Dr. Best is a retired pediatrician with expertise in public and environmental health, clinical decision making, and epidemiology. After graduating from Yale with a degree in chemistry, Dr. Best went to medical school at the University of Virginia. She did her residency in pediatrics at the University of Vermont, then was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Fellowship at the University of North Carolina. During her career as a pediatrician, Dr. Best worked on children’s health issues ranging from preventing addiction and secondhand smoke exposure, to advocating for the health of children and families living in Washington, DC during the lead-in- water crisis in 2001-2004. In her role as a public health advocate, Dr. Best testified before the U.S. Congress three times.
Dr. Best became a patient advocate when her father was misdiagnosed with carcinoma of unknown primary (“CUP”), a terrible diagnosis for which there is no effective treatment. Despite the lack of evidence supporting chemotherapy and radiation treatment, her father received both, suffering the side effects associated with the treatments. Fortunately, a colleague of Dr. Best’s offered to take a look at her father’s case, and that encounter led to a new diagnosis of chordoma, a more treatable cancer with a much longer life expectancy. Unfortunately, the side effects of the treatment her father had received prior to being correctly diagnosed contributed to an infection, which ultimately led to her father’s death in 2006. Her father died at home under hospice care. Through this experience, as well as through the experiences of her patients, Dr. Best learned first-hand the frustrations and challenges of caring for a family member trapped in the medical system.
Dr. Best is a member of The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates, a patient advocacy and care management professional organization in the United States, Canada, and worldwide, and the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants, which is dedicated to empowering advocates and consumers to navigate the healthcare system.
Principles of Best Patient Advocacy
Dr. Best adheres to the Code of Ethics for the Healthcare Advocacy profession and maintains the following principles:
Autonomy. Best Patient Advocacy will support the independence, freedom of will, and actions of each client.
Respect. Best Patient Advocacy will respect the values and perspectives of the client, his or her family, and all members of the client’s care team.
Responsible stewardship. Best Patient Advocacy will responsibly manage time, money, and resources.
Clear Communication. Best Patient Advocacy will clearly communicate with the client, the client’s family and the care team, always as directed by the client.
Confidentiality. Best Patient Advocacy will protect all personal and health information, maintain secured files, and share information only when directed by the client.
What is Patient Advocacy?
What is Patient Advocacy?
According to the National Patient Safety Foundation, an advocate is a “supporter, believer, sponsor, promoter, campaigner, backer, or spokesperson.” The professional patient advocate is someone who can objectively assist patients and their families in understanding and making sense of healthcare, diagnoses, treatment decisions, and other issues related to health and disease. An effective advocate is someone you trust who is willing to act on your behalf as well as someone who can work well with other members of your healthcare team such as your doctors and nurses. These characteristics are important considerations when selecting an advocate.
Patients and families dealing with many different kinds of medical issues may benefit from the services of an independent patient advocate. Some examples include the patient or family who:
I offer a complimentary 15-minute introductory phone consultation. During that phone call, we will briefly discuss your needs and our services. The primary goal of the phone call is to determine if Best Patient Advocacy can help you achieve your goals.
If we agree that I can help you, the next step is an intake evaluation, a meeting that typically last 1-2 hours. During that meeting you and I will discuss your needs in greater detail and I will outline the services I might provide to help you achieve your goals. If I will be working closely with family members, I would like to meet those people at this meeting, if possible. Following the meeting a written plan that addresses each of your goals and a plan to achieve those goals will be prepared.
Depending on your situation, some of the subjects that will be covered in the plan include detailed reviews of your:
This plan will serve as the guideline for services and achievement of goals. The plan may be revised and extended if your needs and goals change. Throughout our relationship, I will be in close contact with you, and my highest priority will be clear communication with you, your family (as directed by you), and your health care team.
Maryland, Northern Virginia, District of Columbia, and nationwide
Review of Clients Needs and Establishment of Goals
Research and Translation of Medical Language
Health Care Liaison
Mental Health or Substance Abuse
About Patient Advocates and the Role of Patient Advocates
Why It’s Wise to Use a Health Advocate, by Carolyn Clancy, MD
What is a Patient Advocate? The Assertive Patient
Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF)
Patient Advocacy in Patient Safety: Have Things Changed? By Helen Haskell, MA
https://psnet.ahrq.gov/perspectives/perspective/160/patient-advocacy- in-patient-safety-have- things-changed
Parents Often Catch Hospital Errors Doctors Missed. By Lisa Rapaport
Help with Medications
Needy Meds – help with discounted prescriptions
Patient Assistance – Helps patients get their medications
TogetherRxAccess – help for patients without prescription drug coverage
Medication Discount Card – prescription discount cards for specific medications purchased at major pharmacies
Help for Seniors
Maryland Department of Aging – Information on how to obtain services and benefits for persons age 60 and older
Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program – Offers one-on- one counseling and assistance to people with Medicare
District of Columbia Office on Aging – for all senior service inquiries
Virginia Department for the Aging - Information, counseling, and referral on aging and long-term care issues for older Virginians
Eldercare Locator – A nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with information on senior services
Help for Families of Children with Chronic Illness or Disability
HealthyChildren.Org – Resources from the American Academy of Pediatrics
KidsHealth – Information about diseases and disabilities
The Empowered Patient Coalition http://empoweredpatientcoalition.org/ and its sister org, Engaged Patients http://engagedpatients.org/ - I highly recommend this site for patients and families facing surgery, treatments for cancer, chronic diseases, and other serious illnesses.
Health Care Rights Initiative http://hcri.org/about/