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A One Word Resolution for All Advocates

January 2, 2012 6 comments

Greetings at the top of new year, with hopes you had a great holiday season and you’re getting prepped for success in 2012.

I always feel a bit of inertia after taking a break, or a vacation, or when my world has slowed down for some deep breath-taking for awhile…. that is, my body at rest still wants to stay at rest!  And when I hear about “resolutions” – geesh – that sounds too much like work.

So, as we are bombarded by media talking about this resolution or that, I have one simple one for many of you – not much work at all.  There will be some of you who find this suggestion already ingrained in your lexicon.  But for others, it’s a habit worth breaking, or a good one worth establishing, for a few different reasons.

That habit is breaking the use of the word “patient” when we talk about the people we work with.  If you use that term, then today is your day to stop.  Instead, shift to using the word “client.”

Why?  Read more…

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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!)

Patient Advocates and HIPAA

June 27, 2011 2 comments

Lately I’ve run into questions and discussions about patient advocates or navigators and HIPAA , so it seems a good topic for today’s post.

I’ll begin with a disclaimer:  there’s no one on this green planet that can give you ALL the answers as they relate to HIPAA!  No, not even the lawyers who live it every day.  It’s complex and daunting.  But there are some basics that might be useful.  I’ve learned about them in my work and writing for patients.

Here are the basics that can be useful to advocates:

1.  It’s HIPAA, not HIPPA.  HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act.  Notice, it doesn’t say anything about information (which is what it’s really about), nor does it say anything about patients.

2.  HIPAA was originally  intended to protect patient information from falling into the “wrong” hands electronically.  The laws were passed in the 1990s as fax machines were being used more and more and the Internet was beginning to be used to share personal information. HIPAA was intended to address any sort of electronic sharing of records.

Read more…

It’s the Universe Calling: Time for Plan B

A few months ago, I was invited to speak in June during a one-day program for members of the Pennsylvania Bar Association on the topic of recovering from a catastrophe.  Attorneys who attend will learn about the things they need to do should something devastating happen in their lives (an accident, caregiving for a loved one, a fire, whatever….)

About ten days ago, I heard from a dear dear friend that he has been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Prognosis, just a few months. I am devastated – my heart just aches for him, his family, and yes, for myself, too.  And I wonder…. he is a small business owner…. what will become of his business and his clients?

Then this weekend, I was approached to review a new book, written by a doctor who, as a result of a devastating car accident in 2005, became a patient himself and dissected all that was wrong with his care.  Included in his story is the fact that he has given up his thriving practice of gastroenterology, a practice which had to take a back seat as he recovered from his injuries.

Which is when (yes, I’m slow….) I realized that the universe was telling me something.  Or at least posing this question:  As advocates, as people who others rely on, how prepared are WE for devastation in our lives and, importantly, how that will affect THEM?

How many of us have a Plan B?

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!

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The 2011 AdvoConnection Business Institute!

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Doctor Recommendations – Do You? Should You?

January 22, 2011 3 comments

I was more than a little surprised in a conversation this week with an advocate who is not (yet) a member of AdvoConnection.  OK. That’s putting it mildly. I was actually stunned.

“Why do people feel well served by you?” I asked him.

“Because I have a beeline into all the good doctors,” he replied.  And when I asked him to explain further, he said it was because he knew the best doctors to recommend.

[Pause. Letting that sink in…]

In conversations with both long-time advocates, and lawyers, too… and honestly – what makes common sense – is that a patient advocate should never make a recommendation about a doctor.

Here’s why:

Read more…