Successes, Failures, and My Biggest Surprise

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12 years. While on the one hand, 12 years seems like a looong time, on the other hand, it has gone by in the blink of an eye.

I’m referring to the 12 years I’ve focused my professional life on building the profession of independent health and patient advocacy, having made the decision in 2007 to begin building an online presence for advocates through the AdvoConnection Directory website. It eventually launched in Fall 2009* and evolved to become The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates.

So I’ve been giving thought to what I consider to be our biggest successes, biggest failures, and biggest surprises during this time, and that’s what I’m sharing with you today. These are my own opinion, of course!  You might make other choices. See what you think:

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How Much Do Patient Advocates Charge?

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If someone asked me what question I am asked most frequently, I’d tell them the answer is some variation of this family of questions:

  • How much do advocates charge for their services?
  • What is the hourly rate for patient advocates?
  • How much do patient advocates make?
  • How much money do patient advocates get paid?
  • What is the average amount a patient advocate charges?

We’ll begin by answering these questions with a question (bad form, but it makes our point…)

  • How much does it cost to take a vacation?
  • What does it cost to go to college?
  • How much more can I make if I get a new job?

Think about those questions for a minute: they are actually kind of silly. In fact, there is only ONE answer; the same answer to the questions about advocates, cost, and pricing.

It depends.

So of course, now you want to know… “Depends on what?” There are two answers:

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To Gain a New Client, You’ll Have to Break 2 Bad Habits

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The phone rings. It’s a new, potential client calling. You answer, “This is Joan Advocate. May I help you?”

The client, Juanita, is relieved to hear your friendly voice. She launches into her story about the doctor not listening to her, and that she can’t fill her prescription because it’s too expensive. Then she asks if you can help her.

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The Sinkhole

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Regular readers of this blog know a couple of things about me.

For one thing, they know I live in Florida, having moved here from Upstate NY two years ago, no longer willing to freeze my cabungus off during the winter. (Or, as my husband phrases it, “you don’t have to shovel 90 degrees!”)

They also know many of my blog posts are metaphorical, based on inspiration I get from my daily life which at times is well, yes, pretty darn metaphorical!

And thus we set the stage for today’s post – The Sinkhole. Pure Florida. Pure Metaphor. See what you think.

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When Life Defies Logic

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…then it’s time to get logical. And logic will triumph!

As many readers know, I’m in the process of coordinating our APHA Summits. We had our first Summit adventure in San Diego a few weeks ago. What a delight! We all learned so much from each other!  Next up… Newark / NYC, then on to Chicago, and two new groups of passionate advocates. (I can’t wait!)

What few people understand is the amount of preparation required to make these Summits happen. It’s not so simple as everyone showing up in the same place at the same time to connect with each other. Planning actually begins many months in advance when cities and venues are chosen, initial contacts are signed, the website and registration are set up… much to prepare.

Then in the last few weeks prior to each event, the actual choices are made for room set-ups (round tables? classroom style?), food choices (vegetarian? gluten-free? nut allergies?), and AV needs (are we doing powerpoint?  do we need a projector, screen, or wifi?)

Of course, each choice comes with a price tag. Hotel price tags vary. And sometimes, those price tags defy logic. And I mean DEFY LOGIC!

Which is one reason I say – when life defies logic, it’s time to get logical. As follows:

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