Becoming a patient advocate at Health Centers 3 and 4 has shown me so much in more ways than one. My role, essentially, is to advocate to companies for patients that are uninsured so they can receive medications at little or no cost to them. We have many medications that are available to patients through our program that patients can receive through us.
When a patient comes to my office, they usually are there for one of the two things: pick up medication, or fill out forms. New patients will bring a prescription in which I work to find the medication in our program. I will have them and the doctor fill out the application, and fax it off to the company in which I would follow up to ensure the patient's approval. Because of the multi-step process, time is of the essence.
I remember a time specifically when it was my first couple of weeks in the office. I was in the midst of getting everything organized and in order. I had a patient come in asking to pick up their medication. Although, I did not have their medication and I could not find them in the refill system or their file. I quickly looked up the company that supplied the medication they were looking for and it turned out they were in the company's system. Although, they
were in need of a new prescription. I got into contact with the physician and was able to expedite shipping so the patient could receive their medication as quickly as possible.
The next few days later the medication had arrived and the patient was able to pick it up! They expressed how thankful they were that I was able to get it to them fast, as they were running out quickly. It was at that moment I realized, in my first couple weeks serving, how important and real this was. As time went on, I found more little challenges that came into place with all the little steps in the process when getting patients their medications. I found each challenge that was overcome more rewarding, as I was able to become that bridge. These were people’s treatments that helped keep them going in their day to day. Being the bridge that is able to give them what they need is something I found so rewarding in my day to day. I sought out to bring that reminder into my daily service.
Image Description One: File holder for medications waiting to be picked up
Image Description Two: to-do list for daily, weekly, monthly tasks
This blog was written by Novi Dosanj who is serving as a Patient Navigator with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Health Center 3 and 4.