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Advanced Patient Advocacy: Removing Barriers to Affordable Healthcare

Wendy Bennett, President & Principal, Advanced Patient AdvocacyWendy Bennett, President & Principal, Advanced Patient Advocacy
Ever since the Affordable Care Act was introduced, health insurance has become more affordable and accessible to those with little or no coverage. However, millions of individuals remain uninsured which impacts the efficiency and overall success of hospitals and leads to bad debts and reduced pay per person per procedure. In addition, the dynamic nature of federal and state reimbursements has placed pressure on the hospitals’ profitability. Consequently, healthcare providers require partners to address the lack of health coverage for vulnerable populations without adding to their overhead. In such a scenario, providers are searching for solutions that align with their particular patient mix which can address a patients’ social and economic status to find the right coverage plan for them.

With a mission to remove barriers to affordable healthcare for uninsured or underinsured individuals, Advanced Patient Advocacy (APA) works directly with healthcare providers and their patient population to find the optimal insurance solutions. “We are a patient-centric organization which is why we don’t limit ourselves to enrolling the patient at a one-time medical event but work with healthcare organizations to treat the patient more holistically,” says Wendy Bennett, President and Principal of APA.

At the onset, APA assesses the needs of the client as each hospital brings unique business challenges associated with their patient mix to apply the right model. The company then develops an implementation plan including technology integration, customer education and onsite staffing requirements. APA’s enrollment advocates work as an extension of the hospital’s staff to educate patients to all available coverage options. Advocates use APA’s integrated 20/20® platform that encompasses various solutions including screening, automated workflow protocols, and decision support management, to provide higher quality and greater efficiency to the advocates in the decision-making process.

We are a patient-centric organization which is why we don’t limit ourselves to enrolling the patient at one medical event but work with healthcare organizations every day to treat the patient holistically

APA’s Smart Screen® tool enables the advocate to walk through a series of questions to find the most suitable coverage opportunities for patients. “But technology is only part of the answer. For APA to remove barriers that will result in a better patient experience, we go to great lengths to ensure our advocates provide patient education in a manner that is sensitive to language, linguistics, education and cultural differences. This always results in a better outcome for the patient and our customer.” Wendy said.

APA has successfully garnered a strong client roster over the years through its robust solution portfolio and expertise in advocacy solutions. In one instance, a healthcare system with increasing bad debts and a growing self-pay population approached APA to improve their financial performance and return them to DSH status. The client was using a primary vendor to provide coverage to their uninsured patients. Within the first six months of implementation, APA increased the number of Inpatients receiving medical assistance by 10 basis points. After a year, 3 of the 5 hospitals were DSH eligible. “We dramatically impacted the financial outcomes of the hospital by streamlining the decision-making process allowing our advocates to screen more patients with better technology,” says Wendy. She further believes that the key is finding the right intersection between a people solution and a technology solution—that is what APA excels at. By equipping healthcare advocates with the right technology, the company is helping healthcare organizations realize optimal benefits.

Marching ahead, APA will continue to advocate for better accessibility for vulnerable patient populations and intends to continue to be fully committed to approach each patient and customer with solutions that meet their individual and unique needs. Investment in innovation and technology in the areas of accessibility, efficiency, quality and cost will continue to be APA guideposts.