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Why We Should Avoid Using the Title “Certified Patient Advocate”

December 11, 2011 4 comments

It’s a big question among patient and health advocates – whether or not someone is considered “certified” as a patient advocate. Last week I answered a question that came from an advocate about why someone would bother taking a course or finishing a program if they wouldn’t be considered “certified” at the end….

But there are even bigger considerations – some food for thought for those who disagree with my stand about claiming certification.

I believe the use of “Certified Patient Advocate,” in these early stages of the profession’s development has the potential of hurting both you, as an individual advocate, and the potential of hurting the profession, too.

Here’s why that “certified” title hurts both the profession and you, too:

Read more…

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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…

Forum Fireworks Tackle the Question: Who Is Qualified to Be a Patient Advocate?

September 19, 2011 8 comments

Fireworks erupted in the AdvoConnection Forum recently.  I call them fireworks because those involved are so passionate about their work – no matter what their points of view. Fireworks are awe-inspiring and truly beautiful, even if they don’t accomplish much, which is exactly what transpired.

The questions and statements that caused that passion are worth sharing here, because they can help all of us clarify our roles in this growing profession of patient advocacy and navigation.

The inital question was ” I’d love to hear from advocates –like me– who do not have medical credentials –about how you position yourself in the market. Why should someone choose us when they can get an RN advocate?”

What the discussion evolved to was: Who is qualified to offer patient advocacy services?  Who is “good enough” or experienced enough or worthy of the title?  What roles do patient advocates and navigators play in their work with their clients?

And, like in any argume… I mean… fireworks display, there were some bright shining stars, some explosions, some oooo’s and aaahhh’s – and some duds.

I won’t recreate the discussion because, frankly, it stands by itself in points, counterpoints and personalities.

But I will provide some commentary to share with everyone, whether or not you are a part of AdvoConnection’s Forum, because these are the truths I hold for this marvelous profession which exists to serve the patients and caregivers who desperately need us:

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!)

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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The Myth of Patient Advocacy Certification

January 3, 2011 17 comments

Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t write to me asking about patient advocacy certification.  It’s confusing, because they read that there are courses that will help them become certified, and then they find other pieces I have written about the lack of a certification system.

So it’s time to clarify:

There is a difference between earning a certificate – and being certified, even if Merriam Webster might tell you those two concepts are related.

“To be certified” carries with it an assumption that there is some sort of national (even international) accreditation, recognition, or standard set of skills that someone has developed and earned.  As if a national body of some sort has said “Yes – this person meets this high standard of education and capability, so we are blessing him or her with our certification.”

“To be certified” may even mean to some people that some sort of governmental recognition in the form of a license or listing has taken place.

But there are no governments, nor nationally respected, nor generally accepted groups that have determined a group of standards, nor benchmarks, nor capabilities that supply a certification that is universally recognized.

And that is the key:  none are universally recognized. No such a certification exists, nor is one in the works – yet.

The confusion comes from the fact…

 

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Find the rest of this post in its new location: 
http://advoconnectionblog.com/2011/01/03/the-myth-of-patient-advocacy-certification/

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