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Just How Many Patient Advocates Are There?
One of our AdvoConnection members asked me the question a few weeks ago: How many patient advocates do I think there are? I’ve got some educated guesses. But there are actually three parts to the question. Just trying to figure out how many there are is only the first part. Figuring out the trends is also important. And figuring out who can actually help patients in the ways they need help is the other. Here are the answers I gave her. See what you think. Add or subtract. Change direction. Whatever you think…. because you and your role are found in these notes: (As of April 2012) Private Practice in the US and Canada I would say there are 150 – 200 in private practice – people in business for themselves, or working in small private practices. They are located throughout the US and Canada, but the majority are found in pockets: New England, New York City, Phoenix-Tucson, Bay Area of California. Coming a close second are the Greater Los Angeles, Denver and Seattle areas. There are also many geriatric case managers throughout Florida, most functioning as patient advocates, too, even if they don’t call themselves that. Recently, a new breed of private advocates have become available. They are private, independent contractors, working for larger private advocacy companies that provide them with insurance, marketing and back-up expertise. As these companies continue to dot the landscape, the numbers of private, paid-directly-by-the-patient/client advocates will grow exponentially. Part Time Private Advocates There are another 250 to 300 who are either working part time or are working elsewhere for the moment, but getting ready to jump into full time practice. Many of them are PACE members of AdvoConnection, and they are using what they learn to build their foundations. They will be tomorrow’s private practice owners, added to the first group above. Hospital and Insurance Advocates and Navigators There may be a few thousand people with the employed title “advocate” or “navigator” or “ombudsman” or “patient representative.” They are working as hospital advocates, as nurses working within the HC system, as hospital navigators, as…