9 Guidelines for Productive Relationships with Insurance Companies, Hospitals, Schools, and Government Agencies
By Linda Cole
- Try to work with the doctors, nurses, therapists, teachers, social workers and case managers with a “team” type of mentality– use “we” instead of “you” or “I.” Offer to help whenever possible. Be polite and positive.
- Listen carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions or for clarification when you don’t understand something.
- Take notes during all your phone interviews and meetings. You will then be able to reference important names, phone numbers and dates at a later time.
- If possible, use email when communicating, in person is not practical. Copy yourself. This allows you to keep a “paper” trail. Email is also a good tool for summarizing a meeting, listing action steps and noting who is responsible for doing what and when. The “Reply to All” option is an excellent way to keep a team informed and up to date.
- Be persistent. Follow up regularly to ensure your case is moving forward. If, as is sometimes the case, by the 3rd call you still have not gotten an answer, start counting. “Hello, this is my 3rd call, and I’m sure you must be busy but…” This technique works great as a gentle reminder and often gets results.
- Be appreciative of the efforts these people make on your behalf. They are often over-worked and underpaid. Thank them regularly.
- Try to be as actively involved as you can in your loved one’s therapy and patient care.
- Look for any ways you can break up the routine or incorporate fun into these tasks – everyone’s morale can suffer from boredom and can benefit from a change in routine, no matter how small.
- Regularly ask the advice of hospital and school personnel – your loved one will benefit greatly if you can tap into the experience and knowledge they have to offer.