The Biggest Risk in Life: Are You Living the Life You Want to Live?

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A few days ago, I heard from Beatrice (not her real name), an APHA member who has been successfully running her patient advocacy practice for several years.  We met a few years ago when she and her husband attended APHA workshops. I’ve been impressed ever since with their go-getter attitudes and their ability to create the business they wanted to have.

Until this week.

Beatrice, a young advocate by our typical demographics (I’m guessing her age here… maybe late 40s? possibly 50) wrote to tell me she had suffered a heart attack in December. Yes. Really.

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What You Should Know, But Haven’t Asked, about Patient Advocate Certification (And what does Goldilocks have to do with it?)

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There was big excitement last week as the launch for the first Patient Advocate Certification exam took place. From the massive email that went out on January 31 (1700+ people!) to the most-attended-ever APHA Expert Call-in called “Ask the PACB: Prep for the First Exam” – it’s clear there is huge interest in certification for our relatively new profession of health and patient advocacy.

And that’s for good reason!

As more and more people consider advocacy as a profession, it becomes imperative to identify, develop, and maintain the important standards and ethics required to keep the profession highly elevated and respected. One of the few ways we can do so is through development of a very rigorous expectation of standards and ethics, and then to make sure only the cream rises to the top through certification.

That’s what the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB) has done.

During registration for the Expert Call-in, registrants were invited to ask questions about the exam. During the call, every question they had posed was answered. (Find a link to the podcast, available to the public, below.)

But there were a few questions no one asked. Their answers might support your ability to pass the exam, to earn your BCPA (Board Certified Patient Advocate credential), and to effectively promote your newly achieved certification when you do.

I believe the reason they weren’t asked is because of some assumptions made that are untrue. Yes – we all know about assumptions!

So here are the questions, with their answers, in no particular order. You’d do well to review them as you consider sitting for the certification exam.

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The Last Four Myths About Starting an Independent Advocacy Practice

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This is week 3 of our series, and includes the final four myths about starting, building, and growing an independent patient advocacy or care management practice.

To remind you, these myths are based on the comments I’ve heard from advocates who (I’m sorry to say) failed at getting a practice started, not because they don’t know how to be good advocates (they do!) but because they tried to get started despite their misconceptions about what it would be like to do so.

Here are the final four myths for you to consider, in hopes these misconceptions aren’t yours. Or, if they are, we hope this helps you reconsider, and take steps to be sure they don’t sink your advocacy practice.

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3 More Myths About Building a Successful Independent Advocacy Practice

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We began last week with this series of myths about starting, building, and growing an independent patient advocacy or care management practice.

As a reminder, these myths are based on the comments I’ve heard from advocates who just couldn’t get a practice going – who (sad to say) failed – not because they don’t know how to be good advocates (they do!) but because they tried to get started despite their misconceptions about what it would be like to do so.

This week we have three more of those myths for you to consider, in hopes these misconceptions aren’t yours. Or, if they are, helping you to get past them.

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3 Myths About Building an Independent Advocacy Practice

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The real shame of this new series of posts is that it’s the result of feedback from people who gave up on their dreams of starting and growing independent, private advocacy practices.

The further shame is that all those patients who they might have helped will not get their help, and may never get what they need from the healthcare system.

Over the years, hundreds of people have come and gone in our profession. My educated guess: for every 10 who take the early steps toward fulfilling their dreams, only 2 or 3 have succeeded. Further, the people one might expect would be the successes have, instead, given up.

Why do so many walk away? Because before they started, they assumed things about starting and growing an independent practice that just aren’t true, usually without realizing they had made an assumption.

So that’s our topic for the next few posts: The myths that too many advocate wannabes buy into, eventually forcing them to walk away from their dreams.

We’ll begin with the first 3:

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