Aging in Place.


11. When should I call you?


  • If you’re confused about your medical condition and need help, call us.

  • If you’re having a health crisis and you don’t know what to do, call us.

  • If you need someone to help you keep on top of your health, call us.

  • If you’re taking care of your parents and need a break, call us.


12. Are you available to help people outside the Lehigh Valley?


Yes! We currently have clients all over the country. The miracle of modern technology lets us help you in a variety of ways even if you live outside the Lehigh Valley area. We can work with you and your doctors via phone or video conference no matter where in the world you are.


13. How do I hire a patient advocate?


A great resource for learning how to hire a patient is The AdvoConnection Directory. You can find Dr. Melissa Hakim's page here.

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