Having served as a volunteer and untrained case manager for my parents’ health issues for many years, I learned much being thrown into the fire of the complexities of modern medicine. Most caregivers do end up in the management role, often with great frustration, but there is more help available for that role than many realize.
Professionals trained in case management can be hired to pull all the resources available together, making the most of the medical community you or your loved one can access.The catch is that most are not covered by insurance.That happened to be one of my soapbox issues offered to the recent meeting with Hallie Hurst who feeds such issues back to Washington.
Using resources efficiently should be of interest to all - and worth the investment. I have no doubt the savings of streamlining resources would more than cover the cost and thus should be included in Medicare and other insurance benefits, saving all money and time. Hopefully, this will happen, but in the meantime, such services should not be immediately discounted due to cost. Some medical practices have even started absorbing the cost of having an on-staff case manager to help their patients, so be sure to ask your doctor if s/he offers that assistance.
Geriatric Case Managers may offer a free consultation if you are considering using their services.The majority of GCMs, often certified in their field, do not have access to billing options that insurance might cover.
Whether or not there is an insurance company to be billed, it is wise to at least look into such a service. The National Association of Geriatric Case Managers helps link provides to clients. A recent ARTICLE by Reuters News agency highlights times when case management can be helpful. Consider the fact that geriatric case managers work with many clients and are local.That means that the longer they are in business and the more professional affiliations they have, the more resources they know about and can access for you.hey also know the right person to call within each office and which forms need to be filled out for what service. With the wealth of programs and resources available (they ARE out there!) it helps to have someone on your side who already knows what’s available and what’s worth your time pursuing. Consider the value of the time you’d have to take off work to handle all the issues that come up while starting from ground zero and trying to catch up.
The Distance Factor
Now consider the plight of long distance caregivers. Mom and Dad live hours or states away but you want to help. Deteriorating health or sudden illness has made it clear that they need assistance, but you have a full life no where near them and have no knowledge of their community resources.If they cannot afford case management services for themselves providing it may be one way you can help.
Case managers help prevent individuals from racking up “frequent flyer” points with hospitals.Industry professionals actually used that term to describe patients that repeatedly return to the hospital, usually through the emergency department, because their care is not managed and they are not able to do it for themselves.If an outside party can intervene and organize multiple types of care to address complicated health issues, there is a reduction in avoidable hospital visits.This means savings for the medical and insurance communities, a huge stress savings for patients and families, and better overall care and well being for the patient.
A note of caution: Realize that pricing for Geriatric Case Management services vary greatly by location and the types of services offered/needed.Try not to discount the idea by hearing of a base rate of $80 or more per hour, which you’ll find if you do a generic online search. Dig for what you can find in your (parents’) community and ask if they offer a free initial consultation. At the very least, you find a service you don’t need now, but might need in the future.You’ve done the legwork ahead of time and can prepare! At the most, you’ve found the answer for ensuring your loved one’s quality of life despite medical conditions you can’t cure.