An Update on Patient Advocate Certification (2017)

podcast and resources belowAPHA Expert Call-in

September 2017

Many advocates and those who are considering advocacy as a career have interest in becoming certified in their profession. Recognizing the importance of certification for both advocates and the patient-clients they serve, the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB) has been working to develop that certification since late 2012.

And now – we’re close! The PACB anticipates offering the first certification exam in early 2018.

Of course, advocates have many questions about everything from eligibility to be certified, to specifics about the test, to locations, costs, recertification, and much more.

To help you understand our progress, and the steps still to be taken, the PACB invites you to participate in this update call-in. Hear more about the development of the certification, what it will mean for you and your practice, the answers to those questions and many more.

 

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Wind, Rain, Destruction – and Metaphors

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Wind, Rain, Destruction – and Metaphors

APHA members received a note from us this week with some expectation management. That is… we’re prepared, and are hunkering down, for Hurricane Irma. Our offices, located in Central Florida, will likely lose power over the next few days as Irma makes her way through; meaning, of course, that office communication may come to a standstill until power is restored. Honestly – it’s like knowing you’re about to get a tooth pulled. There’s pain before, you know there will be pain after, and you’re just waiting for it to be over with so you can get on with life, but with that additional dread of not knowing exactly what kind of pain you’ll be dealing with in the aftermath. What??  Like getting a tooth pulled?  Yes – metaphorically – that’s exactly what waiting for a hurricane is like. Take it from me! As we’ve watched weather models and meteorologists on TV, and as we’ve seen what friends and neighbors have posted to social media, I’m struck by how effective metaphors can be to help someone understand something they have not experienced themselves. Huge, in fact! I’ve spoken and written in metaphors all my adult life. I credit my teacher training for that (8 years of my early career as an elementary grade teacher). Metaphors were a good way to teach math, history, and other subjects. Describing history in terms that were more current and understandable to them, or rewording math problems, could help them get past learning blocks. As I scroll through previous blog posts, I find metaphors in abundance: How to Avoid P*ssing Off the Doctor in One Easy Step The Most Expensive Business to Start The Birdcage: How to Ruin a First Impression … and many more. One of the metaphors I use most frequently is one you should keep in your explanation arsenal, too. That is, a description of independent, private patient advocacy: When you need legal help, you call a lawyer. When you need tax help, you call a tax accountant. When you want a great haircut, you visit your hairdresser. When you professional need help…


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Aging and Alone? Who Will Hold Your Hand Through Healthcare?

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. Find the link to that post at the end of the excerpt.


Aging and Alone? Who Will Hold Your Hand Through Healthcare?

There are many names now being used to describe those of the baby-boomer generation who are aging and alone. “Elder Orphans” or “Solo Seniors” are two of them; describing the concept of someone who is older and has no family or younger friends to help them in time of medical crisis (or any other life-assisting event like moving, or shifting financial needs.) Who can help them make end-of-life decisions? Who can make decisions for them if they get sick? Who can help them decide to move to assisted-living or skilled nursing care? Who can help them organize and review overwhelming medical bills? …. and that’s just the start. Does that describe you, or someone you know? If so, then we have a solution. Consider Mr. Matthews, a 78-year-old retired veteran. He and his wife, who he lost three years ago, never had children. His siblings, all older than he, have passed on, too. He’s quite healthy at the moment, but knows that could change at any time. He has many friends, but they are in his same age group, so he doesn’t want to depend on them to be there when his health is challenged. So a very forward-thinking Mr. Matthews went in search of someone to help him make decisions now. He wanted help with his advance directives (living will, healthcare proxy paperwork, DNR – do-not-resuscitate order, and others).  He also wanted to find someone who could make medical decisions for him, if that time ever came. Suppose he suffered a stroke or a heart attack, or some other medical or accidental event that took away his ability to make his own decisions? Who would make sure his directives and choices were honored? Mr. Matthews’ neighbor Carleen told him about a service she had used when her mother, who lives hundreds of miles away, was suddenly hospitalized: AdvoConnection.com. Through AdvoConnection, she found a health advocate named Jan who lived and worked not far from her mother, and was able to coordinate all the services her mother needed. Jan jumped in immediately to keep an eye on her mom until Carleen got there the next day. She was able to provide advice about the steps needed when Carleen’s mom was discharged to a skilled nursing center, and the details that needed to be attended to at her mother’s home (who would feed the cat, or water the plants?). Jan had…


