Elderly couple planning

The Immediate Advocacy process can be especially helpful during times of crisis, such as the current situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Through this process, KEPRO serves as an advocate for those people who have Medicare to access needed health care.

Immediate Advocacy is a process used to take care of verbal complaints quickly that a person may have about the quality of health care she or he has received. The process involves KEPRO, as a Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO), contacting the Medicare patient’s practitioner and/or provider, usually by telephone. The process is totally voluntary for both patient and provider (e.g., hospital, skilled nursing facilities) or practitioner (e.g., doctor). Read more about Immediate Advocacy.

During the current situation with COVID-19, people who are on Medicare and their families have been calling KEPRO with various issues such as prescription refill concerns, discharge questions, and concerns about communication with health care providers (e.g., hospitals, skilled nursing facilities).

Let’s take a look at an example to see how the Immediate Advocacy process works.

A Medicare patient’s husband called KEPRO with concerns about his wife who was in the hospital. Since he spoke Spanish, an interpreter was involved. He told KEPRO that before his wife was in the hospital, they had a friend over who tested positive for COVID-19. His wife then became sick. She had a fever, diarrhea and didn’t feel like eating. She was taken to the emergency room where she was tested, intubated and admitted to the intensive care unit.

The patient’s husband was very upset over what was happening to his wife. He was having a hard time getting information from the hospital staff about his wife. He called KEPRO to assist him to get regular updates on her condition.

KEPRO’s social worker talked with the Chief Nursing Officer from the hospital about the patient and how the husband was not able to get any updates about his wife’s condition from hospital staff. The hospital said that staff do attempt to contact family one or two times each shift. However, the hospital staff are spending most of their time taking care of patients during this crisis. She stated that she would take the husband’s concerns to the Director of Nursing and would have someone contact him regarding a resolution. The husband did get a call from the hospital saying that they had put a plan in place to make sure that he will get a daily update about his wife’s condition.

“Thank you for your help, KEPRO. You were able to get the information I couldn’t get. I feel so much better knowing what’s happening with my wife.”

If you are on Medicare and are not happy with the care you received or if you need help working through an issue that needs to be taken care of right away, call KEPRO and ask about Immediate Advocacy. In North Dakota or South Dakota, call 216/447-9604 or 888/317-0891 (toll-free).

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KEPRO is the Beneficiary and Family Centered Care QIO (BFCC-QIO) for 29 states, including North Dakota and South Dakota. KEPRO offers information regarding beneficiary complaints, hospital discharge and skilled service termination appeals and Immediate Advocacy. Learn more.