Q. Who will I be working with at Healthassist?
A: On a case by case basis, our clients are paired with one of two professionals for the duration of their work with Healthassist:
Dianne Savastano, Healthassist founder, has a B.S. in Nursing, an MBA, and is a 25-year veteran of healthcare services, both in direct patient care, hospital management and in insurance and managed care administration.
Anne Jacoby has a B.S., M.S. and PhD in Nursing and is certified as a cardiovascular nurse specialist. Her professional career spans working with attorneys as a legal nurse consultant, as an educator and administrator in a variety of academic settings, as a supervisor of home healthcare teams, and as a nurse clinician with patients in the critical care unit.
Q. What types of issues and questions can I discuss with Healthassist?
A. Our clients use our services in different ways, depending on their needs. For example, we can help when…
- You’re facing a complicated healthcare issue or crisis.
- You’re caring for an aging parent (especially if you live in another state).
- You are managing healthcare issues on your own, with no family to help.
- You (or a loved one) require care from multiple specialists.
- You’re confused about Medicare or other health insurance-related issues.
- You (or a loved one) are transitioning from home to hospital, hospital to rehab, or rehab to home-based services.
And many more. Our work is customized, one-on-one, and focused on your particular situation and needs.
Q. Does Healthassist provide medical advice?
A. No. We do not recommend treatment and we are not a substitute for your relationship with your doctor or insurer. Rather, Healthassist complements those services by providing personal attention, problem-solving, coaching and facilitation of your interactions with all members of your healthcare team. Our focus is on helping you overcome administrative barriers, thereby reducing frustration and ensuring that you receive excellent and timely care.
Q. Can Healthassist help transition my family member from the hospital to a rehabilitation facility?
A. Yes. We can help take the worry and frustration out of this process in a number of ways.
First, we begin the process of planning for a transition at the point of admission, anticipating your loved one’s needs, and beginning to identify appropriate resources. Among other things, this includes helping you understand the role of the inpatient case manager/discharge planner assigned to your loved one’s case as well as guiding you in how best to work with that individual to identify appropriate options for rehabilitation and post-hospitalization.
We will also identify criteria by which you can evaluate appropriate facilities as well as accompany you on site visits. This will allow you to have confidence in the care your loved one will receive.
Next, and once a transfer plan is established, Healthassist will ensure that all medical information surrounding your loved one’s hospital stay is accurately relayed to the new team. We’ll help you introduce yourself to the new team of providers – including physicians, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, speech therapists, and any other personnel involved in your loved one’s care – and assist you with arranging for care planning meetings with the team.
Finally, once your loved one begins receiving care, we will monitor the team’s goal-setting and the progress made towards achieving those goals. We will then assist with setting up home-based services, such as physical therapy, home nursing and more, as needed.
(For a specific example of how we’ve facilitated this transition in the past, click here to read this brief case study. LINK)
Q: Will you accompany me (or a loved one) on visits to doctors and medical facilities?
A. Yes, in fact we highly recommend this. During these visits, we act as a second set of eyes and ears, taking detailed notes along the way, so that you can focus your attention on being an effective listener and participating fully. Along the way, we may summarize what’s been said, ask clarifying questions, or raise issues/concerns you might not have considered. We pay close attention to the dynamics present during visits and jump in as needed if you seem perplexed or unsure.
In addition, and because we work with you to prepare an agenda prior to each visit, we monitor this agenda to make sure all topics are covered and all questions are addressed.
Q: Once I become a Healthassist client, how do we communicate (phone, email, letter, etc.)?
A. It depends on you and your personal preferences. In most cases, we begin with an initial in-person meeting and then rely heavily on phone and email. From there, we use paper mail and schedule additional in-person meetings too, as needed. Following each meeting or visit with a medical professional, we debrief together and generally provide a written summary.
In addition, and again, on an as needed basis, we set up and facilitate family meetings and conference calls. And because many of our clients have children, siblings and other loved ones spread out in several locations, we are very experienced in setting up mutually convenient conference calls across multiple time zones!
In short, we do whatever works best to ensure that you and your family members stay informed and up-to-date regarding your health.
Q: How does Healthassist bill for its services?
A. In most cases, we bill hourly for our work. In some instances, and depending on our involvement, we may establish a flat project fee or ongoing retainer instead.
However we work with you, we do not require the signing of a long-term agreement. Our clients have the option of stopping work with us at any time.
Q: How do I give Healthassist authorization to speak with my medical providers and insurers?
A. At the start of our work together, we will ask you to sign a one-page medical release of information form. This allows us to access your healthcare information and speak with your doctors, insurance providers, Medicare representatives and others on your behalf. This form follows industry standards and is well known and readily accepted by any medical facility or organization. Of course, you can withdraw this authorization, as you wish, at any time.
Q: Does Healthassist work with non-Massachusetts clients?
A. Yes. Much of our work requires our physical presence (doctors’ visits, for example) and in those cases, we travel as needed. For many client needs, however, face-to-face contact is not required and the phone and email work perfectly fine.