 

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Stop the Insanity! Instead Try These Baby Steps: Learning to Ask for Money

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Stop the Insanity! Instead Try These Baby Steps: Learning to Ask for Money

Long-time readers of this blog know my frustration over newly-minted private, independent advocates volunteering their time as a way to prepare to be professional advocates. Newbie advocates cite two major reasons for doing their advocacy work for free: They are afraid / reluctant / don’t have enough confidence to talk about money and ask for payment. They feel sorry for the prospective client, and figure it won’t take too much time to help them. … both of the above. The problem is, doing volunteer advocacy as a way to start an independent practice is the very best way to put yourself out of business. Growing a business is all about making sure your income is more than your outgo. You can start your business – no problem!  But if you can’t ask for money, and you don’t learn how to, then it won’t be long before you lose your business. (Can you imagine a lawyer not expecting to be paid?  Or your tax guy?  Or even your hairdresser?) The consequences are dire for both you and others:  if you only ever do the work for free, then not only have you lost all that time, effort, and money you invested in getting your practice started, but you also fail all those (hundreds? thousands of?) people you might have helped in the future if you had been successful. One of my favorite sayings is: Insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. So, I’ve been formulating a way to help newbies learn to ask for money – baby steps. A way to practice; to work toward not being afraid to ask. Baby Steps: Asking for Money Realize you are worth it!  You are embarking on a career that will improve and extend the quality and quantity of someone’s life. That is worth everything, and since you’re the one delivering it – YOU are worth it! If it helps, stand in front of your mirror, and repeat “I am worth it!” to yourself over and over again. Make sure you have your liability or E&O insurance in place.  No matter how…


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Building a Team to Help Your Clients

This post has been shared by the APHA Mentor's Blog. It was written to help you start and grow an advocacy practice.

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. Find the link to that post at the end of the excerpt.

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Building a Team to Help Your Clients

This video post was contributed by Caryn Isaacs, Get Health Help a mentor for those who are building an advocacy practice. Building a Team to Help Your Clients Caryn Isaacs How can you acquire the knowledge you need?  How can you get the answers you are looking for? Build a team of professionals as resources, people you can trust and recommend Participate in events and committees so others ask you to join their teams It takes time.  Surround yourself with people you want to work with.  Find Caryn’s Mentor Listing.   Learn more about Caryn’s approach to mentoring. Meet other mentors who are available to help you. Suggest a Topic for this Blog Return to the Master List of Health & Patient Advocate Educational Programs.  


 

 

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Have You Crossed the Line?

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Have You Crossed the Line?

Yes – it’s entirely possible you’ve crossed the line and had no idea you did so. In fact, you may be crossing it every day and be totally unaware. Further, except that I’m going to illustrate some line crossing, you might never realize it until you are sued, or arrested, or a client loses out on something important, or you lose your license for crossing the line, regardless of the fact that you had no idea that’s what you were doing. What line? you might ask… Actually, there are several – and you may be crossing more than one. The line crossings I’ll describe here are state or province lines. You may be working, providing options, or discussing life extending or saving tactics that would change from one state or province to another. Thus, if you are providing services based on where you live and work, but you have contracted to work with someone who lives in another state or province, you might be providing guidance that does not apply, or violating contract law, or jeopardizing a license you hold, or otherwise – yes – crossing the line. Here are a few examples: Crossing Business Lines Your Practice Contracts: If you connect with another advocate with complementary skills to further the services your practice can offer to your clients (subcontracting, working with an independent contractor), you’ll need to be sure the contract you offer that advocate adheres to the laws in his or her state. An example: if you have a non-compete clause in your independent contractor contract, and you want to work with a contractor who lives and works in California, then it may not be enforceable, and it may void the entire contract. In many states that do allow non-compete clauses, there is a short time limit (one year) on a non-compete, so if you have a different amount of time baked into your contract, it may make it unenforceable. This is the specific reason why APHA offers contracts for member use, but we insist that you take them to your own attorney to review. Your License(s): Many…


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Those Elusive Test Results

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. Find the link to that post at the end of the excerpt.


