New York, California, Florida and remainder of the U.S.
Assisting clients throughout the U.S., we are a team of professionals (oncology advocate, RN, MPH insurance expert) who help people make well-informed decisions about their medical care and its costs. Well-read blogs on proactive things you can do to maximize your health. Thought leader invited by the press to share our knowledge and success stories (NBC, ABC, HBO, LA Times, Washington Post, Kiplinger, etc.)
AnnMarie is based just outside New York City and has staff in Miami and Washington and a network throughout the U.S.
To date, we have served clients from coast to coast in 24 states as well as Japan, China and the U.K.
Eight of our clients are physicians, two of whom also hold PhDs. Several are nurses.
Our clients range from high net worth individuals, sometimes with well-known names, to Medicaid patients whose friends or family pay for our services.
Some of the hospitals where we have experience are Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dana-Farber, Columbia Presbyterian, New York University, Stanford University Medical Center, UCSF, and Morristown Memorial.
*Known for our cutting edge cancer treatment advocacy, we recently kept a client from dying within hours according to his UCSF oncologist, have enabled a client to “jump over” standard of care treatment and have facilitated access to promising immunotherapy trials;
*Orchestrated the care of a client who suffered a major stroke leading to complete restoration of mobility, speech and cognitive function;
*Identified top physicians, facilitated appointments, and created strong working relationships with the staff for many clients, all of which led to better health outcomes;
*Guided clients with mental health challenges including addiction to in-patient programs and best in class therapists and psychiatrists.
*Collectively lowered insurance bills by over $2,000,000 for several clients;
*Helped two clients become opioid free; and
*Managed the medical/living needs of older adults
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5 stars are not nearly enough to describe the quality of compassion, expertise, understanding, and assistance we received from AnnMarie! During our mother’s agonizing cancer illness, she was vitally indispensable, translating complicated doctor speak, diagnoses, and prognoses, untangling medication quagmires, helping us to find quality home aides, massage therapy, pain management experts – she even fired my mother’s verbally hurtful (and inconsequential) oncologist and got her reassigned to the head of the department IN ONE DAY. I cried to AnnMarie, laughed with her, marveled at her breadth of experience and capacity for calm in the storm. When our mom was “stuck” in the ER for five days during COVID without proper care, AnnMarie sent her experienced ER nurse in to find answers and get her freed to go home. We will be forever grateful to have had AnnMarie on our team for this journey – I can’t recommend her highly enough.
It was a sheer stroke of luck that we were connected with Patient Advocators and AnnMarie McIlwain–and one that has absolutely changed the entire course of my life. After being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, spending half of a year in various hospitals and rehabilitation centers, struggling to find the best in-home care and therapy–all the while trying to communicate with a team of medical professionals, discern their conflicting recommendations, and negotiate with insurance companies–my husband and I were feeling defeated, overwhelmed, and baffled by the entire process.
And then in early 2021, we found AnnMarie–who became my personal champion–and she took everything off our plate. She communicated with all medical parties and insurance companies to ensure I was receiving the proper care, patiently answered all of our questions, and saved us thousands (and thousands) of dollars to boot. To say she is highly skilled downplays her value; she is the epitome of a model advocate and quite literally goes to battle on your behalf.
If you, or someone you love, is in need of medical care, you need AnnMarie. Her calm spirit brings clarity; her compassionate counseling offers peace of mind; and her wise defense takes away the fear of financial ruin. I cannot recommend her more highly. She is an absolute blessing, a shining example of a true professional–and we are so grateful for her persistent support and ongoing assistance.
I feel incredibly grateful to have discovered AnnMarie. After nearly 2 years of hitting wall after wall trying to get medical treatment for an uncommon condition, AnnMarie was able to get me across the finish line in under 2 months. She is incredibly kind, understanding, flexible, efficient, and skilled at what she does. I would highly recommend her to anyone struggling to navigate the healthcare system. Thank you, AnnMarie, for all that you do!
What a godsend! My mother had a very bad fall and in an instant my family and I found ourselves needing more help than any of us could have imagined. Annmarie jumped in immediately and guided us on choice of doctors and specialists, current research on the pros/cons of different procedures we needed to consider, insights on hospital care and rehabilitation center choices, advice and expense tracking on how to best access my mother’s Long Term Care insurance and submit for claims and reimbursements etc. And as if that wasn’t enough she arranged for professionals to come and retrofit the house with wheelchair ramps, had a chairlift installed between floors, provided a list of recommended contractors so we could get a gut renovation of the bathroom to be more accessible and ADA compliant, and then organized for at-home care and health aids, visiting PT services, and even food services that ensured there would always be meals throughout the day. We were all blown away by what she and her team were able to do. Throughout this eight-month ordeal, Annmarie was always gracious, comforting, calm and incredibly informative with every call and email. Worth every penny!! She’ll be our first call when/if there’s another family incident. Thank you so much Annmarie. You and your team are amazing!
