Tucked away in a hallway rarely traveled by patients or staff are the hard working staff known as Patient Benefit Coordinators. We prefer to call them our unsung heroes. These individuals battle daily to ensure our patients have the health care, services, and insurance they need.
A fallacy about Indian health care is that it is "insurance." While health care is free for tribal citizens, the availability of specialty care (and primary care for that matter) is very limited. In Oklahoma, having a tribal card or CDIB card does not mean you can present at the nearest emergency room for care and have it paid for by the tribe or government. Neither does it mean you can see that wonderful cardiologist your co-worker recommended.
Every day IHCRC's physicians refer patients for specialty care services such as an MRI, a visit with a cardiologist, or a biopsy. That referral passes to an IHCRC Patient Benefit Coordinator. These unsung "contract health" or "purchased referred care" dollars are simply no longer available. It is at this point the Patient Benefit Coordinators come alive. Their job? To find the referred service for the patient whether or not funding is available and to keep track of that referral from beginning to end.
The unsung heroes of IHCRC are also the experts on health insurance, especially SoonerCare, Medicaid, and Medicare. Being able to cover IHCRC patients with a third party payer source is just another way to ensure they receive the health care they deserve.
If anyone asks you why IHCRC is different, an answer must always be, "Because our Patient Benefit Coordinators are the absolute best at what they do!"