Revisiting the Mean Girls in Our New Advocacy Environment

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The “mean girls” are at it again… or so I’ve been warned by a handful of APHA members.

I’m not sure I agree. But I know one thing for sure: the world of the mean girls has shifted.

Who are the “mean girls?”  I first applied the moniker about three years ago to refer to nurses who believed that no one should be a patient advocate unless he or she is a nurse. I cited instances when a small handful of nurses had bullied other non-nurse advocates both at conferences, and through emails – yes, actively bullied. I outlined once and for all, and very specifically, all the reasons one does not need to be a nurse to be an effective patient advocate. None of that has changed.

Now – because in the past I have been accused of stepping on nurses’ toes when I bring this up (which is never my intention) – let me be perfectly clear. I LOVE nurses! I LOVE their passion and commitment to improving the lives and quality of lives of their patients! I respect nurses for their knowledge, experience, and abilities! And I wholeheartedly support their segue into the world of independent advocacy, with gratitude that they are willing to move to the bright side.

I am also very sure that the “mean girl” concept applies only to a VERY small handful; and certainly not to all nurse-patient-advocates.

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Should Insurance Provide Reimbursement to Independent Advocates?

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I had interesting conversations with someday-advocates last week. I love those conversations; I always learn something from them which I can then bring back to the Alliance and the information we share with members.

And then again, sometimes the questions I hear are the same ones that have cropped up over and over again, including today’s question:  Is there insurance reimbursement for the work of an independent advocate?

This time, I’m going to answer that question with a few questions of my own.

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That Very Very Thin Line – Do NOT Be Tom!

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My husband and I moved two years ago to Florida where we now live in an “active adult” community*. We love it! We’re very happy here. We’ve met and made many new friends – people we have truly come to care about.

I’m following in family footsteps.  My parents did the same thing decades ago. They lived in a different city, but they, too, lived in an active adult community for 20+ years.

My father, in a somewhat macabre voice, always called it “God’s Waiting Room.”

And, as I learned again this past week, it turns out that we now live in God’s Waiting Room, too.

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How Is Patient Advocacy Like Doing the Laundry?

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Would you ever hire someone to do your laundry?

Many of us would answer Yes! Of course! — IF we had the money. A big IF!

I suspect, however, that most of us would say no, knowing that washers and dryers make it easy to get the family laundry done, even if we dislike the task.  Further, we all think we know how to get our clothes clean (short of occasional coffee and ketchup stains). Even if we feel laundry-challenged, it doesn’t seem to be enough of a problem that we would actually pay someone else to do it.

However, last week I met a gentleman, Mr. Santello, who had just hired a woman named Gloria to do his laundry. It turns out that finding someone to wash, dry, and sometimes iron his clothes was more of a challenge than he expected. He said he called 11 different people before finding Gloria, and even then, he had to agree to her “exorbitant prices.”

Why was it so hard for Mr. Santello to find someone to do his laundry?

And how does that apply to patient advocacy?

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Channeling Oliver Twist and the Two Steps of MORE

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This past week, for the first time, AdvoConnection Directory-listed APHA members were able to access their statistics (analytics) for their AdvoConnection profiles.

  • How many visitors found the advocate’s profile in the last month?
  • How many of those visitors were unique? (first visits)
  • How long did they stay, on average, to read the profile?

Of course, the idea for each listed advocate is to try to improve upon those numbers, month over month, knowing that the MORE people who contact them, the MORE clients they may end up working with…

Or, with a nod to Charles Dickens, and channeling Oliver Twist, “Please Sir! I want some more!”

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