Archive

Archive for April, 2011

Why Do You Choose to Be a Patient Advocate or Navigator?

During the past few years of connecting with patient advocates and navigators, I’ve asked dozens (maybe hundreds) of people why they chose patient advocacy work.

Each person has one, individual, personal answer to that question, but there are an astounding number of similiaries.  Among them:

  • They believe they were cut out to help patients in need.
  • They have had some sort of experience that tells them that whatever they’ve been doing to that point is no longer enough.
  • Working with patients, helping them navigate and find improved outcomes from the healthcare system, feels like a higher calling.
  • They don’t like what they were doing before, whether that meant they worked in hospitals, as school teachers, librarians or for insurers or other payers who forced them to make choices they were not comfortable with.

Among those who have worked in healthcare previously, perhaps as nurses or physicians, perhaps as some other health-related job, they all give an additional reason.  This is the one almost-universal answer I’m given:

  • When they chose nursing (or whatever their previous healthcare job was), they learned to be an advocate for patients.  The evolution to the current healthcare system has taken away that opportunity. Therefore they hope that being an  advocate or navigator will allow them to refocus on what’s important to them – the missing advocacy piece.

Just as striking are the reasons for the shift to advocacy that are missing.  No one ever tells me:

  • They want to earn a lot of money.
  • They are choosing work that is safe and secure.
  • They want to be advocates because they want to take a lot of time off.

I find this so interesting.  I can’t think of any other career that gives people such satisfaction, while at the same time, offering so little perceived security (or time off!)

I say “perceived” – because when done right, owning a business can be very secure. If you have chosen to start a private patient advocacy business, once you can get the ball rolling, it can be very secure.  If you are the owner of the business, including a solo practitioner, no one else can fire you or lay you off!

No big points to today’s post – just a few observations …. and a question for you: Why did YOU choose to become  a patient or health advocate or navigator?  Do you concur with the reasons outline above?  Do you disagree?  I invite you to share your thoughts.

•  Learn more about what it takes to become a patient advocate.

•  Learn more about starting a patient advocacy business.

• • • • • • LEARN MORE • • • • • •
| FOR PATIENTS | FOR ADVOCATES |

Standing Up for Our Patients – Those Aretha Franklin Moments

April 18, 2011 1 comment

This post asks the question:  At what points do we go to the wall for our patients?  And when we need to go there, what’s the best approach?

Scenario: You’ve accompanied your patient-client to a medical appointment and the receptionist is rude to your patient when you check in.  Do you say or do anything?  And if so – how?

Scenario:  As you sit by your patient’s hospital bedside, a nurse comes in to change a dressing already wearing gloves.  You ask her to wash her hands and put on new gloves and she cops an attitude.  Do you insist?  And if so, how?

Scenario:  Your client needs to make a very difficult medical decision and has asked for your help to weigh the pros and cons, and to uncover additional possibilities.  You’ve walked him through all the possibilities – including those the doctor provided, and others you learned about through some research you did on his behalf.  His choice is not the same as the doctor’s recommendation, but when he gets to the appointment with his doctor to share his decision, the doctor tells him he’s making the wrong decision. Clearly uncomfortable, your client begins to backpeddle, to default to what the doctor has recommended.  Do you speak up on your patient’s behalf?  And if so, where do you start?

Read more…

Insurance Reimbursements? Not Exactly a Pot of Gold

A recent post from a member advocate in our AdvoConnection Forum asked if any of our members have experience with working with self-funded insurance to offer patient advocacy services.  Wouldn’t that be a great way to establish a big client, with a pot of money that was ready to be paid to private patient advocates?

There were no replies to the question.  That doesn’t mean that no one has experience with these reimbursements. It just means that no one replied to the question.  BUT – the reasons no one replied may be a version of the following:

Read more…

Calling All Health Advocates – And Those Who Wish to Be One

I’m excited to announce the launch of the new website (and therefore the agenda) for this year’s AdvoConnection Business Institute!

This is something AdvoConnection’s members have requested for more than a  year – one stop shopping – one place they can go to build their skills, improving those aspects of an advocate’s business that need support – from insurance (does my nurses insurance rider cover me?)  to legal matters (forms and contracts) to marketing (do I really need a Facebook page?) to business tools (tracking clients, an inexpensive 800 phone number and more) to networking with fellow advocates and not-yet-advocates who want to build and grow their businesses – and more.

Hope we’ll see you November 3, 2011 in Berkeley, California – and now…. (drum roll)…. here’s that website!

—————————————————–

The 2011 AdvoConnection Business Institute!

—————————————————–