Healthcare and health insurance are complicated and often confusing. The challenges can be even worse for immigrants who often face a language barrier. Case managers can make these challenges less intimidating and advocate for the best medical care for their patients and families. They can help in many ways, but here are three things a case manager can do for immigrants.
1. Case Managers Assist with Translation
One of the primary issues for immigrants is not being able to understand what medical care workers and insurance providers have to say. Even if they understand the words, they may not comprehend the meanings. A case manager who can speak more than one language can be a valuable resource for immigrants who have difficulty with English.
Not only can the case manager help the immigrant understand important information, but they can also provide the medical team and insurance providers with concerns and questions the patient may not be able to express adequately. This makes the process flow better not only for the patient but for those providers they are mediating with. Such service provides a better relationship between the patient and the medical team and the patient and their insurance provider.
2. Case Managers Serve as an Advocate
Many times, services can be delayed for one reason or another or the patient may not receive the information they need to make an informed decision about their care. A case manager can find answers to questions the person asks and help to move the process along, so they can get the care they need.
A prime example is an immigrant who goes through surgery and a hospital stay. After they are released, they will need rehabilitation and transportation to medical appointments. The case manager often knows what services are available and can help set up transportation, physical therapy, and other services. The patient may need help setting up a payment plan for the out-of-pocket costs for medical care. Not only can the case manager help explain what is needed, but they can work in the best interest of the patient.
3. Case Managers Understand Systems
It can be time-consuming to go through insurance or to navigate the process of treatment. Many times, the patient may not understand what is available to them or why it is taking so long to get approved for service. Case managers know how the system works, and they can often find ways to make it easier to navigate for the patient.
The case manager will work with the rest of the team to ensure the patient doesn’t miss out on necessary care and has the tools and resources they need to get well. They can also ensure the patient is contacted with important updates and doesn’t miss out on valuable information. Case managers are a critical part of any case, but the need for their assistance increases for immigrants who aren’t familiar with the US healthcare system or have not received personalized medical care in Mexico. They can be a voice for those who don’t have one and who may not even have an adequate understanding of their choices in a system that is often complex and uncooperative.