Eight Hour Day? Get Paid for Sixteen

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Businesswoman juggling responsabilitiesPatient advocate Joan H. Elper has been an independent advocate for more than a year now. She has worked with seven clients during that time, and is growing her practice slowly but surely. Her focus is medical-navigational in nature, helping mostly elderly parents of the adult children who hire her understand what their doctors tell them. She also has two cancer patients who want to self-direct their care more than the doctors would like, so some of Joan’s reward comes from seeing those clients make informed decisions based on their own wants and needs, and finding that their doctors have actually respected them for it in the long run.

As she continues to build her practice, Joan sees three potential problems. First, that she has trouble scheduling her work. Some days she works 12 or 14 hours. Other days, she twiddles her thumbs. She’s afraid to grow her business because she doesn’t know what she’ll do if more clients require more than those particularly hours-heavy days. Yet – problem #2 – she’ll never make the kind of money she wants to make if she can’t take on more clients. Further – problem #3 – she really hates marketing. She’s been lucky so far because her church pastor has referred the clients she’s working with, but she knows she can’t build a business just on his referrals.

Joan has been mulling over one idea. Two of her clients have asked her to review their medical bills. Joan and those clients know there may be mistakes in those bills and they may need to be negotiated. But she turned them down because she doesn’t feel as if that’s a competency she has.

So – Joan’s great business building idea, the one that she believes will solve all three of her business problems? …

She has decided she’ll take some courses in medical billing and coding, and then she’ll have a new skill that can help her clients. Even though she has always hated math, bookkeeping and bill paying, if she knows how to do it, she’ll be able to replace those thumb-twiddling hours, she’ll be able to make more money because she won’t have to say “no” – and best yet – she won’t have to do any marketing! Bingo!  All problems solved in one swell foop.

Joan asked me – what do you think of my idea, Trisha?

Not much, I told her. (Although I let her down gently. Right direction…. unworkable solution.)

And since this is a common conversation, I thought I’d share the solution with you, too.

Let’s start with a different assessment of Joan’s situation.  Her business problem is that she doesn’t have enough appropriate billable hours; those hours where she actually brings in revenue doing something people will pay her for that she is good at and can build a reputation for. Further, she’s afraid to grow the size of her clientele because they don’t need her on a time-even basis.

Trying to even out the hours she has now by performing medical billing reviews and negotiations might work – but it probably won’t. Most medical billing advocates have many years of experience working biller-side prior to shifting to direct-to-patient work. What takes them one hour will take Joan 3 or 4!

Further, Joan loves to do is the medical navigational work, yet she’s looking to commit her time to work she really doesn’t like. So her decisions are based on maximizing income only, to the expense of the entire reason she went into advocacy to start with – because she loves working with people, helping them navigate the healthcare system.

Does that sound like a solution to you?  No – it does not.

Further, suppose Joan’s clientele begins to grow despite her lack of marketing? Word of mouth, or more referrals from her pastor…  what is she supposed to do then?  One thing none of us can do is expand the number of work hours in a day.  Time – and how it relates to money – will continue to be a juggling act.

So let’s try something different. Let’s look at a solution that will help Joan even out her time, allow her to say YES! to the medical billing services questions (without having to do any medical billing work herself), will allow her to do more and more of the work she loves, will maximize her income, and even further, might eventually mean she hardly has to do much marketing at all.

Find here Joan’s solution – one that is far more workable and beneficial to Joan and her clients, and can propel her practice to the income level she wants….

(Clicking on the clink above will require you to log into the APHA membership website.  Once you have logged in, you can click on that link and it will take you to the full post with step-by-step instructions. Or, you can find a link from your Dashboard.)

Want to view the solution, but aren’t a member of the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates?  Then this is the perfect time for you to join us!

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The 2014 Schueler Patient Advocacy Compass Award… and the winner is…
Doing What You Love Right Into a Hole

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