Stephanie and AnnMarie have done a phenomenal job of resolving a surprise 6-figure medical bill 2 years after I was in the hospital. They gave me confidence from the outset, were very clear on our course of action, and had the inside understanding of the protections available to me—resulting in a $0 balance. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Thank you so much!
AnnMarie quite probably saved my husband’s life. My husband was diagnosed with a very rare cancer and we weren’t happy with our options within the Canadian health care system. We needed help navigating and also being accepted into an American hospital where we could pay for the best care and treatment possible. She was such a pillar of support and so incredibly knowledgeable. She took so much stress off of me at a time when I needed it the most. She might have saved my life as well. I absolutely recommend her and would love for her to be my day-to-day life advocate.
Thanks to AnnMarie, I avoided knee surgery and my knee is fully recovered. Initially, she identified two orthopedic surgeons for me to visit; the first one locally for the initial diagnosis and the second one at Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC for a second opinion. Following these appointments, she encouraged me to evaluate stem cell therapy in lieu of surgery and she identified the leading doctor in NYC who performs the procedure. She participated in the visit with the second orthopedic surgeon and the physiatrist and in both cases provided invaluable help in the discussions with the doctors by asking questions that didn’t occur to me. AnnMarie also introduced me to the latest electrical stimulation therapy which when combined with the stem cell therapy was a great success. Thank you AnnMarie!
In my humble unadulterated opinion you deserve ten stars considering you were able to perform miracles. thank you. g.
With our family’s health insurance cards in-hand and the weight of the world lifted from our shoulders, we want to not only recommend AnnMarie McIlwain at Patient Advocators but help as many people find her as possible. Professional, caring, committed, and successful, AnnMarie navigates the ‘shark-infested’ waters of the health care industry to the benefit and well-being of her clients. Leaving no stone unturned and relentlessly saying yes in the face of no, she perseveres until positive solutions and results are achieved . Don’t give up or be discouraged; just call AnnMarie Mcllwain!
As a seasoned nurse, one would think I could find my own solutions but I could not. I desperately needed spine surgery for a severe disc herniation which was causing an inability to walk and frequent falls. The insurance company denied the surgery my spine surgeon wanted to perform, AnnMarie McIlwain provided the right combination of listening to me and giving me new information that led me to another spine surgeon who was able to perform the surgery that was really needed. I couldn’t be happier with the results. And I wouldn’t have gotten there without AnnMarie’s wisdom and knowledge.
At one of the darkest points in my life, AnnMarie entered the picture. I was at my wits end in dealing with my husband’s medical situation. He’d had two strokes and we were trying to keep him at the acute rehabilitation hospital in which every doctor and therapist felt he should stay. We were in an appeals process and AnnMarie guided us with expert assistance. Her compassion, understanding, and even humor during this bleak time was a true miracle. I remember standing in a hospital hallway, clutching the phone and listening to her words of wisdom. Rarely have I ever felt this grateful and humbled by a stranger’s true kindness. If I could award her more than five stars, I would. I’d give her the moon if I could.
AnneMarie Mcllwain and Patient Advocators was a wonderful asset in the healing of my father-in-law. There were many obstacles we were facing that she easily came in and fixed. Further, she aided better communication between all parties. Luckily, my father-in-law is now home and on the mend. Wish we had her from the beginning! In the future, I will not hesitate to pick up the phone and call her as soon as a loved one is in need of care or in the hospital.
