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Happy Birthday to Us! AdvoConnection Turns 5
Dateline: September 1, 2009 The AdvoConnection membership organization was launched on this date in an effort to find people who could help patients navigate their medical journeys. Happy Birthday to Us! (Yes – “us” – because the AdvoConnection Membership Organization was the original name of Alliance of Professional Health Advocates!) My how times have changed! (And yet, they haven’t changed much at all… ) The original site was only intended to be a directory – sort of Match.com for patients and advocates – and 30 people stepped forward to be included. (We had been collecting email addresses of interested parties since early 2007.) Many are still members of the organization today – charter members! – meaning they have been successfully providing services to patients for at least five years. (I hope that gives some of you newer folks some hope ) My how healthcare times have changed too! (And yet, they haven’t changed much at all… ) I remember that when we launched, some pundits thought we would be no more than a short-term solution… After all, healthcare reform was approved just a few months later. That was going to fix the system! But of course, it not only didn’t fix the system, but if anything, it only makes what our members do even more important than ever before. Original AdvoConnection memberships were free. We didn’t begin charging membership dues until summer 2010 when we actually felt as if we provided some value to members. Early on, the only vetting we did for appearance in the AdvoConnection Directory was that someone would tell us they were helping patients, whether or not they were actually in business to do so. Within the next few months, though, realizing that vulnerable patients would need to know the person who would help them had real experience and credentials to help them, we began to review applications… That’s when we realized that the great majority of people who wanted to be in the directory had plenty of advocacy skills, but really needed business skills, too. We couldn’t be sure they would last for the long…