Amy Regenstreif has been living with a rare form of cancer for over 16 years. Through this experience, she realized she has a lot to teach people. “I discovered people who needed help learning how to help themselves,” said Amy. “A lot of what I do is to motivate people to do what they need to do in case of a medical emergency, and offer plans when facing chronic illness.”
Amy’s experience in business and as a patient living with a long-term illness have helped her uncover little details that have a profound outcome on a patient’s care. For example, sometimes a change medical code can save thousands of dollars in insurance costs and out-of-pocket expenses.
During Amy’s visit to the GDOC studio, she shared some important tips with viewers on how to be an effective patient advocate for a loved one.
Invite the doctor to stand in your shoes. “What would you do if this was happening to you?” Encourage physicians to think of the personal side of what your family is facing.
2. Be organized.
Prior to appointments, do your homework to gain knowledge on possible options. And be prepared to discuss those choices with your doctor.
3. Your doctor needs to be your partner.
When you are prepared to make informed decisions on care, your healthcare provider must be willing to engage in a partnership during this process. It requires listening, weighing options, accepting compromise, and discussing the best treatment plan for you or your loved one. “If your doctor isn’t receptive to that arrangement, it’s time to move on,” said Amy.
“Any illness is like a business,” said Amy. “So we need to treat our healthcare like a business.”
Amy has taken her experience and started doing patient advocacy to help others who are struggling with a sudden diagnosis. Amy is an invaluable resource for those learning to live with illness. She has spoken for the Motion Picture Health and Retirement Fund, The Editors Guild, and the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging, among many other organizations and media.
You can email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook at Amy Morrison Regenstreif
A version of this article was published by Good Day Orange County. It has been republished here with permission.