Start and Grow Your Independent, Private Advocacy Practice – Coming Soon!

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Coming Soon!

I’m happy to announce that my next book is now in the hands of the publisher, in the final stages of being edited, prepped and printed:

The Health Advocate’s Start and Grow Your Own Practice Handbook – is on its way.

Pre-orders are now available (through October 1.)
($10 off the total of cover price, plus shipping and handling).
Pre-ordered books will be mailed on or before November 1.

It’s a step-by-step guide, covering soup to nuts, for starting a one person, solo practice or a partnership of two or more people.  If your intent is to start up a multi-national corporation, then no – this book isn’t going to do that for you.  But if you have some good advocacy experience (navigation, billing, therapy, mediation or others) and you wish to start your own practice, for-profit or non-profit, then this book can get you there.  It includes details for advocates in both the United States and Canada.

And – the book comes with a bonus!  (See below)

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Getting Your Clients Past Magical Thinking

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Today’s post is very personal, reflecting a situation I believe many families go through, brought on by any number of attitudes and fears.  I’m hoping that by sharing it, you can find a role for your advocacy work.

It’s about providing a gift to some of your patients and their families – in effect, giving them permission to say no to further treatment.

As I thought about the situation, I remembered back to a blog post I had written almost four years ago called “When Is It Time to Just Say NO to Further Treatment?”  When I wrote it, I was referring to my mother who at the time was in her 10th year of her Alzheimer’s diagnosis and had little or no cognition left, yet my father kept insisting she be treated for every urinary tract infection (UTI) she acquired (or, perhaps more like, never really got rid of.)  It made no sense to me, yet Dad was just so desperate to keep Mom alive.

My post was based on this article from the New York Times:  In Cancer Therapy, There Is a Time to Treat and a Time to Let Go which talks about patients desperately insisting on treatment, even though it not only won’t prolong their lives, but will actually cause them more distress. In effect, helping them get past (what many experts call) Magical Thinking.

The question is:  Who suggests to the patient and family that a treatment isn’t magical?  Who helps them get past wishful thinking and into reality?  Who says to a cancer patient, “Chemo is toxic, and while you might get an extra week or two on this earth, you’ll be sicker for that time – your quality of life cannot be improved. Are you sure you still want to put yourself through that?” ??? Continue Reading →


Just Can’t Throw Your Business Switch? The Paralysis of Analysis

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See if this describes you:

You’ve been thinking about becoming a private health or patient advocate for awhile.  You know you can do it, you truly WANT to do it, you know people need help with their medical system challenges…

But something, undefined, just holds you back.

You may have taken courses in patient or health advocacy.  Maybe you’ve been a volunteer advocate for your family members, or friends. Everyone you know thinks it’s a great step for you.  You’ve connected with others who want to be advocates.  You’re quite good at getting at the heart of challenges patients face so you aren’t too concerned about whether you could actually do the work.

But something, you’re not sure what, just holds you back… You just can’t seem to make that leap from being a volunteer who steps in to help, to being a professional, privately-paid, patient advocate or navigator in your own private patient advocacy practice.

Sound familiar?

This is a conversation I have frequently with almost-advocates.  The most recent was this week with a PACE member of AdvoConnection, one of the most knowledgeable advocates I know.  But she hasn’t flipped that switch yet.  No – so far – she just hasn’t officially opened her practice.  She just hasn’t thrown that switch.

It’s called the paralysis of analysis – our tendency to over think, to worry that we’re not doing something exactly right, to be concerned that we’ve missed some important detail…. to the point where it stops us in our tracks.

The good news? There IS a cure. The bad news?  That paralysis of analysis keeps us from pursuing that cure, actually makes us do things we would never do otherwise and, worst of all, prevents those patients we would help from finding us and getting the help they need.

In other words – if you are among the paralyzed, there are people getting sicker or poorer because you haven’t thrown that switch.

There are a number of reasons I’ve been able to identify that cause the paralysis of analysis, and they are all about questioning one’s capabilities:

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Some High Profile Marketing and a Review Opportunity, Too

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Deviating from my usual advice or issues-type post, I have a couple of invitations for you today.  In both cases you’ll be helping yourself and helping future health or patient advocates, too.

Invitation #1:

Tell a success story.  Many of you know that (in my “other life”) I write about patient empowerment – issues, concerns, advice and tips.  One thing I am reminded of every day is that many people have no idea that such a service as private patient advocacy exists. They may even see references to patient or health advocates or navigators who can help them weather their medical care challenge storms.  But because we don’t have a lot of public examples, they don’t understand when such a service might be useful to them.

I want everyone to have an advocate – just like everyone knows a real estate agent to call, or knows when it’s time to call their lawyer or someone to help with their taxes.  Especially with the confusion of the upcoming implementation of healthcare reform, having a private advocate to call will become a necessity.

So how do we accomplish that more widespread realization on the part of patients and caregivers that the help they need is out there and ready to help them?

This time we’re going to leverage the power of storytelling combined with the several hundred pageviews a month that come to my patient empowerment articles.  And when I say “we” – I hope you are going to pitch in!

If you are a professional advocate – please tell a story of a patient whose outcomes improved because you were there to help out You don’t need to tell a long or complicated story. You can tell about one successful aspect of your work even for a client who required extensive services.  Just provide a good example of something you were able to accomplish that improved that client’s experience with the healthcare system.  And – you can sign your name and designate your location, if you would like to (not required – but that’s the marketing part!)

Invitation #2:

Provide a review.  You may know about the website AdvoConnection sponsors that lists and provides information about all the advocacy education programs, events and organizations available to help promote our chosen career field.  Called Health Advocate Programs (original, right?) – it lists every known opportunity for furthering the skills and knowledge of advocates of all flavors.

If you have been a student of any patient or health advocacy program, or if you have ever attended one of the listed events, or if you have been a member of any of the organizations – we would like your opinion about them!  By providing a brief review, you’ll be helping others decide what is worth their time, energy and money – AND – for those programs that have not met or exceeded your expectations, you’ll be helping them improve their offerings.

There are a few rules and parameters (like – you can choose whether or not to identify yourself publicly) – so take a look at the review information.  You can either link directly to the review form, or, you can find your way to the listing of the program, event or organization you’ve participated in, and find a link to make your review from there.

So that’s it!  Two invitations – to help yourself and to help others.

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