At the 2018 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Conference, the Beneficiary and Family Centered Care National Coordinating Center (BFCC-NCC) and the two BFCC Quality Improvement Organizations (BFCC-QIOs) shared highlights from Person and Family Engagement projects. The conference's Gallery Walk included a poster describing Immediate Advocacy, a free service for people with Medicare.
Immediate Advocacy is a service provided to people with Medicare by the two BFCC-QIOs —KEPRO and Livanta — which serve all 50 states and three territories. It is a process used to quickly resolve verbal complaints quickly that a person with Medicare may have about the quality of Medicare-covered health care she or he has received, or services that accompany medical care.
The process involves the BFCC-QIO directly contacting the Medicare patient’s practitioner and/or provider, usually by telephone. The process is totally voluntary for both the Medicare patient and the provider or practitioner.
How does the Immediate Advocacy process actually work? Following are two examples of Immediate Advocacy in action:
A Medicare patient was unable to get the medical supplies she needed. She had placed repeated phone calls to her provider and anyone else whom she thought might help, but either no one answered the phone, or the voicemail box was full. She was on the verge of running out of catheter supplies. Upon placing a call to her BFCC-QIO, Livanta’s Immediate Advocacy team got to work right away. Within just a few hours, a new prescription was issued, and the patient was able to pick up her supplies that day.
The husband of a Medicare beneficiary had concerns about his wife’s condition. She was in a long-term acute care facility. She had abdominal swelling, and he was not receiving information about her treatment plan. He called his state BFCC-QIO to help him get information about her plan of care. KEPRO arranged a patient care conference for the patient’s husband with the quality manager, the director of nursing, and other staff to discuss the plan of care.
Immediate Advocacy is available to all people with Medicare. Anyone who knows a person with Medicare can call on that person’s behalf and request Immediate Advocacy.