Effective advocacy for patients with inflammatory bowel disease: Communication with insurance companies, school administrators, employers, and other health care overseers

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Abstract

In addition to their physical challenges, children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) living in the United States face a number of administrative and regulatory hurdles that affect their quality of life. This article, written by a physician, attorney/patient advocate, and social worker, discusses a number of these challenges and describes how the provider can help his or her patient overcome them. Specifically, the article discusses 4 areas in detail: appeals of denials of coverage from insurance companies and third party payors; assisting children with IBD with classroom and school accommodations; assisting uninsured children in obtaining Social Security benefits; and aiding a parent to care for their child using the Family and Medical Leave Act. Although this article has a pediatric focus, adults have similar advocacy needs. Case examples and sample letters to third-party payors, schools, and employers are included in this article.

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