Don’t Kick Yourself Later! The Top 10 Reasons You Need to Attend the APHA Workshops

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kickWith only two weeks to go before our Alliance of Professional Health Advocates Business & Marketing workshops, we still have a few seats left! I know that in the past when I’ve been on the fence about whether to take a course or attend a seminar, I have too easily let them go by without taking action – missing out entirely – and then – ARGHGH! –  I kick myself afterward.

I do not want you to kick yourself afterward if you miss them!  So here are your top 10 reasons to attend these workshops:

10.  Because, no matter what kind of advocacy you do, whether it’s care coordination, medical billing, shared decision making, mediation – or any other types of service – you need to understand business.  The best advocate in the world will not succeed unless he or she can run a business efficiently and effectively

9.  Because even if your goal is to get a job as an advocate, you need to understand business and marketing to enhance your resumé and to make an impression in an interview.

8.  Because there will be no better regional networking opportunities this year. With workshops being held in cities across the country, you can travel not far from home to attend and spend time with others who share your interests. Bring your business cards!

7.  Because other advocates might be your best clients – and – engaging other advocates to help you grow your business might be a great way to expand.  You’ll spend 1-1/2 days sharing workshops and new knowledge with some of your best target audiences and support. This will be your only opportunity to do all that sharing in a business environment.

6.  Because there is no better value in advocacy business education. Our curriculum is spot-on to your needs at a very low cost, as follows:

  • 5.  Our three locations each year are chosen to keep your costs-to-attend as low as possible. If you can’t drive to one easily, you should be able to fly for no more than a couple of hours without having to change planes. Fares are lowest that way. 
  • 4.  Because all three workshop venues are hotels right next to each airport, meaning costs stay low because you won’t need to take a cab or rent a car. If you do drive, we have negotiated the lowest daily parking rates, too.

3.  Because the curriculum is set up to benefit both advocacy veterans and newbies – each workshop is tailored to the people who attend and their knowledge needs. We’ll tackle topics like getting clients to sign contracts (and pay you!), how to price your services, how to do marketing if you hate public speaking, how to use the Affordable Care Act for your practice, and more.

2.  Because nobody can ever do enough marketing, and new ideas are always needed. We’ll look at dozens of low and no cost marketing tactics that don’t involve being sales-y and don’t lean on cold calls (I hate cold calling) or expensive advertising.

1.  Because I’d love to meet you!  As the director of the Alliance, and as the main workshop instructor – I’ll be there to chat with each of you, get to know you and your business needs better, and just as important, get to know more about you as a person. (OK – so reason #1 is really quite selfish, isn’t it? !!)

Don’t kick yourself when the workshops have gone by, and you weren’t there. There are at least these 10 reasons you should be there, and any reasons not to attend pale in comparison.

No, the workshops will not be taped or recorded. No, you will not have an opportunity to take advantage of them at another time.  This is your golden, and only opportunity for the foreseeable future.

Register today – join us at the APHA Business and Marketing Workshops!  Your confidence will bloom and your practice will thrive.

Can’t wait to meet you!

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The More Things Change, The More They…

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2books-newold… seem to change.

Yes – I know that’s not the way that saying is supposed to go, but in this case, it’s true.

Healthcare – and the pursuit if its best outcomes – changes constantly.  Just think about the changes over the past few years!

I suggest to you that all the changes in healthcare, ranging from the ACA, to updated research results, to use of the internet, to changes in DRGs and CPTs, to outright FRAUD – all create opportunities for advocates to market themselves and their services.

All these changes have been on my mind in a big way for the past six months:

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Here’s my shameless plug – in a moment I’ll return to the point of this blog post….
oldbook-stickynotes
There were enough changes to the healthcare system, that last winter I decided to update my first book:  You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes (How to Fix Them to Get the Healthcare You Deserve)*  First published in early 2010, it turns out that there were more than 100 changes in only 300 pages. I’m not talking about typos. I’m talking about changes that result from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the ways patients are making decisions (Shared Decision Making process). I’m talking about the regard for high technology (those surgical robots aren’t so in favor these days.)  The list goes on and on.  Here’s more information about the updated version, just published in early August, and a photo so you can see how many changes were made.)

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… All the while I was rewriting my book, I kept thinking of all the ways patient advocates could take advantage of the changes to further their marketing efforts.