I’ve worked with AnnMarie for several months and I am here to tell you, if you’re dealing with a seemingly intractable, frustrating or scary medical problem or concern, call her right now. I contacted her initially regarding a long-term, chronic illness which struck as I was dealing with a previously-diagnosed case of Parkinson’s. As I became sicker, my many medical specialists seemed either unconcerned or unable to address my broad array of complex and puzzling symptoms; they also seemed disinclined to confer with each other. Frightened and emotionally exhausted, my husband or I had no idea how to proceed. AnnMarie became our white knight and defender: she was invaluable in helping us set priorities; formulate a treatment plan; ask my doctors questions that hadn’t occurred to us; and suggest new options that my physicians never mentioned. She also became a combination of cheerleader, interpreter of medical protocol and jargon, and trusted confidante. She has helped us understand and cut through the bureaucracy associated with modern medical care; she has been my liaison with physicians and their staffs, saving me hours on the phone. Her associate, Nan Wetherhorn,
has been truly great as well. They recently took on another case involving one of my family members; without their help, the outcome would have been very much worse and possibly fatal. I cannot speak highly enough of their professionalism, integrity, energy, probity, determination, discretion and good cheer demonstrated by Anne-Marie and her colleagues. they do their homework, research every possible option and read all of the medical records. Annmarie is always there to help, and she never gives up. I cannot speak highly enough of her and the team that she has assembled. I have benefited greatly from the experience of working with her and know that I will continue to do so. She is a great person and a great asset in any struggle particularly those regarding health and the medical- industrial complex. Clark, Wellesley, Massachusetts
As someone who spent 21 years as a leader in the healthcare industry, it would be understandable to think I could navigate the appropriate care for my 71 year old mother but I could not. I quickly realized the hospital and insurance company were working against me and began to look for a patient advocate to help us. I found AnnMarie the way everyone finds things today, using google. The search returned dozens of hits, but AnnMarie’s was the first one that specified she could help regardless of your location while the other’s appeared to be state specific. My story began with my mother taking a terrible fall in her backyard and breaking her femur away from her knee replacement. It was a nasty break and required major surgery to repair. Mom is a retired college professor and widow who was living completely independently (with minimal assistance like lawn service, occasional housekeeping help, etc.) when she fell. I knew that she was going to need intensive inpatient therapy to regain her mobility and get back to living her life. I knew which inpatient rehab hospital I wanted her to go to and made certain that her doctors, the case managers and insurance were aware. It was no surprise to me that Humana declined to cover the facility upon the first submission but within 24 hours of the denial the wheels were coming off the bus and the hospital was trying to force my mother into a skilled nursing facility. In layman’s terms, they were trying to send her to a nursing home where she would get none of the physical therapy or occupational therapy she was going to need. I began the appeals process only to be stonewalled by the hospital and the insurance company. They were lying to me, refusing to provide information to me and also trying to intimidate my mother into signing paperwork that would release her to a nursing home whenever I was not with her. I was furious and began my search for help. I will forever be grateful that I found AnnMarie. She realized that we needed to move fast and immediately emailed my mother and myself the paperwork we needed to complete, took down all of the information she needed to get started and jumped on it. She knew exactly what needed to be done to file an expedited family appeal but more importantly she knew we needed to get the surgeon to specify in the medical record that mom needed this level of rehabilitation. While I was trying to reach the surgeon, she was busy giving Humana and the hospital case manager a verbal beat down and backing them off of us. After more than 24 hours in which I was unable to reach the surgeon, AnnMarie said she would try. TEN MINUTES later I receive a message from her stating she had spoken to the surgeon, he was on board with what we wanted to do, would specify it in the medical record and have his office fax it over to Humana! This was Friday morning and although we had to listen to the hospital staff grumbling about wanting her out of there, telling us we were never going to win the appeal, putting more pressure on us to allow them to release her to skilled nursing and even stating that she would not get the level of care over the weekend she had been getting… it turns out they were very wrong. On Monday morning Humana reversed their decision and approved the Inpatient Rehabilitation facility! My mom has been in the facility for the past 36 hours and is already much more mobile, in much better spirits and can see a path to recovery that she couldn’t before. I will never attempt to navigate a major medical issue again without AnnMarie!
AnnMarie is a passionate and highly effective advocate. She knows the healthcare system inside and out, and knows how to get results. I am healthcare proxy for a close friend but I live on the opposite coast from him. I first hired her to go to an important doctor’s appointment with him for his Parkinson’s symptoms. She asked all the questions that he didn’t know how to and made sure they took his case seriously. When he eventually had to go into the hospital and then rehab, she did all the on-the-ground follow up, being the squeaky wheel that got him the attention he needed.
Ultimately, she helped me see him through an entire year of coping with illness, including in the end helping get him into new housing designed for his particular disability. And she always kept an eye out for more cost effective solutions. Thanks to AnnMarie, my dear friend of many years now has new levels of support that he has never had before, and I can relax knowing he is being cared for.