Those Elusive Test Results

I’m not sure how it happened, but over the years, my medical appointments and tests all seem to have ended up as summer scheduled dates.  You know – all those annual or periodic things:  bloodwork, mammogram, bone density, dentist, optometrist…. I also check in with the dermatologist once a year (because I was that fair-skinned, freckled kid who, as a teenager, slathered on the baby oil at the pool – remember those days?)  And this year was, oh joy of joys – my year for a colonoscopy!  Yes – every one of those tests was scheduled in July and August this year. A lot of appointments – and then, of course, a lot of waiting for results. This is one of those points about dealing with the healthcare system that has changed, drastically and dramatically, in the past 15-20 years. And of course – to no good outcome for patients!  In fact – possible danger if we aren’t paying attention. I’m referring to the fact that, in the old days, when we had a medical test, we could expect a phone call or some sort of delivery of the results. Alternatively, we were told that “no news is good news” – meaning, if we heard nothing then that meant everything was OK. No longer!  In fact, if we don’t hear back, it’s more likely because there is some sort of problem. That might mean the paperwork was misfiled, or that a couple of pages stuck together on your doctor’s fax machine, or that someone took a day off then got behind on email… and maybe that’s all it means.  But, dangerously, when test results get lost, then there is no telling whether the news was good or bad. If the results weren’t normal, and you never hear that news, then you could get sicker, or even die. It happens every day. It happened to me!  In 2004 – when I was misdiagnosed, so I do know exactly what I’m talking about.  But it’s actually very simple for you to be sure it doesn’t happen to you. To be sure you get your medical test results: Every time you have a medical test, ask when and how you will get the results. If your test is in a lab, they will likely tell you to expect to hear from your doctor who ordered it. In that case, ask when your doctor…


 

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Saying No and Refusing to Serve: How to Draw That Line

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Saying No and Refusing to Serve: How to Draw That Line

If we have learned anything about ourselves in the past 10 days, it’s that there are some people in this world we will never be able to understand or condone. Between the skirmishes in Charlottesville, VA, and the killings in Barcelona and elsewhere; I am reminded that I will NEVER understand hate. I will NEVER condone racism, or neo-nazi-ism, or jihad, or white supremacy – or killing. Period. As I watched it all unfold through the news, I asked myself, What would I do if one of those people whose attitudes and opinions I find so repugnant asked me to be their advocate? The answer came easily. I would say no.  I’m guessing that most of you would want to say NO, too – but would not know how to do so. So I am providing you here with justification and tactics to effectively, legally, and ethically draw a line between who we will, and who we won’t, provide advocacy services to. Who we WILL work with – is fairly easy.  We’ll serve almost anyone who needs our skill set, in a geography we can serve, who is willing to sign our contract, who can afford to pay us to do that work. Who we WON’T or DON’T WANT to work with – is more complex, in particular because of our Code of Ethics and Professional Standards, and possibly because of the law. To be VERY clear: I am NOT talking refusing to do business with people who are simply different from us. I am not talking about denying service to someone of a different gender, or race, or culture, or ability from yours or mine. Our Code of Ethics is very clear on those points and none of those differences is justification to decide against working with someone. I AM talking about refusing services to people we can’t respect because of their demeanor or behavior. Maybe they have violent tempers, have lied to you, or are non-cooperative, or too critical. It might be that next door neighbor who once threatened to sue you because your tree drops leaves in…


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All We Really Need to Know About Getting Good Healthcare, We Learned in Kindergarten

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. Find the link to that post at the end of the excerpt.


All We Really Need to Know About Getting Good Healthcare, We Learned in Kindergarten

