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Navigating people's medical care to enhance life

About Patient Advocators

What is a patient advocator and why do you need one? Patient advocates are professionals that help people get the best medical care possible. Whether trying to understand a diagnosis, find the top physicians, evaluate treatment options, track your medical history or lower your financial exposure, we have the experience and the team to help you navigate the world of healthcare and make good choices.

There are a number of issues impacting patient care today and these issues can lead to lower quality care and higher costs. Patient advocacy has emerged as a new field to help people more effectively deal with the realities listed below:

  • Patients have less time with doctors;
  • Insurance companies are increasingly denying coverage for diagnostics, medications, treatments, hospital expenses, etc;
  • Family members cannot provide hands-on support because they often live apart from one another and/or they cannot take the time off from work;
  • People are frequently diagnosed with more than one medical condition and using several medications which makes it difficult for physicians (particularly in an emergency setting) to make fully informed decisions for patients unless they have a clear and easily accessible medical record.
  • Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the most common reason cited is communication problems.

Patient Advocators LLC can help individuals and families reduce their vulnerability to these factors by delivering the knowledge and support you need to make well informed decisions in concert with your medical team.





Nan is a registered nurse with over 25 years of critical care nursing experience at several of the top hospitals in the U.S. including Children’s Hospital of Boston, NYP/Weill Cornell Medical Center and both UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Hospital of Los Angeles.

A compassionate, high-performing nurse, she has worked in Adult Intensive Care, Transplant, Pediatric Medical Surgical ICU, Neonatal Intensive Care, Trauma and Telemetry.

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Fluent in French and a tireless volunteer for many organizations including Big Brother Association, the Boston Ballet and the Head of the Charles Regatta, Nan always looks for ways to improve the lives of people.

Nan resides in Miami and will travel within the US to work with clients if the client requests.




AnnMarie is a certified oncology patient navigator who brings over 25 years of experience in the healthcare field where she worked as a senior marketing executive for several major pharmaceutical companies including Johnson & Johnson. She has worked extensively with physicians, nurses, and pharmacists throughout her career and her professional success has been dependent upon her ability to successfully collaborate with doctors, in particular, to get results.

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For the past 10 years, AnnMarie has worked extensively with oncologists, urologists, emergency room physicians, hospital residents and sub-acute attending physicians to manage the care of her father-in-law. Her advocacy has taken her on countless trips to Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute, Hospital for Special Surgery and Morristown Memorial to name a few healthcare facilities. She likes to think she has had something to do with a few of the 20+ lives her 87 year old father in law has lived.

When AnnMarie was a teenager, she experienced a life-threatening blood disorder that was cured as a result of having access to the top doctors in the field of hematology and oncology. Even at the age of 15, AnnMarie intuitively understood the importance of advocacy by choosing to play an active role in her care. Upon being discharged from a 10-day hospital stay, the attending physician asked AnnMarie “don’t you ever give up” in response to questions she had before walking out the door. That experience left her with a profound sense of gratitude for medical professionals and the importance of selecting the right doctors and treatments to maximize life.

If you Google AnnMarie McIlwain you will find that before becoming a personal advocate, she helped mitigate the jobs crisis by founding and creating a company called CareerFuel®. A “Cliffs Notes” for how to find a job or start a small business, this digital content company helped many during the worst economic crisis this country has experienced since the depression. Guiding others to the top resources while also inspiring them with videos and blogs that she wrote and produced, AnnMarie is happiest and most effective when coaching others.

Recognized as authoritative, AnnMarie has been quoted in US News and World Report and Columbia University's Uptown Radio. Her CareerFuel work appeared in Forbes, Huffington Post, Business Insider and AARP and other top media venues while her CareerFuel videos are among the most heavily followed career-related videos on YouTube. Since graduating college, AnnMarie has actively volunteered for children with life-threatening conditions, multiple schools and Girl Scouts. Her volunteer efforts have led to a number of awards including the CBS Spirit of Philadelphia Award. She is also a regular blood donor.

Perhaps you or your loved one will be her next project as she uses her knowledge, resourcefulness and communication skills to navigate the ever-shifting world of medicine.




Karen has been professionally involved with health education and insurance management for more than three decades. She consults with consumers on health insurance selection, navigation, claims review and appeals with the goal of helping people organize and demystify the complexities of our fragmented health care system.

