May 27, 2022

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Patient advocates care about you and your health care

Every employee at VHA, especially your health care team, aims to provide the best care possible. However, if you have concerns about your care, VHA’s dedicated team of patient advocates can help.

At VA, we believe that patient advocacy is everyone’s responsibility, and we want your feedback, including compliments, concerns, complaints and customer service-related issues. Sharing your concerns not only improves your care but also the care for the next Veteran, too.

Our patient advocates act as guiding lights for patients through the complex health care system, mediating between patients and the health care team. Many are Veterans who understand, respect and lend impartial care.

Your local patient advocate office provides a wide range of customer service capabilities to improve Veteran health care delivery.

We encourage you to share feedback on your health care experience as we strive to make every patient encounter positive.

Identifying care issues

Patient advocates provide a compassionate listening ear to identify problems within your care. They interview patients, asking the right questions to determine where issues lie. Patient advocates listen to patient experiences and pinpoint unmet health care needs, then work with the patient’s health care team to make the necessary changes to address those needs.

Discussing treatment options

If you have an issue with your care, patient advocates can help you engage with your health care team to determine a possible treatment plan or walk you through the process to request a clinical appeal.

They make sure all forms of treatment and medical plans have been explored and coordinated with the patient and health care team to ensure the best care possible is being administered in a timely manner.

Directing patient concerns

Patient advocates act as mediators between patients and health care teams. They carefully listen to your concerns and work to facilitate resolutions, pointing you in the right direction and accompanying you every step of the way.

Making referrals

Patient advocates help you navigate the complicated health care system by directly connecting you to providers offering the best care. Patient advocates focus their efforts on the type of care being given to provide the correct referrals for the correct problems.

Assisting with billing issues

Patient advocates stay informed and updated on the latest protocols as this can be challenging for patients to navigate alone. Patient advocates facilitate billing resolutions. They also present your concerns to the appropriate personnel to address the issue.

Volunteering their time

Many patient advocates volunteer their time on weekends to continue helping their Veteran patients. They are fully dedicated to providing the best care to Veterans. They work out of office hours continuing to provide care, such as volunteering with COVID-19 clinics and for Veterans’ causes in the local community.

Conducting quality control

Patient advocates make their rounds throughout the medical facilities to ensure care extends beyond the examination room or bedside. They provide round-the-clock support, checking in with patients and health care professionals.

Providing the best care possible is the driving force behind VA Patient Advocacy. Patient advocates aspire to be helpful, compassionate and empathetic through your individual patient challenges.

Help VA continue providing excellent customer service by sharing your feedback and learning more about your rights: https://www.va.gov/health/patientadvocate/.


Ron Hamner is the national program manager for policy for the VHA Office of Patient Advocacy.