5 Lousy Excuses for Walking Away from an Advocacy Practice – and 1 Very Good One

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The blame game has been on my mind recently after several emails or phone conversations, plus the results of an exit survey offered when APHA memberships expire. In all cases, people gave reasons (as in, excuses) for why they felt like it was time to give up their practices or let their memberships expire.

In almost every case where someone actually started a practice, then decided to step away, they blame some part of their practice that didn’t work out. They wanted to be independent advocates. They certainly expected to succeed when they got started. Their passion and drive were clearly there!  But – they failed. And there is always a reason, or more like a lousy excuse.

It makes me sad, because they have given up dreams, because there will be people who don’t get the help they need, and because if they had been more diligent, those negatives didn’t need to happen.

Thus today’s post. Because the rest of us can learn so much from lousy excuses!  Here are five of them (in no particular order), along with the reasons why they don’t hold water.  Plus one great reason to walk away – one we can all admire.

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Open Enrollment – Confusion Spells Opportunity

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What a MESS Open Enrollment is this year!  No matter where your health insurance comes from – an employer, the Obamacare exchanges, or Medicare – it’s changed up, switched up, and more confusing than it has ever been.

YOU, as an independent health or patient advocate or care manager live (and fight) in this world of “let’s make money from patients even if we have to deny the services they need” world. You know what it’s like having to get a treatment, or claim, or hospitalization approved for someone who has inadequate insurance coverage. You know what it’s like when they ask you to help them get a bill reduced, or when the doctor they have been seeing for years suddenly won’t accept their insurance anymore. You know what it’s like when they realize that the hospital they were rushed to in an ambulance isn’t even in their insurance network.

You understand their confusion. You may even be confused yourself.

This year we’re going to experience the added confusion of the changes the new administration in Washington has made, including reduced subsidies, reduced Open Enrollment period, and the resulting upset when people find out their current coverage is no longer being offered (several of the largest insurers have dropped out of the ACA marketplaces). And that’s just Open Enrollment. What’s going to happen when the reality of 2018 sets in, and we all have to function under the new rules?

But – here’s the good news. We are business owners!  As such, we never hear negativity in the word “confusion.” Instead, when we hear the word “confusion” – we hear OPPORTUNITY!

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My Person! My People! Building Partnerships, Expanding Your Practice

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Are you a TV watcher?  I am. Big time. I love TV.  And because of that, more often than I care to admit, I draw inspiration from TV shows and characters. (As a side confession here, we’ve been binge-watching The West Wing, and have found that comparing it to today’s presidential politics is like marrying whiplash to an out-of-body experience. Right? But I digress….)

Today we’re going to draw inspiration from three very different, very diverse TV personalities or characters:  weatherman Al Roker from the Today Show, Elmo from Sesame Street, and Meredith Gray of Gray’s Anatomy.

Stay tuned… we’ll return to them in a moment after a word from…

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What Do You Believe? Why? A Marketing Proposition

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What do you do for a living? What sort of business do you run?

That’s a classic business question, and those who understand marketing and PR, and have been in business during the last decade, might respond to the questions with their “elevator pitch.”

If you’re not familiar with that term “elevator pitch”, you should be. An elevator pitch is a 10-20 second (yes, second!) overview of your business, so-named because you should be able to deliver it to a fellow passenger in the time it takes you to share an elevator ride to the top floor of a not-very-tall building.

I’m the founder and CEO of Jane’s Advocacy Services in Terre Haute. We provide health care support and navigation services for older patients who need someone to hold their hands. Unlike hospital patient advocates or social workers, we can be there 24/7, at home or in the hospital. We provide peace of mind to our clients and their concerned adult children.

Thing is – elevator pitches are just so 2008! They may still have their place but they have mostly been replaced…

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Wind, Rain, Destruction – and Metaphors

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APHA members received a note from us this week with some expectation management. That is… we’re prepared, and are hunkering down, for Hurricane Irma. Our offices, located in Central Florida, will likely lose power over the next few days as Irma makes her way through; meaning, of course, that office communication may come to a standstill until power is restored.

Honestly – it’s like knowing you’re about to get a tooth pulled. There’s pain before, you know there will be pain after, and you’re just waiting for it to be over with so you can get on with life, but with that additional dread of not knowing exactly what kind of pain you’ll be dealing with in the aftermath.

What??  Like getting a tooth pulled?  Yes – metaphorically – that’s exactly what waiting for a hurricane is like. Take it from me!

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