With a nod to Robert Fulghum… As millions of youngsters head off to school, it reminds us that some of the lessons we learned in kindergarten can serve us well as we consider our healthcare throughout our lifetimes. Here are some of those lessons: 1. Be respectful of your medical providers, and command their respect in return. Early on, we learned to be polite and to stick up for ourselves. The same holds true for working with our healthcare providers. It’s important to be respectful of their education and abilities. That means we listen carefully to what they tell us and take advantage of their knowledge. It’s also wise, though, not to respect them to the point where you discount your own gut feelings or intuition. Further, we need to remember that while they may have attended medical school, we are the owners of, and the best judges of, our own bodies. Forming a partnership with mutual respect works best. Learn to create a good partnership, and to communicate well with your provider, a key aspect of getting the healthcare you deserve. 2. Make friends. Whether in the classroom or on the playground, having a group of friends to lean on was important in the good times and the bad. That’s true for our healthcare too. When you have a medical challenge, find others with similar challenges and get to know them. Share information among you, perhaps through support groups or others who share your diagnosis. When healthcare times are tough, maybe a difficult diagnosis or problems making your treatment choices, then make friends with an independent advocate who can help you do things YOUR way. 3. Be honest and take responsibility. Who doesn’t remember getting in trouble for some childhood indiscretion? We learned then that being truthful got us in to less trouble than if we tried to cover it up. The same goes for our healthcare and information sharing. Be honest with your doctor and your advocate. Take responsibility for your actions. You can’t be helped if you pretend you are doing one thing when reality shows otherwise. 4. Avoid bullies We all knew those bullies in the schoolyard. They were arrogant and sometimes they were downright mean. To our best abilities, we learned to avoid them. And when it came to choosing friends, we shunned bullies and turned to other kids to befriend instead. We can learn…


 

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When Your Doctor Goes Missing and Other Medical Conundrums: How to Take Command

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. Find the link to that post at the end of the excerpt.


When Your Doctor Goes Missing and Other Medical Conundrums: How to Take Command

Summer vacation this year was comprised of two weeks on a road trip with my husband as we left our (new) home in Florida, drove north to Upstate New York, then home again, visiting family and friends along the way. It was one of those vacations that you thoroughly enjoy, but then, can’t wait to be home again! This year I had an extra reason to want to be home. About halfway into the trip, my knee began to hurt, then began to swell, becoming increasingly painful. There was nothing I could identify that would cause it – no injury, no bug bite, no known allergies – nothing. Further, ibuprophen, naproxen, heat, cold — nothing would touch the pain. It grew worse and worse, hour by hour, mile by mile… Now, before we go further, let me set the stage here. I’ve spent the last 12+ years of my career preaching / teaching to other patients the wisdom of getting to know a doctor before you need that doctor for a difficult situation or emergency. Of course, that’s not always possible, especially when a specialist is needed. But for primary care it should be a relatively easy thing to do. Taking my own advice, after our move to Florida 15 months ago, I had researched possibilities and chosen the doctor I wanted. (We’ll call her Dr. Mahoney). In this year+, I had visited Dr. Mahoney three times either for introductory purposes, or for those tests they give us age 60+ people (blood sugar, cholesterol, etc). I cultivated a good relationship so that when something dire came up, it wouldn’t be my first visit to a stranger. Now, suffering this most excruciating pain, my knee now the size of a football, we had arrived at that day of dire. So I dialed. “Dr. Mahoney is no longer with our practice. We’ve assigned her patients to Dr. Andrews. When would you like to come in? We’re booking next Tuesday” – which was five days away. What? Oh no! “Are you KIDDING? Where is she?” I demanded, thinking I’d just go track her down at whatever new practice she had connected with. “She and her husband have left the country,” I was told. When you are in that kind of pain, with something even Dr. Google couldn’t pinpoint, that kind of news just knocks you flat. Frustrated, hurting, upset, hurting, angry, hurting, dismayed,…


 

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Do You Pass the Trust Muster? Says Who? Announcing Background Checks for Health Advocates

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Find the link to the entire post at the end of this excerpt.


Do You Pass the Trust Muster? Says Who? Announcing Background Checks for Health Advocates

We were all there at one time; that point in early adulthood when we realized we needed someone to guide us as we saved money for our futures and retirement. We didn’t understand much (if anything at all) about investing, or 401Ks or IRAs or REITs or annuities. We were confused. We thought we would miss something important. We needed an expert – an investment advisor!  Someone who truly understood all this investing and saving stuff, terminology, possibilities, to help make it happen…. Someone who could hold our hands over time as needed…. Someone we could trust with our money. Someone we would trust to hold our futures in their hands. A VERY tall order! So how did we find that right person?  We asked friends and others we trusted if they could recommend someone. We might have interviewed a few advisors. These days, many people go to the Internet to try to figure it out. But most of us didn’t have that tool when we started saving, so we relied on recommendations, and sometimes on credentials they had earned, or bonds they held. For most of us it probably worked out just fine. If the first one or two didn’t work out as we liked, we had the liberty of making a change. Many variables including our working track records, our ability to set money aside, and the knowledge and abilities of that person we eventually trusted to recommend investments have affected our savings as time has gone on. For most of us, it remains to be seen whether we made the right choices for the long haul. But clearly – our entire financial futures have been predicated on our abilities to find the right person to TRUST with our money. Here we shift gears to something equally as important:  our health and physical well-being futures. In the “old days” (15 and more years ago) we could pretty much rely on our doctors and their support systems to look out for our health and well-being, to treat and cure us when we got sick or hurt, and to elicit…


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Background (including Criminal) Checks for Private, Independent Advocates

 

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Are You, a Friend, or Loved One “Battling” Cancer?

