Nurses help navigate healthcare

March 13, 2009 2:29:37 PM PDT
When you're sick or taking care of a loved one, the last thing anyone wants to do is spend hours trying to figure out how to get the best medical care and how to get it paid for. So that's how a special service called 'Guardian Nurses Healthcare Advocates' can help. Six-year-old Kevin Bowman is getting his legs back in shape with UCP physical therapist Stephanie Reilly.

Kevin's mother Cindy said When Kevin was a toddler he was diagnosed with Blount's disease. It causes severe bowing of the legs. "Every time he walked, it looked like his ankles hurt because his legs looked like parenthesis," she said.

Kevin had to have several surgeries. Doctors had to break his legs and place pins inside. Even though Cindy has health insurance, she says setting everything up Kevin needed was overwhelming.

"(The healthcare system) is not a user-friendly service," said Betty Long, president of Guardian Nurses Healthcare Advocates. Cindy's health benefit plan contracted them to help her find the best doctor for Kevin, get special transportation and home equipment. They also facilitated Kevin's therapy.

"I think the biggest thing we bring people is their peace of mind because they know we're working on behalf of them- not the insurance company, not the hospital," Long said.

And Tom Lamb of Law Enforcement Health Benefits said Guardian Nurses has also helped them save millions of dollars by getting members to the right doctor at the right time.

"Every year when we evaluate that, we renew our contract with guardian nurses," he said.

Cindy also said they helped her resolve issues with insurance claims and without Guardian Nurses, she thinks she probably would've paid more out of pocket and she's not sure Kevin would be doing as well as he is now.

Guardian nurses healthcare benefits are contracted to work with the health benefit plans of some unions and corporations such as the Philadelphia police and sheriff's department. They also work with private clients for a fee. For more information, visit:

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