Q&A: Monique Nelson wins ‘Hero’ award

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Friday, October 9, 2020

FRISCO, Texas - Monique Nelson, director of patient advocacy at Soleo Health, recently took home a Gold Stevie Award at this year’s International Business Awards. HME News spoke to Nelson, who won in the “Backline Medical Hero of the Year” category, about how the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping what it means to be a patient advocate. 

HME News: What was your path to becoming a patient advocate? 

Monique Nelson: My son got his first immunoglobulin infusion in the NICU. When he was four, our health insurance company denied him for IG therapy, so I had to learn how to navigate this complicated world of insurance authorizations and how to write appeals on my own. Once I won that appeal, I was fortunate enough to work with a specialty pharmacy that also employed advocates and I began employment with that organization, and I’ve been working as an advocate ever since. 

HME: Why is patient advocacy so important? 

Nelson: I can’t tell you how many times patients leave the physician’s office and go, "What were they talking about?” They have all these questions and concerns. Then I come on after they’ve had some time to process, and my role is to help bridge that gap so the patients are comfortable and successful. 

HME: In what ways have you had to step in as a patient advocate during the pandemic? 

Nelson: I had an ALS patient that was newly diagnosed. He suddenly became unresponsive and his wife called me in a panic. She had to follow (the ambulance) in the car and never got information as to what was going on. I said I’d see if I can get my nurse practitioner involved, so we called and they said they didn't expect him to wake up. I probably called 20 (hospice facilities)—but this was during COVID-19, so nobody was taking patients—before I found this phenomenal hospice. When we got in, the nurse said, “I really wanted to get him freshened up for you but I just don’t think he’s going to make it much longer, so why don’t you go on in and spend some time with him.” He passed away within minutes of her being there, but she got to hold his hand.