AnnMarie was instrumental in helping us find the right course of treatment for our daughters chronic health issues as well as finding assistive care. I highly recommend the services of her and her company
A herniated disc in my neck left me unable to stand for a month and in extreme pain. Drugged up and immobile, I needed help navigating the medical bureaucracy and I reached out to Patient Advocators. Marie McIlwain was very responsive and helped me get the right people called in the right departments to put me in contact with the specialist I wanted to see. Her familiarity with the medical systems in my area was invaluable and having someone I could just pick up the phone and call when I needed advice was enormous.
Very helpful, professional and caring. These services expedited treatment and saved us both times and money. Our daughter is doing well thanks in large part to the help of Patient Advocators!
I reading the reviews of other families I read the term “Guardian Angel” and if is possible for them to be among us in the flesh, then AnnMarie is truly was sent by some force. I too, found her by accident.
She has proved invaluable in assisting me with very difficult and complicated family matters. Being an only child I was more than used to doing it all on my own so finding someone who, instead of adding to my “to do” list, actually “did the doing”, was such a relief. Whether it was resolving issues at an assisted living facility, finding an eldercare attorney, offering emotional support, AnnMarie was there by my side. I felt relief for the first time in years. So while every families specific issues will vary, one thing I would like readers to know is that the attention and results you will get will be the same. She is unbelievable!! I would give her 50 stars if the darn site would let me!
I actually found AnneMarie by accident. She helped us identify a Long Term Care Facility with a locked unit for dementia patients and negotiated the insurance approval – so what does that mean… here is my story.
My mom was diagnosed with early stages of Dementia. She was refusing to do anything to get help with this diagnosis, and ended up in Penn Station Newark unattended with a one way bus ticket to Pennsylvania when she was found by the local police, completely confused and no idea where she needed to be. When they contacted us, we had her admitted to Mountainside Hospital for evaluation. My mother had no savings, no property and no assets. She was living on social security and had Medicare/Medicaid. In order to avoid the hospital releasing her to her own apartment, we had them admit her to the Psychiatric Unit for further evaluation, and with the hopes that from there we could get her into a Senior Facility with a “locked unit” as she was now considered an elopement risk. The hospital was insistent that we would have one or two, at most choices of a facility that would have a Medicaid bed available, and they needed to release her asap. This is when I started to research on line patients rights, etc, more looking to find someone who could help extend her stay until we could figure something out – she could not go home alone, and we were unable to move her in with to our home with our children and our working full time. This is when I came across AnneMarie. My husband and I called her that morning, and that very same day she met us at Mountainside and had arranged a team meeting with the staff. They were still insistent that it would be hard to find a facility. Well within 24 to 48 hours, AnneMarie, had found at least four to five facilities that had Medicaid beds available. We were astatic and ready to move her out! However, as things go, it did not pan out as the Medicaid my mother had, was not institutional Medicaid which is required to be in a long term facility. My husband and I had tried to do this previously on our own, so were now telling AnnMarie, how we would not be able to get this done, I kid you not, it was near impossible to get a single person through her insurance or Medicaid to commit to telling us how to have this done! This is where again AnneMarie said leave it to me, and off she went. For the next several weeks (while my mother remained in Mountainside with endless threats from the staff that she had to leave), AnneMarie, made call after call after call, some with us on, and some on her own where she could. Finally at what seemed the last hour before they sent my mother out the door AnneMarie pulled off getting her into a facility and had the Medicaid switched over. I still can not tell you how’s it is done, but I can tell you if you need help with Medicaid/Finding a facility for your loved one that accepts Medicaid, AnneMarie is the woman to call. AnneMarie was our guardian angel just when we needed her most, I have to honestly say without her I am not sure where my mother would be today. Give her a chance for sure, you will not be disappointed I am certain!
AnneMarie Mcllwain and Patient Advocators saved my emotional and financial life! After six months of treatment for Burkitt lymphoma, I returned home to collection notices and enormous bills. Ms. Mcllwain negotiated with the hospitals as well as the insurance company on my behalf with fabulous results. She wrote a letter to the insurance company that even impressed my oncologist’s office. I highly recommend her for any anxiety you are dealing with in relation to your health bills and navigating the labyrinth of the insurance bureaucracies. I am now in remission from my cancer; Patient Advocators’ work gave peace of mind and space to continue healing.
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I live in rural Oregon and was having great difficulty finding the resources I needed for two surgeries required. I contacted Patient Advocators and was so grateful to find both Anne’s, who took on my case. They located a clinic in Boise, who took up my case and scheduled both surgeries. The Annes were extremely knowledgable, efficient and professional. I feel so blessed to have found these advocators. James Kemp