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Karen received Patient Advocate certification from UCLA in 2015 and is licensed as a Health/Disability Insurance Producer in Washington State where she is an active member in the Washington State Health Advocacy Association (WASHAA).

In the past two years alone, Karen has saved clients more than $200,000 along with providing peace of mind.

As an expert, she has been quoted in several articles pertaining to insurance including Where There's A Bill There's a Way and Chart Your Own Course.

In addition to her enthusiasm for advocacy, Karen enjoys outdoor activities and travel, and volunteers as an instructor at her local Senior Center.


  • Research diagnosis and treatment options (including clinical trials)
  • Identify doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, at-home nursing care, assisted living facilities and nursing homes
  • Assist with obtaining second opinions
  • Accompany you or a loved one to medical appointments and/or the emergency room. Liaison with healthcare providers to help you understand the medical condition, treatment options and next steps
  • Monitor hospital stays and interface with the medical team to understand the diagnosis, testing and treatment plan
  • Monitor you or a loved one following admission to a rehab, sub-acute facility or nursing home
  • Organize your medical records to better facilitate intelligent medical decisions and reduce the risk of medical errors
  • Analyze your medical bills to determine if there are ways to reduce your financial obligation and negotiate with companies
  • Manage your medical bills
  • Mediate family conflicts involving healthcare decisions

Decision making

You and your family make the medical decisions for you and your loved one. Our role is to provide you with the facts to enable an informed decision.

Completed Assignments

Patient challenges include mental health, cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, other neurological disorders, spinal challenges and aging.

Four clients are physicians, two of whom also hold PhDs.

We serve the entire U.S. and can assist individuals outside of the U.S. coming into the country for medical services. Client locations have included: New York City and surrounding areas; multiple towns in New Jersey; Mystic and New Haven, Connecticut; Washington D.C.; San Francisco and Los Angeles, California; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Nashville, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Denver, Colorado; Portland, Oregon and multiple cities in Florida.

Some of the hospitals where we have experience are Stanford University Medical Center, UCSF, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dana-Farber, MD Anderson, Columbia Presbyterian, Weill Cornell and Morristown Memorial.


  • Accompanied patients to appointments with primary care doctors, neurologists, urologists, oncologists, concierge physicians, cardiologists and nutritionists and advocated for the patients during the appointments
  • Met clients at the emergency room, managed their care and stayed with patients until they were transferred to a room
  • Worked on site in multiple hospitals with several patients to ensure they were getting the best possible care
  • Helped two clients stop their opioid dependence
  • Advised a family whose college-aged son was rushed to the emergency room
  • Resolved multiple years of insomnia by recommending medical marijuana and facilitating it
  • Secured appointments with well-regarded psychiatrists, neurologists, orthopedists, primary care doctors and cardiologists
  • Identified the top hospital based and private practice based eating disorder specialists in a major city
  • Facilitated the release of two hospital patients who were being kept involuntarily
  • Identified the top Autism Spectrum Disorder programs/resources and developmental pediatricians in a major city for a family with a newly diagnosed child

Rehab/At-Home Care/Assisted Living/Long-term Care/Hospice

  • Orchestrated the entire care of a stroke victim (physician team, 24/7 nurses, at-home PT/OT/Speech, retrofitted house, insurance, medical devices, etc.)
  • Recommended at-home nurses aide and nursing services and managed the relationship for the patient
  • Evaluated rehab facilities with 1st/2nd/3rd recommendations
  • Established relationship with rehab teams and monitored patient progress/care
  • Identified and evaluated assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities
  • Managed the transfer of a client from one state to another following a stroke
  • Facilitated a psychiatric evaluation to complete a supportive housing application which was later approved
  • Identified LTC facility with dementia capabilities and negotiated insurance approval
  • Prevented a hospice facility from discharging a patient who did not want morphine

Medical History

  • Created three medical timelines covering several decades to use during doctors’ appointments
  • Completed an electronic medical record and shared with the patient’s children


  • Reinstated Medicare Part B benefits for two clients
  • Advised a client on how to minimize out-of-pocket expenses for an upcoming surgery
  • Advised a client on how to gain coverage for a denied, and much-needed, procedure
  • Eliminated $600,000 of insurance bills by arguing for in-network vs. out-of-network status and uncovering a billing code mistake
  • Resolved tens of thousands of dollars in declined insurance bills by identifying the "rule" that enables COBRA and Medicare
  • Analyzed insurance plan options and made recommendations designed to maximize covered services and minimize out-of-pocket costs