Breaking the Rules

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Breaking the Rules

If you think about it for a minute, rule-breaking plays an enormous role in the life of a patient advocate. Rule breaking – is one reason (even if it’s not the only reasons) we exist – a problem we fight. One reason we are hired. Rule breaking – can be a success tactic – one way to win the fight. Rule breaking – is one of the major factors that separates private, individual professional advocates from our hospital and insurance counterparts – the distinction that often makes the difference to patient-clients’ outcomes. Identifying the Rule Breakers The system rule-breakers are those individuals or institutions who violate common sense, expectations, and certainly the health of our clients – broken physical, mental or financial rules, and often the rules of fairness. Whether they have done so intentionally, or by mistake, doesn’t matter. We are called upon to help out when our clients don’t get the medical treatment they need or want, or when their bank accounts and financial security are threatened, perceived or real, by the healthcare system. If we accept a general definition of rule-breaking to include the rules of fairness and ethics, then it’s easy to see how our very profession of health advocacy is created to stand up to those rule breakers, to help our clients overcome their victimhood. (Sadly – that’s what too many of them are – victims.) So, then, our working definition: healthcare system rule-breakers are those who have violated common sense, expectations, fairness, and ethics to create victims of their customers – their patients. Fighting the Rule Breakers Since our jobs as patient advocates are to successfully fix what the rule breakers have broken, then it follows logically that we must sometimes break the rules ourselves to be successful.  Sometimes our best defense of our clients is a good offense with the perpetrators. And that, in a nutshell, is what separates us from those who work directly for the rule-breakers to begin with. Here I cite the Allegiance Factor: the requirement on the part of any advocate to march to the tune of whoever is…


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