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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What Matt Lauer Can Teach Us About Private, Independent Advocacy

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The shocking news last week (although not-so-shocking to some) that Matt Lauer had been kicked to the curb by NBC came in tandem with an email conversation with a newly minted health advocate who wanted to be listed in the AdvoConnection Directory, but who has a little (not so little) problem with her website and marketing materials.

It struck me that Lauer’s behavior, as he faced accusations, even though the circumstances are NOT at all the same, provides a lesson to share with you.

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Have You Crossed the Line?

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Yes – it’s entirely possible you’ve crossed the line and had no idea you did so. In fact, you may be crossing it every day and be totally unaware. Further, except that I’m going to illustrate some line crossing, you might never realize it until you are sued, or arrested, or a client loses out on something important, or you lose your license for crossing the line, regardless of the fact that you had no idea that’s what you were doing.

What line? you might ask…

Actually, there are several – and you may be crossing more than one.

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Do You Pass the Trust Muster? Says Who? Announcing Background Checks for Health Advocates

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We were all there at one time; that point in early adulthood when we realized we needed someone to guide us as we saved money for our futures and retirement. We didn’t understand much (if anything at all) about investing, or 401Ks or IRAs or REITs or annuities. We were confused. We thought we would miss something important.

We needed an expert – an investment advisor!  Someone who truly understood all this investing and saving stuff, terminology, possibilities, to help make it happen…. Someone who could hold our hands over time as needed….

Someone we could trust with our money. Someone we would trust to hold our futures in their hands.

A VERY tall order!

So how did we find that right person?  We asked friends and others we trusted if they could recommend someone. We might have interviewed a few advisors. These days, many people go to the Internet to try to figure it out. But most of us didn’t have that tool when we started saving, so we relied on recommendations, and sometimes on credentials they had earned, or bonds they held.

For most of us it probably worked out just fine. If the first one or two didn’t work out as we liked, we had the liberty of making a change. Many variables including our working track records, our ability to set money aside, and the knowledge and abilities of that person we eventually trusted to recommend investments have affected our savings as time has gone on. For most of us, it remains to be seen whether we made the right choices for the long haul.

But clearly – our entire financial futures have been predicated on our abilities to find the right person to TRUST with our money.

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