Fashionistas! What Hats Does an Advocate Wear?

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I played golf the other day with a group of women I didn’t know well. I came away from the round being less pleased with my golf game (I really can’t putt!), but much pleased with the conversation and its application for our health and patient advocacy profession. In fact, I was so pleased with it, I went home and recorded notes so I could remember the conversation to share with you.

The ladies I played with were very curious about advocates. They all had healthcare horror stories to share. One had recently been through some bad medical experiences with her husband. One by one throughout the morning, she told me about some healthcare system transgression he (they) had suffered. For each one, I described to her some ways an independent advocate might have helped (with the emphasis on “independent” for all the obvious reasons.)

Ultimately the conversation produced a list of “hats” – the many kinds of help and support an advocate can provide. It wasn’t a list of services, such as the list we’ve included on the AdvoConnection Directory site. Instead it was more about benefits and support.

So I share this list with you today and invite you to add to it below. Each hat completes the sentence: An (independent) advocate is a _________________.

Of course, not all advocates wear all these hats, but all advocates wear at least some of them.

So, advocate fashionistas… What hats can you add to the list?

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The Biggest Risk in Life: Are You Living the Life You Want to Live?

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A few days ago, I heard from Beatrice (not her real name), an APHA member who has been successfully running her patient advocacy practice for several years.  We met a few years ago when she and her husband attended APHA workshops. I’ve been impressed ever since with their go-getter attitudes and their ability to create the business they wanted to have.

Until this week.

Beatrice, a young advocate by our typical demographics (I’m guessing her age here… maybe late 40s? possibly 50) wrote to tell me she had suffered a heart attack in December. Yes. Really.

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What You Should Know, But Haven’t Asked, about Patient Advocate Certification (And what does Goldilocks have to do with it?)

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There was big excitement last week as the launch for the first Patient Advocate Certification exam took place. From the massive email that went out on January 31 (1700+ people!) to the most-attended-ever APHA Expert Call-in called “Ask the PACB: Prep for the First Exam” – it’s clear there is huge interest in certification for our relatively new profession of health and patient advocacy.

And that’s for good reason!

As more and more people consider advocacy as a profession, it becomes imperative to identify, develop, and maintain the important standards and ethics required to keep the profession highly elevated and respected. One of the few ways we can do so is through development of a very rigorous expectation of standards and ethics, and then to make sure only the cream rises to the top through certification.

That’s what the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB) has done.

During registration for the Expert Call-in, registrants were invited to ask questions about the exam. During the call, every question they had posed was answered. (Find a link to the podcast, available to the public, below.)

But there were a few questions no one asked. Their answers might support your ability to pass the exam, to earn your BCPA (Board Certified Patient Advocate credential), and to effectively promote your newly achieved certification when you do.

I believe the reason they weren’t asked is because of some assumptions made that are untrue. Yes – we all know about assumptions!

So here are the questions, with their answers, in no particular order. You’d do well to review them as you consider sitting for the certification exam.

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The Last Four Myths About Starting an Independent Advocacy Practice

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This is week 3 of our series, and includes the final four myths about starting, building, and growing an independent patient advocacy or care management practice.

To remind you, these myths are based on the comments I’ve heard from advocates who (I’m sorry to say) failed at getting a practice started, not because they don’t know how to be good advocates (they do!) but because they tried to get started despite their misconceptions about what it would be like to do so.

Here are the final four myths for you to consider, in hopes these misconceptions aren’t yours. Or, if they are, we hope this helps you reconsider, and take steps to be sure they don’t sink your advocacy practice.

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3 More Myths About Building a Successful Independent Advocacy Practice

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We began last week with this series of myths about starting, building, and growing an independent patient advocacy or care management practice.

As a reminder, these myths are based on the comments I’ve heard from advocates who just couldn’t get a practice going – who (sad to say) failed – not because they don’t know how to be good advocates (they do!) but because they tried to get started despite their misconceptions about what it would be like to do so.

This week we have three more of those myths for you to consider, in hopes these misconceptions aren’t yours. Or, if they are, helping you to get past them.

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