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Another option for family caregivers

Health care advocates can help.

Cigna New England CEO, Mark Butler at his Westborough home. Butler twice-weekly does a remote chat with his aging father Gerry Butler 89 yrs old in Vermont on his Ipad by his desk at home.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/David L Ryan, Globe Staff

Re “When care giving, own job collide” (Page A1, Dec. 27). Being ill is a huge stressor; working full time and being the caregiver of someone who is ill is even more so. Juggling work, doctor appointments, understanding the illness and finding resources are just some of the issues. The article by Robert Weisman regarding employers trying to give more flexibility to employees immersed in this conundrum was excellent but missed one important resource. In the past 10 years or so, a new health care field has emerged: private professional health care advocates. Different from insurance or hospital advocates, these advocates work only for the patient, not a parent company. These dedicated professionals arrange and attend doctor appointments, summarize the visits, integrate the information from multiple health care providers, do research, assist in understanding the illness, as well as finding necessary resources, including specialized doctors, if warranted. In general, they navigate the system for you, saving you and your employer countless hours. Advocates in your area can be found at Advoconnection Directory (, Massachusetts Health Care Advocates (, or the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy (

You don’t have to do this alone.


Donna J. Seibert, M.D.


The writer is founder and CEO of Alongside Medical Ally.