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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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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3 Myths About Building an Independent Advocacy Practice

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The real shame of this new series of posts is that it’s the result of feedback from people who gave up on their dreams of starting and growing independent, private advocacy practices.

The further shame is that all those patients who they might have helped will not get their help, and may never get what they need from the healthcare system.

Over the years, hundreds of people have come and gone in our profession. My educated guess: for every 10 who take the early steps toward fulfilling their dreams, only 2 or 3 have succeeded. Further, the people one might expect would be the successes have, instead, given up.

Why do so many walk away? Because before they started, they assumed things about starting and growing an independent practice that just aren’t true, usually without realizing they had made an assumption.

So that’s our topic for the next few posts: The myths that too many advocate wannabes buy into, eventually forcing them to walk away from their dreams.

We’ll begin with the first 3:

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