Three examples:

Shared Decision Making is written into the ACA. It is expected that doctors will deal with it by parking their patients in front of a computer (or handing them an iPad or tablet) to watch a video or two, and then will expect their patients to sign something that says they’ve been informed of their options.  Yes – well – we all know what that’s going to look like  That makes Shared Decision Making RIPE for marketing – both to individuals and to doctor’s offices who don’t want to deal with it (and don’t really want their patients to understand additional options.)

Electronic Health Records make it easier than ever for mistakes to be replicated throughout a patient’s entire posse of doctors.  EHRs are a great place for advocates to begin their work with patients, going through the records and helping them correct those errors (and learning about the patient’s challenges overall.)

Hospitals are taking a financial hit on Medicare patients who return to them within 30 days after discharge. Of course, the hospital discharge process has never been very useful for patients or caregivers – and frankly, since they could make ever more money if patients were readmitted, then hospitals never cared to clean up their acts.  But now that it’s costing them money, hospitals are far more interested in the patient’s outcomes.  There’s a role in there for advocates – are you taking advantage of this knowledge?

The bottom line for advocates is that we MUST stay up with changes in the healthcare landscape – not just to be sure our clients are getting their best advice, but also to look for those additional marketing opportunities that come our way, too.

Have you kept up?  What other changes are you familiar with – and have you used them for marketing purposes?

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*These books are great gifts for clients. APHA members may purchase them in bulk.

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The Affordable Care Act / Obamacare Defines Perfect Roles for Private Professional Patient Advocates

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ACAThe healthcare reform law called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – or Obamacare if you prefer the moniker (preferences seem to run about 50/50) – is being implemented over time. Of course, as most of us realize, the major portion described as the individual mandate, kicks in January 1, 2014 – only a few months from now.

No matter how you feel about the legislation for your personal situation, you owe it to yourself to become familiar with the aspects of the law that define excellent roles for health advocates, no matter what type of advocacy they practice – medical navigational, research or decision-making, medical billing, hospital bedside advocacy or others.

Last week, members of the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates were privileged to spend an hour with Linda Adler, a member of the Alliance, who has studied healthcare reform long and hard, talking about the important aspects of the ACA that clients may ask about, talking about resources to help answer client questions, and then, importantly, the many opportunities the ACA creates to help advocates market our advocacy practices.

It was one of the most useful hours any of us have spent in a long time.

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Stealing Not Allowed

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plagiarismSuppose you wake up one morning, and realize as you make your way to the kitchen that someone has broken in overnight and stolen your belongings!

You never heard anything – you slept right through it. And yet, they’ve taken some of your most valued possessions.

You feel violated. You’ve lost your sense of security. It’s a disruption, it’s disturbing, it makes you feel sick….

You try to figure out exactly what is missing, what exactly they have taken, and you wonder whether you’ll ever get any of it back or even more importantly, whether you can ever feel safe in your own home again.

They’ve not only stolen your stuff, they have destroyed your peace of mind.

Very upsetting.

I’ve been fortunate.  (Knock wood) no one has ever broken into my home.  But I’ve felt that same sense of violation and it forever altered my peace of mind….

How?

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Amy Vanderbilt, Emily Post and My Mother Are Turning Over in Their Graves

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scoldI suspect you were raised just like I was.  As a polite young lady, one who knew and followed the rules of etiquette (a là those mavens of etiquette, Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post), I was taught never to toot my own horn. Bragging about accomplishments just isn’t polite. Let someone else recognize your achievements, and if they mention them to you, just blush, and politely deflect.  Do your best not to take credit, and certainly don’t make it sound like you’re proud of what you’ve done….as in “What, this old thing?…)

(Unless, of course, you are male. Your rules may have been quite different!)

That “don’t take credit” thing has plagued women (and some men) who start and grow businesses since the dawn of entrepreneurism, and it will continue to get in the way as long as children are raised to believe they aren’t supposed to own up to their accomplishments.  It’s a demon we advocacy practice builders and owners must overcome if we want to be successful.

Going against the grain of our upbringing is a lot like intentionally coloring outside the lines – easier for some and not easy at all for others.

But today I will do just that – in part to just plain showcase my advocacy work over the past 9 years, and in part, to lead by example. If you are one of those “non-horn-tooters” – please pay attention.

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