Help Us Assess the LoveFest!

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Once upon a time, the word “advocate” was contentious: doctors didn’t want us in the room, nurses didn’t want us next to a hospital bed, and health insurers thought we patient advocates were nothing but troublemakers.

But in recent years there seems to have been a major shift in attitudes. I’m hoping you can help us assess that.

This point came up in several recent conversations with people who have been doing advocacy work for many years; who have been able to observe attitudes for quite awhile, and who tell me they have seen this shift with their own eyes.

The shift?  From wary standoffishness – to a lovefest! 

As follows:

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B*tching and Moaning – Therapeutic and Educational

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It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s always an eyeopener and usually quite unsettling.

When done well, and handled well, it can turn out to be therapeutic, and has the potential for great opportunity.

I’m talking about moaning, groaning, complaining and yes – b*tching. Whether it’s a client complaining about an advocate, or the other way around, sometimes it’s fair and understandable, sometimes not. Sometimes it can escalate. Other times it can be diffused.

In all cases we can learn from complaints. So let’s take a look.

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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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Pancakes, Snakes, Red Flags, and Advocacy

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You don’t have to be a huge fan of Dr. Phil’s to appreciate his delightful and useful sayings. He boils down important and sometimes complex concepts into downhome philosophy that helps us better understand our fellow human beings and our lives.

Today we’re going to focus on one of those sayings to improve our ability to ferret out those clients we should not work with (yes, I said, SHOULD NOT work with):

 “No matter how flat you make your pancake, it still has two sides.”

Advocacy stories are like those pancakes. They have at least two sides, too.

I raise this today after an exchange with an APHA member about a disconcerting client experience. That came on the heels of another advocate’s experience where, because of a simple typo on her directory profile, a potential client posted a negative review of her work.

Say what? Let’s look at both stories – and, in pancake style, their flip sides.

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