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The Patient Helpline: Providing Help is a Team Effort

Our Patient Helpline service (previously Patients Rising Concierge) is all about connecting patients and caregivers to the resources that can solve their problems. We don’t provide grants or financial support, nor do we have cars and the ability to drive someone to their doctor, but we know who does. And connecting people with competent help is largely possible because of the organizations we partner with.

When Patients Rising Concierge began, it was meant to shepherd people through the minefield of healthcare policy issues. In 2020, Covid-19 and its impact on the lives of everyday Americans changed our plans. Now under its new name, The Patient Helpline, we help everyone and anyone with just about anything. But when we challenge the public to AskUsAnything@PatientsRising.org, they do. That taught us that we had to lean on some expert partners. It also inspired us to eventually change the name to more easily reflect what it is we do – The Patient Helpline.

Why Partnerships?

The Patient Helpline is, on its own, operated by 4 people. If you’re wondering how 4 people can help anyone with anything…yeah, we wonder that too. It would be impossible, or at least, not very effective. So, as we recognized patterns in what clients would contact us about, we started strengthening resources accordingly.

Our first strategic partnership is with Triage Cancer. They provide education on legal and practical issues that may impact individuals diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers. Their expert content touches on issues related to work, insurance, disability benefits, finances (with CancerFinances.org), estate planning, medical decision-making, and more.

Here is how these partnerships work:

  • We partner with experts
  • We send clients to those experts when they have needs the experts can address
  • In turn, the experts send clients to us who have needs outside of their area of expertise
  • We help those clients, or, if needed, send them to other expert partners

It’s a network of service and help which, when combined, is making a difference for thousands of clients each year.

Why do you call them clients?

Good question. Since we will help anyone with anything, we find that calling them “patients” is reductive. We’ve been contacted by caregivers, family members, case workers, insurance navigators…so we find “client” is the only inclusive term that fits.

What other kind of partners do you have?

For starters, the door to new partnerships is always open, because the needs of clients is always changing. You can see the needs of our clients by looking at the focus of our partners.

There’s Healthcare Reformed – a nonprofit that seeks to educate the public on the unfair billing practices happening in our healthcare system. Their goal is to give both all healthcare stakeholders the resources they need to protect their physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing.

Fight Like a Warrior is a nonprofit uniting, empowering, and advocating for patients and caregivers around the world. Their focus is on combating stigmas and bullying, as well as raising disease awareness.

Evans Disability is a seasoned Social Security Disability law firm.  They have participated in thousands of Social Security hearings in front of Administrative Law Judges and have been very successful in winning claims at all levels.

PCs for People is a nonprofit that distributes refurbished, low-cost computers and affordable broadband internet to low-income households around the United States.

Tamvoes is a health information management hub that connects individuals, families, with their healthcare
team. Tamvoes simplifies many of the parts of healthcare that cause frustration. For instance they offer a chronological cloud journal to track appointments, reminders, vital signs, lab results and more.

You can find our complete (and growing) list of partners here.

strengthening the network

Creating partnerships is relatively easy. If you know of a nonprofit that has expertise in a field that helps patients or caregivers (or if you are one), we want to know them too. Reach out to me, Jim, at jsliney@patienthelpline.org and let me know about them. I’ll reach out and see if we’re a good fit.

We’re currently working on formalizing a partnership with the incredible folks over at the Patient Advocacy Foundation. We have our sites on a national transportation service to help patients access rides to and from treatments or doctor’s visits. Don’t be shy. This growing team of service providers, case managers, field experts, are going to change the healthcare landscape for everyone.

This article updated 1/25/23 to reflect program name change from Patients Rising Concierge to The Patient Helpline

Jim Sliney Jr is the director of patient outreach at Patients Rising. A native of the Bronx, New York, Jim attended Columbia University where he earned a degree in Creative Writing. He also served as a consultant in the school’s Writing Center, where he learned to work closely with writers of all skill levels. He has a strong background in clinical research and has worked with patients extensively in hands-on clinical settings as a Registered Medical Assistant. His experience writing for numerous nonprofits and serving as an editor for a boutique publishing company round out his expertise in narrative medicine.  

Jim Sliney Jr. Director of Patient Outreach Patients Rising

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