Published on April 14, 2014

Patient Advocate – Helping Surgery Patients Navigate the Insurance Maze

PELLA, Iowa – The rules of insurance are always changing and are frequently challenging for patients to understand. At Pella Regional Health Center, new positions have been added to help patient be informed and understand the financial impact of surgical procedures at the hospital. Twila Haverly was the first to move into the role of patient advocate.

Twila Haverly“I’m here to provide a message of compassion for patients as they navigate the health insurance maze for the care they’re receiving,” said Haverly. “At Pella Regional, we want to be sure that patients are receiving both good medical AND good financial information.”

Currently patients who are scheduled for surgery are also scheduled to meet with a patient advocate who will help them review their insurance. In addition to Haverly, Kelli Kramer moved in to a patient advocate role in March. Surgery was the first service to utilize the patient advocate program because of the significant financial impact surgery can have on patients.

“Patients who receive care in hospital outpatient settings as well as in inpatient care can trigger high deductible and out-of-pocket expenses,” said Haverly. “Many people aren’t aware of the details of their insurance, but with new technology at Pella Regional, we can help patients estimate their actual cost of surgery before they receive the service. Of course, urgent and emergency surgeries still happen and lead to unexpected expenses, but for every scheduled surgical procedure, we can help patients plan for the financial impact.”

In addition, patient advocates also help direct uninsured patients toward potential funding sources for vital surgical procedures. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify, and social workers are also on staff at Pella Regional to provide help.

Kelli Kramer“It’s about taking care of our patients in many ways,” said Haverly. “We understand that individual health expenses are increasing for everyone, and we want to help patients understand their individual situation before their procedure.”

Haverly is not new to Pella Regional Health Center. Over the years, she has worked in a variety of positions including the surgery clinic, health information management, case management and completed HIPAA (privacy) training. Kramer previously worked in Rehabilitation for nine years.

If you have questions about insurance funding for your surgical procedure at Pella Regional Health Center, contact a patient advocate at 641-628-6706 or by e-mail at