Assessing Value: The Cost of Meat and Potatoes

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An Open Letter to an Advocate Who Questions Her APHA Membership

Received last week from Esther (not her real name):

If you would please clarify a few things I’d really appreciate it.It’s time for my PACE membership to renew and I am trying to decide whether to spend that money.

I want to have my name listed in your directory in the future, but your Premium membership is quite out of my budget. . Do you not offer beginner discounts?

Secondly, I currently am an unemployed family caregiver and have no income. A basic renewal at $49, which is more in my budget, is only for 6 months time, why not a full year? And it really lacks access to the meat and potatoes of your site which would most benefit me starting out in this line of service.

So as you may have gathered, I’m at a crossroads for renewing at this point in time. I’m trying to understand the real value in APHA membership for me. Perhaps you have other financial options for people in my situation?

I do look forward to hearing from you.

My reply to Esther:

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Atychi-what? Overcoming Atychiphobia

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Over the years, dozens of professional advocate wannabes have talked to me about fear, including

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of doing the wrong thing for a client
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of losing their savings
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of making a mistake in their work
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of standing up to authority
  • Fear of failure

If your fears stand in the way of your success, then you have only two choices:

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Starting Out? Why a Non-Profit Practice Is NOT the Right Answer for You

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This is a question – or a statement – I hear frequently from those who wish to be independent health or patient advocates who are considering which business formation they need to set up to be independent.*

After considerations of LLCs, or S-Corps or others, they tell me they want to establish a non-profit, then ask me if we offer resources to help them.

Fay is one such advocate wannabe. She asked, “Do you have any advice for establishing a non-profit or not-for-profit agency to help patients?”

Unfortunately, her question was being asked for the wrong reasons.

Why?

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How Does a Patient Choose the Best Advocate to Hire?

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I’ve been working on updating the AdvoConnection Directory website because it was time, because search engines look favorably upon updates. And because my not-frequent-enough review of the site’s analytics produced a big surprise!

A surprise I’ll share with you here today.

To be clear – no changes were made to the actual search and profile areas – those all belong to our listed advocates who make those changes themselves.

Instead, I edited and updated the support pages – everything from the homepage to the About Us page to the “how to choose and interview an advocate” page.

For some background:  I monitor and track the advocate listing pages diligently (and encourage our listed members to monitor their own – we provide them with stats each month.)  I know people are finding our advocates in the Directory in HUGE numbers (examples: 16,000+ in January and 15,500+ in February, a shorter month, of course).

However – true confessions here – as in “do as I say, and not as I do” – I rarely look at the analytics on the basic site pages.Just not something I make time for… although as I learned this week – I should!  Because I was actually very surprised by what I learned.

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The Momma Test

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Over the years, one of my favorite things to do has been to work with / speak to / address college students. They are young, aren’t yet set in their ways, still hope to save the world, are naive to the “follow the money” aspects of healthcare and, honestly, it’s just plain fun.

Last week I had the privilege of participating in an ethics debate for a well-known and respected university in a course called Controversies in Healthcare (medical, legal, and bio ethics), to a combination group of law students and medical students, on the topic of independent advocacy – vs – hospital advocacy. My co-debater was the Director of Ombudsman at a very well-known and respected hospital system.

The idea, since it was a “controversies” class, was that we were supposed to argue that our own solutions were the better solutions, and that the opposing solution was not a good choice.

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