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. Find the link to that post at the end of the excerpt.


Are You, a Friend, or Loved One “Battling” Cancer?

Those of us who spend much of our time embroiled in some way within the healthcare system are reminded, over and over again, that not everyone sees themselves as a patient in the same way. As in: you say “tomato” and I say “tomahto.” I was reminded of this after reading this article from New York Magazine (BTW – not to be confused with the New York Times or other publications with “New York” in them.)  The article is entitled, Here’s What Not to Say to Someone with Cancer. In the article, author Deanna Pai relates her story of suffering through her cancer diagnosis and treatment, concluding that she truly detests the whole concept of “battling” cancer, or fighting it, or “winning” that battle – all of the various ways of drawing parallels between war and sickness. She further hated the advice from friends and family to “stay strong.” Does that mean those well-wishers were wrong to say those things to her? No. Not exactly. Does that mean that such a parallel between strength, and war, and fighting are wrong? No. Not exactly. It simply reminds us that we are all different. We all see our health-challenge worlds in very different ways. That when we are sick, tired, and debilitated, we hear and process words quite differently – differently from the way we would hear them in our healthy lives, and differently from each other. Accepting we are all different, then, for Deanna, her loved ones and closest friends should have attempted to become aware of her feelings on the subject. Hopefully that’s what they did – altered their conversations with her to respect her need to avoid those war and fighting metaphors. In 2004, I was diagnosed with cancer. I’ve been there, and suffered the emotions, including the obvious fear that goes along with such a diagnosis. I’m sure people made all kinds of supportive comments to me about my diagnosis. I don’t remember (that was a long time ago!) – but if I don’t remember, then that probably means is that whatever they said to me didn’t bother me much either. The truth is, my “war” was not with cancer; rather it was with the healthcare system itself. It was the system I had to battle – the labs, the providers, the billing – all those aspects of the system that diagnosed me, then tried to treat me…


 

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How to Avoid P*ssing Off the Doctor in One Easy Step

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How to Avoid P*ssing Off the Doctor in One Easy Step

OK – granted – I used that title to get your attention, but there’s a lesson here for all of us whether we use it for our clients, or for ourselves, or for a loved one — and that is — how to share information you have learned about symptoms, diagnosis, or treatment, without putting your provider on the defensive, or upsetting him / her. Too often I hear people I know, or (worse) a health or patient advocate, say “I TOLD that doctor … (fill in the blank)”.  Argh. It makes me cringe. Because such an approach will most definitely elicit the opposite response to what they intended. We’ll begin by putting this shoe on the other foot…. Suppose you’ve been baking chocolate chip cookies all your adult life. These are cookies that are SO VERY EXCELLENT that you have developed a fine reputation for them. They are sought after for all the best bake sales. You are legend among your neighbors for showing up with a plate of cookies when family is coming in from out of town, or they are celebrating something big. YOU and DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES have become synonymous in everyone’s mind. You’re very proud (even if only secretly) of your fine chocolate chip cookie reputation. Not that you go around boasting about it – you wouldn’t do that. But you know that when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, you are da bomb. Recently, new neighbors moved in across the street, a young couple with little children. It’s time to take some of your most excellent cookies to them as a welcome gift. “Oh, thank you!” the young wife exclaims. Please come in!  She offers one of your cookies to each of her children, one to her husband, and takes a bite of one herself. “You know – these are good. But you should put peanuts in them. I did that once and my family loved them.” [Let’s pause to see how that statement feels to you….] Are you angry? Insulted? Are you thinking, “Who the h*ll is this chick to tell ME…


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Patient Advocacy Skill Set Checklist: The Ability to Negotiate

This post has been shared by the APHA Mentor's Blog. It was written to help you start and grow an advocacy practice.

