One of my favorite words: Chutzpah! Pronounced “hoots-pah.” A Yiddish word translated as “shameless audacity” or “supreme self-confidence,” as in (according to Merriam-Webster) “personal confidence or courage that allows someone to do or say things that may seem shocking to others.”
…. and sometimes a trait required by the most effective of health and patient advocates.
- Do you have chutzpah?
- And more importantly, do you know how and when to use it?
I ask this because I think there are appropriate times, and inappropriate times, when an advocate needs to showcase his or her chutzpah. Lately I have experienced both, and I wonder how that translates to its use for clients. I know some of you experience it, too.
Having chutzpah, and being able to use it, means you have enough confidence in what you are asking for that you believe you are entitled to, or possibly deserving of the outcome you request.
An example: your elderly client is in the hospital, sharing a room, and a single room comes open across the hall. You know your client would be much happier in that single room, so you ask to have him moved. Of course, they have already determined that someone else who is private pay is going to get that room, but you make the case (just enough of a stink) and ultimately your client finds himself alone in that single room. Yes, you demonstrated your chutzpah. Now your client is happier.
Another client-related example might be when that same client gets the bill for that single hospital room, which wasn’t approved by Medicare, and for which you now argue with the billing department to have the extra charges removed from his bill. After all, you believe it was crucial to his ability to heal. And, oh, by the way, you’ll do your best to be sure he doesn’t need to return to the hospital within that 30 day window, meaning they won’t lose money on his readmission. <<wink wink>>
That’s chutzpah! But – does it cross a line? Is it more like bribery? or blackmail? or…. ?
That’s the big question. Where is the line? And is it appropriate to cross it?