A Tutor Who Tooted the Flute…

In a conversation with a friend the other day, I was explaining the need for patient advocates (which she got immediately) – and the “tutor tongue-twister” came to mind.  Do you know it?

A tutor who tooted the flute,

Tried to tutor two tooters to toot,

Said the two to the tutor, “It’s tougher to toot, than to tutor two tooters to toot!”

Now – you may wonder what tooting tutors have to do with patient advocacy.  And yes, I’m going to tell you….

When I explain the role and benefits of having a private patient advocate help you when you’re sick (or a loved one is sick), sometimes people don’t understand why they would want to reach into their pockets to pay for someone to help them get the healthcare they deserve.  After all – healthcare has always been free, right?  (Well – free PLUS the cost of premiums PLUS the cost of co-pays PLUS the cost of services not covered, etc….  )

So – my new metaphor is that of a tutor.  If your child is struggling to pass trigonometry, and you know his ability to go to the college he wants to go to (or you want him to go to!) is dependent on whether he will pass trig, then you have the sense that it’s not just about trig – it’s about the quality of the rest of his life.

He goes to public school, which is free, just as healthcare is free. (We pay for schools in our taxes like we, or our employers, pay for healthcare with our policies.)

He has stayed after school for extra help (still doesn’t get it), your sister-in-law the math teacher can’t seem to help him (like many hospital advocates or websites might provide some help), he won’t let you help (caregivers find it so difficult to manage their loved one’s healthcare) – but he still doesn’t understand trigonometry.

So now what?  With his future so dependent on getting past this one, very difficult hurdle…. what are you supposed to do?

You hire a private tutor.  Someone who can work one-on-one with him. Someone who knows some of the inside information needed to get him past the final exam.  Someone whose sole purpose is to make sure your son passes trig – because if his work with your son is successful, then his tutoring business will continue to grow, too…

Someone who will make sure your son has the quality future he deserves, despite the fact that the “system” (meaning, in this case, the school system) just isn’t providing the way your son needs it.  And for that, you will happily pay from your pocket – because it’s that important.

Which is exactly what a private advocate does – provides you or a loved one with the quality future you deserve, making sure you get what you need from a system that is too dysfunctional to provide it.  A private patient advocate is only interested in making sure YOUR interface with the system works well, that you get exactly what you need, whether what you need is the right diagnosis, the right tests, the right treatment – or even medical bills that are no more than they should be, or must be.

… A patient or health advocate will help you navigate the health care system to get the quality future you deserve, despite the fact that the “system” (meaning, in this care, the healthcare system) just doesn’t provide you with the real help you need.

And more…. there are dozens of ways a patient advocate can assist you.

This week is Private Professional Patient Advocate’s Week.  Whether or not you are struggling with your medical care, you will benefit from having a private health or patient advocate to lean on, and to bring you through it.

…making sure you get the quality and quantity of future you or your loved one deserves.

(Now – say that three times fast!)


Find a Patient Advocate to Help You

How to Interview and Choose a Patient Advocate

Why a Private Patient Advocate May Be the Answer for You


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Trisha Torrey
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