Advisors, intern team up to help patients understand Medicare

By Emily Hoffman, Turner Geriatric Clinic MSW Intern

Emily Hoffman

Emily Hoffman

In recent months, I have had the pleasure of working alongside PFCC advisors serving on the Turner Geriatric Patient Family Staff Advisory Council (PFSAC). One of the issues the patient advisors wanted to address was helping other patients better understand Medicare. We had several discussions about Medicare, which is becoming increasingly confusing. It’s often very difficult for patients to understand their own policies.

The patient advisors serving on the committee expressed specific concerns regarding the difference between being admitted into inpatient care and being put on observational status. This issue is an important one to our older patients because many have experienced thinking that they were admitted to inpatient status but were only held on observational status, resulting in only being partially covered by Medicare Part B.

To help raise awareness, the advisors and I created two educational flyers: one to help start the conversation of “What does my Medicare plan cover?” and another to briefly explain observational status and that a patient can be in the hospital without being in the hospital.

While having educational materials available for patients in our waiting areas is important, our advisors challenged us to take it one step further. We are hoping to partner with the Turner Senior Wellness Program to set up a brief workshop with one of our staff members to help explain the “ins and outs” of admission statuses.

This project has been amazing example of our patient advisory board hard at work making sure that patients’ needs are being heard and the communication between patients and providers strengthened.

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