Advocacy firm helps patients navigate health care systemWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Chisholm and Melinda Ciesielczyk created Compass Care Management in response to what they see as an increasing need for professional assistance among people navigating through a health care system that continues to get more complex.
“Health care is getting too big and complicated for many people to understand,” said Chisholm, president and CEO of the new patient advocacy firm that began operations April 1 in Oregon.
“People have a desire to be more informed but can’t always make objective nonemotional decisions when facing a medical crisis or condition. They need someone to look out for their best interests and we focus on our clients to assure them we have their best interests in mind. If you can remove all of the stress from a patient’s world, they’re going to heal a lot faster.”
Chisholm said people should realize that health care is changing, with a shift toward more money being spent by individuals for medical care and treatment.
“We’re here to see that they get it done in the most cost-effective way,” he said.
Compass Care Management offers a 10-minute telephone consultation at no cost to determine if it can help a patient. Next, the staff will conduct a formal needs assessment in person to identify the medical issues and set up a plan of action, Chisholm said.
“We will escort patients to medical appointments, help families understand the conditions and options for each patient, and coordinate all of the arrangements for medical care or treatments,” Chisholm said.
Patient advocacy services are not usually covered by health insurance and require private payment as one would pay an accountant or attorney. However, costs for such services can be reimbursed through health savings or flexible spending accounts, said Ciesielczyk, vice president and chief operating officer for the company.
The cost for patient advocacy ranges nationally from $30 to $300 per hour for services ranging from minimal involvement to bedside advocates, Chisholm said.
“We’ll have access to the highest quality information available from professionals in the field and health system databases that doctors use,” he said.
With the ability to access limited and often erroneous information via the Internet, self-diagnosis can be dangerous, Ciesielczyk said. As patient advocates, Compass Care will provide clients with the most accurate and current information, helping them to make well-informed, “best-practice decisions,” she said.
Chisholm emphasized the company will work with, not against, health care providers to the mutual end of better quality and more efficient health care delivery, improved patient compliance and understanding and, ultimately, better outcomes.
Registered nurses will serve as actual patient advocates for Compass Care, Ciesielczyk said. Dr. Norman Zavela will serve as chief medical officer and Anthony Carollo as chief financial officer of the firm.
Chisholm has 35 years of experience in health care as a registered nurse and orthopedic physician’s assistant. Ciesielczyk has 25 years of experience working in health insurance, dealing with traditional plans, consumer-driven programs and health care reform.
Chisholm writes a regular column, “No Bones About It,” about orthopedic medical issues for The Metro Press published by Press Publications in Millbury.
Chisholm and Ciesielczyk plan to get the message out about their firm’s services by attending business expos and health fairs.
“We plan to get involved in community education projects to go with our marketing efforts and new website,” Chisholm said.