This post has been shared by the AdvoConnection Blog. It was written with a patient-client audience in mind, but might be useful to you, too.
It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you’ll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.
A HUGE Step Forward for Patients: BCPA
When you run into problems with the legal system, who do you call? A lawyer, of course. When you run into problems with your taxes, who do you call? An accountant, of course. If you have trouble with your hair, you call a hairdresser. If the wires or pipes in your house give out, you call a plumber or electrician…. Each of these service careers is represented by skilled professionals who have earned credentials through national certification programs. When you go in search of one of these service professionals, you’ll find most of them have earned a certification* that proves their worthiness to provide services to you – to be paid by you for their expertise. These sorts of certifications are provided by nationally recognized organizations that represent the integrity of the professions, making sure they adhere to specific standards, best practices, and ethics. Independent, professional health and patient advocates have been hanging out their shingles and helping patients for decades. But it has only been within the last few months (early 2018) that these advocates had the opportunity to earn certification to prove their integrity; the skills, abilities, knowledge, and ethics of advocacy. As of this post, 149 advocates have proven their worthiness. They were the first group of advocates who took, and passed, the certification exam. Patient Advocate Certification, using the initials BCPA (Board Certified Patient Advocate) is now a way you can be assured that the advocate you hire has become certified. As time goes on, you’ll want to look for those initials after someone’s name, and for the logo that indicates their achievement. “Jane Advocate, BCPA” means Jane has proven she has the skills, knowledge, and ethics to help you get the most from, and be treated fairly by, the healthcare system. So, when you run into problems with the healthcare system, who do you call? A professional patient or health advocate! And if you can find one who is certified, who has earned his or her BCPA, then you’ll have some assurance that he or she knows exactly what’s required to help you, and will do so ethically. To find these advocates, take a look in the AdvoConnection Directory. *Don’t confuse certification with licensing. Licensing is an activity of a government – “state licensed” or “federally licensed”. Health and patient advocates are not licensed. Instead they may study, test for, and earn a certification showing…