My “real job” consists of me managing people’s healthcare. I talk to them, their insurance companies, their doctors, so the guesswork is taken out of it for them. I’m their point of contact and it makes life easier.
Boy I wish I had a me right now for myself.
Recently I incurred an injury. Nt just a little injury, a major one. However, I’m still working and have been since it happened. Navigating the healthcare system has been a nightmare, and not having the “insider” knowledge I have, my situation could have been much worse.
In saying that, there are things you can do for yourself, your family members, parents, neighbors, and children to make any injuries or illnesses go more smoothly.
-Have important information in one place. Vaccination records; pertinent diagnostics; surgical, personal, social, medical history; medication lists. These are all documents and information every doctors office, ER, specialist, or therapist will ask from you. Have it ready.
-Have all insurances and supplemental policies handy. Keep these in your file you’re starting with all your past medical histories.
-Know what steps will be taken in your care. You can easily look up online MGD guidelines (insurance) and ODG guidelines (workers comp) to have some idea of the course of treatment you will have with a particular injury or illness.
-Get information from your employer such as FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) eligibility and numbers to file claims with short term disability if you’ll be off work for an extended period of time. Make sure you educate yourself on the FMLA laws.
-If you have a work related injury, make sure you report it in a timely manner to your employer.
-Ask your doctor plenty of questions! No question is a stupid question. They are the experts. If you don’t know what to ask, google questions to ask your doctor. Talk to a friend or family member who may work in healthcare.
-Never hesitate to call your doctor office and talk to a nurse with questions.
-Take web M with a grain of salt. Once upon a time I worked in the ER. When people told me they webMD’d their symptoms, I would cringe. (Disclaimer, I am NOT a physician, nor have I played one on TV.)
Ask questions as educate yourself! Knowledge is power. Know your resources. There are always resources in your community to get assistance if needed, but you cannot find them if you do not ask. Call your health department, social worker at the hospitals, case managers at your doctor office, home health agencies. Somewhere you can unearth someone who may have something you need.
Be your own patient advocate.
As far as my injury- I have learned a few things along the way that could have saved me a few dollars in copay, since my insurance isn’t the greatest (yay for employers who don’t purchase premium Plans for their employees! Sarc.) Lesson learned that doing your research pays off.