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Patient care, patient first

Carol Mann, 7th Medical Group Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act manager, answers a call and takes down information in her office Dec. 5, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.   Mann serves as a patient advocate liaison to the 7th Medical Group here. The patient advocacy service is used to help patients resolve any issues or concerns they may have with their medical care or appointments in the medical group.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kedesha Pennant/Released)

Carol Mann, 7th Medical Group Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act manager, answers a call and takes down information in her office Dec. 5, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Mann serves as a patient advocate liaison to the 7th Medical Group here. The patient advocacy service is used to help patients resolve any issues or concerns they may have with their medical care or appointments in the medical group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kedesha Pennant/Released)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Suzette Miller and Staff Sgt. Soni Boose, 7th Medical Group, review paperwork at the patient administration office Dec. 5, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The flyer on the left is one of many located by the window of each section of the medical group. These flyers contain pictures and contact information of each patient advocate. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kedesha Pennant)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Suzette Miller and Staff Sgt. Soni Boose, 7th Medical Group, review paperwork at the patient administration office Dec. 5, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The flyer on the left is one of many located by the window of each section of the medical group. These flyers contain pictures and contact information of each patient advocate. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kedesha Pennant)

Misty Colmery, left, and Carol Mann, 7th Medical Group, view and discuss a patient's telephone consultation to resolve a situation Dec. 18, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Some common situations that may cause a patient to call the patient advocacy line may have to do with existing telephone consultations or if there’s difficulty getting in touch with a specific medical department. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kedesha Pennant/Released)

Misty Colmery, left, and Carol Mann, 7th Medical Group, view and discuss a patient's telephone consultation to resolve a situation Dec. 18, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Some common situations that may cause a patient to call the patient advocacy line may have to do with existing telephone consultations or if there’s difficulty getting in touch with a specific medical department. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kedesha Pennant/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt Soni Boose, 7th Medical Group, helps an Airman fill out paperwork Dec. 19, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. There are customer service representatives in each department of the medical group to assist patients with their medical care. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kedesha Pennant/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt Soni Boose, 7th Medical Group, helps an Airman fill out paperwork Dec. 19, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. There are customer service representatives in each department of the medical group to assist patients with their medical care. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kedesha Pennant/Released)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Do you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding your healthcare? Well there's no need to look any further than the 7th Medical Group Patient Advocate Office.

"The patient advocacy service is used to help patients resolve any issues or concerns they may have with their medical care or appointments in the medical group," said Carol Mann, 7th Medical Group Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act program manager and patient advocate.

Mann acts as a liaison to the 7th MDG by being a facilitator for getting issues resolved. She receives calls from patients who may not have heard from anyone regarding their inquiry and starts the patient advocate process by pulling up their record and a copy of their telephone consultation. She then prints out the encounter and gets it to the patient's primary care manager to obtain answers.

The 7th MDG works as a cohesive unit, since there are customer service representatives in every department to assist patients at the lowest level. If a patient is not able to get in contact with a customer service representative from a certain department, then Mann is the next person to call.

"We have flyers with a picture and contact information of each patient care associate by the window of each section of the medical group," Mann said. "For example, if someone has a question for the pharmacy, then the person can obtain an answer by contacting the clinic's customer service representatives first."

Some common situations that may cause a patient to call the patient advocacy line may have to do with existing telephone consultations, or if there's difficulty getting in touch with a specific medical department.

"We truly do care especially if our patients don't hear anything within 72 hours," Mann said. "Our goal is to fix the problem from the source."

Mann handles anywhere from 30-40 cases per month. These inquiries can range from a patient wanting to be seen somewhere off base to the patient wanting to change their primary care manager. With that, she works closely with TRICARE to help resolve any issues.

"I log everything on a spreadsheet so we can see what the trends are and how many of those trends I encounter every month," Mann said. "Later, I brief these findings to the command staff at meetings."

Mann also deals with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

"Our responsibility is to protect everyone's information, whether it's your information or someone who works here, to the same degree," Mann said.

There are a variety of ways to get in contact with the patient advocate--whether it's through a phone call, walk-in or electronically.

"Anyone can contact me," Mann said. "Even if it's not me you need to reach, then I can get the call to the right person."

Carol Mann can be contacted through MiCare at http://www.afms.af.mil/micare/.