Archive

Archive for the ‘AdvoConnection Business Institute’ Category

Revisiting Education and Patient Advocates’ Certification

December 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Attendees at our recent AdvoConnection Business Institute had a variety of topics and issues they wanted to discuss.  Follow up surveys and emails produced even more, including some questions that, over time, will be answered to our best ability.  Some will be answered during teleconference call-ins, others through our fabulous advisors, and one or two will be addressed right here on the blog.

One question that pops up frequently regards certification.  As I’ve written before, and as is true today, there is no such thing as a nationally recognized patient advocacy certification –  period.  Therefore, there is no such thing as a “Certified Patient Advocate.”

However, from the conference, came this question, “If you go through a certificate program, you are not a “certified patient advocate?” Why the certificate program then?”

I believe this question comes from a misunderstanding about why certificate programs exist.

Patient advocacy certificate programs do not exist to create “certified patient advocates.”  They exist to fill holes in one’s knowledge.

When considering health advocacy as a career, it’s rare that most have the ability to go into business with no preparation.  The key, before they start, is to go through a list of what they still need to learn.

Possibilities:

Read more…

Advertisements

First Schueler Compass Award Winners

November 6, 2011 1 comment

The first AdvoConnection Business Institute is behind us – a grand learning time was had by all.

During the conference, the establishment of the H. Kenneth Schueler Patient Advocacy Compass Award was announced by our “mystery” keynote speaker – Alexandra Schueler, Ken’s daughter.  Her speech was one of the best I have ever heard in any venue, under any circumstances – quite remarkable for a young woman who is just starting out in the world.  Alexandra shared her dad with us, what she knew about his work, and his relationship to his work. She evoked laughter and tears, respect and compassion.  The audience was truly moved, and even those who had never heard of Ken and his work came to know the most important parts of him and his legacy.

And now we will further Ken’s legacy through this new award, described here.

To punctuate Alexandra’s talk, we announced the first winners of the Schueler Compass Award.

•  Ida Schnipper, friend of Ken and owner of Health Champion

•  Sima Kahn, MD, friend of Ken and owner of Healthcare Advocacy Partners

•  Jason McNichol, friend of Ken and president of Health Advocacy Solutions

These first three winners were chosen by Alexandra and me (Trisha Torrey) because they exemplify the high ideals that laid the foundation for Ken’s work and because they were all good friends and colleagues of Ken’s.  Then, because they are the first three, they were also asked to serve on the committee that will choose the winners in future years. Please wish them a hearty congratulations!

You can learn more about the award, and find a link to the application on the AdvoConnection website.  Deadline for the 2012 award is December 1, 2011.  We hope you will apply.

The Distinction that Can Make All the Difference

October 9, 2011 1 comment

Many of you, despite the fact that you are excellent advocates with outstanding patient advocacy skills, will not succeed as private advocates, because you don’t understand one important distinction.

Doesn’t really seem right, does it?

So what’s that distinction?  Well, it ties into the ongoing discussion about who does, or does not, have the capability to provide the skills patients need, and who will, or won’t, be able to do the work – that discussion about patients’ needs and fulfilling those needs.

Let’s look at it this way first:

Colleen has always loved houses, and has been the admin in a real estate company for almost 30 years. She has handled details upon details for others – from seller contracts to purchaser contracts, from arranging for home showings, to making phone calls to rustle up inspectors, to retrieving signs from a “sold” property’s front yard.  She knows her stuff, she’s done it all, she’s seen it all, and now she’s decided she wants to do real estate work on her own.  So Colleen quits her job, and goes into business for herself.

Colleen approaches her business very professionally, doing all the stuff she thinks she’s supposed to do.  She makes up business cards and some flyers.  She builds a website.  She lets everyone in her neighborhood and her church know that she’s got decades of real estate experience, and now she’s ready to help them list or buy a house. Yes, her phone rings on occasion, but… The business just doesn’t come in to support her well enough.  Eventually she takes a part time job so she can pay some of her bills.  But, of course, if she’s at work at her part time job, and people call her for help right away, she misses the opportunity.

Six months later, Colleen is forced to give up her dream of being in business for herself, doing what she loves and is passionate about.  She can’t support herself and the phone just doesn’t ring often enough.  But she just doesn’t understand it – Colleen can’t figure out why she can’t build a business.

What Colleen missed, the reason she can’t succeed, is the same reason many of you who read this will go out of business, too.  Until you recognize it and act on it, you are doomed to fail (unless, of course, you win the lottery and can be a patient advocate for free, with no worry about income….)

Read more…

Your Success as a Patient Advocate Isn’t About You

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment

There’s a guy who has developed the formula for determining winning lotto numbers correctly 92.6% of the time.  He’s so good at determining those winning numbers that all 50 states, plus the Irish Sweepstakes and the Nigerian Lottery, have banned him from playing their games.  He’s been escorted away from more scratch-off ticket vending machines than anyone can count.  And he lives around the corner from you.

Now – hold that thought.

…………………………………………..

Dorothy Anderson spent 28 years as a pediatric nurse, first in a busy peds practice where she had a marvelous reputation as a knowledgeable and caring professional. Then she spent many years in the neonatal unit of a busy hospital where she was part of a team that worked with some of the most at-risk babies to help them develop strong enough bodies to go home with their parents.  In short, Dorothy was the consummate professional.

Now, for a number of reasons, Dorothy has decided to become a patient advocate, focusing specifically on helping families with at-risk newborns who need continued care after they leave the hospital. Her credentials are impeccable.  Her business cards and website are professional.  But so far, she hasn’t had a single client.  The phone hasn’t even rung.

Kurt Schaefer spent a number of years as a hospital accountant.  He knows his way around a hospital bill, including understanding where hospitals can pad bills, and where the most mistakes are made.  But then he got laid off, and as a result, decided he would become a medical and hospital billing advocate.  So he made up his new business cards, got the local press to write about him and his advocacy work, and waited for the phone to ring.  And it did!  But the people who called were looking for someone to help them sort out their treatment options, or get a second opinion, or  help with their newborn who was just being discharged from the NICU.  And Kurt couldn”t help them with any of that.

Both Dorothy and Kurt, despite their excellent skills and experience, will go out of business before they even get started.  Why?  Not because they don’t have the skills and experience they need, but because the people who need them don’t know they are available to help.

Read more…

Got Business? AdvoConnection One Day Business Institute – Reserve Your Spot Now

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Most members of AdvoConnection are aware of the upcoming Business Institute, but for those of you who aren’t members – you are invited, too!

The cost to attend goes up this week, so this is the time to make your commitment.

Topics will include legal, insurance, marketing, tools, money and certification.  Here are some of the questions we will answer:

• Do you have the right insurance at the best price?
• What forms do you need and what makes your contracts legally binding?
• What’s the latest on certification issues?
• How can you deal with business problems your client poses, like not paying his bill, or refusing to sign important paperwork?
• Does your website put your best foot forward?
• What’s the best approach to social media marketing?
• How can you best price your services?
• How should you approach clients about payment?
• What does the IRS expect from you?
• What are some inexpensive ways to reach the right potential clients?
• What other types of services might you be able to offer?
• Who else is out there to help you improve and grow your business?

We’ll have plenty of opportunities for networking, too – including speed dating! (sort of…..)

And – a very special surprise guest will provide our keynote speech.  Join us – because there won’t be a dry eye in the place.

We do hope you can join us!  Thursday, November 3 in Berkeley, CA.

Learn more – and register here:  www.AdvoConnectionConference.com 

(I look forward to meeting you!)

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!

—————————————————–