Tips To Make Dealing With The Healthcare System A Bit Less Painful

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On this Advocacy Notes episode, I explain some of the most helpful lessons I’ve learned about dealing with the medical system in America while seeing multiple family members go through health issues over the past few months. Hopefully these tips will help you avoid unnecessary frustration and delays.


  • Send copies of all records that are needed and check ahead of time they are received
  • Many offices won’t take documents over email, so you may need to fax things. is good for one time short faxes, but you may want something like eFax if you are going to be sending documents frequently to medical offices.
  • Keep printed orders for radiology and lab on hand if possible when you go for a test
  • Bring paper copies of records if you are not sure they have them
  • Check your lab or radiology orders and prescriptions before leaving the doctor’s office. They can make mistakes and it is easier to fix them on the spot.
  • Mind your timing generally
  • Everything takes longer than it should, from getting the authorization, to the appointment to the wait in the office, especially anything walk in – plan accordingly
  • Walk-in X-Rays/Radiology the same day of an appointment requires caution and maybe you should do it the day before
  • Ask about and follow up on authorizations
  • Know who to ask your questions to, where to ask, and when to ask.
  • Medical providers are super busy and often do not want to hear extraneous information or about things you are advocating for outside their specific role.
  • Keep a grievance form “in your back pocket.” Filing a written grievance can be a helpful tool but there are some instances where filing one could hurt your relationship with your doctor/provider.
  • Leverage and power dynamics in healthcare situations are different from other consumer situations
  • Grievances can be extremely helpful for billing issues. I explain more on grievances for excessive bills here:
  • Keep in mind why you’re doing the treatment. What is the goal? What is the timeframe? Are we achieving what we set out to do?
  • Ask about medications ahead of time before a procedure or hospital discharge (and know when your pharmacy is open)
  • For longer term medications, local independent pharmacies often offer free delivery, which can make things a lot more convenient
  • Keep track of insurance deductibles, co-pays, and out of pocket maximums
  • Know timelines to apply for assistance programs that can save you more on your bill

Got questions or comments about this episode? Is there another political or social issue you’d like me to cover? Have you faced oppression, have a story about bad bosses, a corrupt company, or another injustice you want to vent or spread the word about? I’d love to hear from you. Call in and leave a voicemail any time, day or night, toll free at 844-477-PUNK (7865)

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This content is for entertainment and general informational purposes only. We do not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of the information herein. The viewer should not rely solely upon such and consult a competent professional before deciding to follow any course of action. If you have any medical or mental health concerns, please consult a qualified physician.


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