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Patient Advocacy Skill Set Checklist: The Ability to Negotiate

This post was contributed by Lisa Berry Blackstock, Soul Sherpa® a mentor for those who are building an advocacy practice. A patient advocate who isn’t afraid to negotiate on behalf of a client is likely to be an advocate in demand. Everywhere an advocate turns, opportunities to negotiate are plentiful: Inflated medical bills, premature hospital discharges, discontinuation of physical therapy sessions, procedures deemed medically unnecessary by insurance companies – yet desired by a specialty physician. The list is endless and will likely grow as healthcare benefits continue to narrow for subscribers nationwide. Negotiation doesn’t have to mean arguing, arm twisting, or threatening. Those tactics are bound to result in worsening your client’s situation. Negotiation can mean knowing what rights your client has, the ability to identify and document when those rights are and aren’t being respected, and the follow-through to professionally, politely, yet firmly place a healthcare provider or insurer on notice that the treatment your client may be experiencing may not be acceptable. Documenting a client’s patient rights and citing how those rights are being accidentally overlooked (or deliberately ignored) can be an effective way to begin knowing where an advocate can begin negotiating on a client’s behalf. This…


 

 

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What Gator Head Windchimes Can Teach Us About a Healthy Advocacy Practice

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What Gator Head Windchimes Can Teach Us About a Healthy Advocacy Practice

My husband and I moved 14 months ago to Florida. Since then, each time I’ve been on the highway, I’ve seen billboards which have fascinated me. They advertise the Florida Citrus Centers which are roadside tourist stops where you can buy (yes, you guessed it) – oranges, grapefruit, limes and other fruit, plus other Florida-related souvenirs. But until last week, I had never stopped at one of the Citrus Centers, despite a 14 month curiosity… The curiosity is right there on that billboard photo above: Gator Head Wind Chimes. What on earth would an alligator head wind chime look like? Would it be one alligator head with wind chimes hanging off it? Or would it be a big circle with alligator heads hanging from it, knocking against each other to create the “chime”? (clunk, clunk, clunk) Then, of course, because my family members are all a little whacky, with great senses of humor, I pictured my brother-in-law opening one of these monstrosities for Christmas… Just thinking about it made me laugh out loud! I had to get one! Last week my husband and I left for our vacation, driving north to visit family and friends. As soon as we hit the highway, we saw the first of those billboards…. It was my golden opportunity! I would be able to satisfy my curiosity – and do some Christmas shopping too! So yes, I talked him into stopping. (“What? We’ve only been on the road for 10 minutes! Are you kidding me?”) Outside the store were tables upon tables of citrus fruit and small citrus trees for planting. We walked into the store and found t-shirts, bumper stickers, orange marmalade, and saltwater taffy. We also saw hundreds of alligator heads (yes, just the heads, chopped off – you can see them below). And we saw dozens of wind chimes made of seashells. But nowhere could I find the gator head wind chimes. So I asked the cashier. “Oh, people ask for them all the time, 3-4 times a day!” she told me. “But we don’t have anything like that. We have alligator…


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You Can’t Do Life, or Business, Without Plan B

This post was published at, and has been shared by the APHA Blog.

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.

Find the link to the entire post at the end of this excerpt.


You Can’t Do Life, or Business, Without Plan B

You know Plan B. Plan B is your go-to option when what you thought would work, didn’t. It’s the answer to the question, “What will you do when life gets in the way?” I was reminded of Plan B last week when, after days of internet problems due to some new construction in the area, the internet was finally stable, and I had taken a very relieved deep breath and settled into a nice big project online…. …When BAM! Down went the internet again! Only this time the outage was caused by some workers next door digging up the edge of the neighbor’s garden, and slicing our underground internet wiring in two. Poof! And it wasn’t like they could fix it! Of course not! (Not to mention how rude they were about the whole thing – another story for another day…. ) You can imagine what came next. Since the outage was caused by a crew that was digging, who had not gotten permission to dig (which I’ve since learned is against the law!), there was absolutely no hurry on the part of our internet service provider to fix it. It wasn’t their fault, and we were only one customer. They had other bigger outages affecting many more customers to attend to. When I phoned, they said they would put us on the schedule for next Wednesday…. WHAT? OMG! So… what next? When you work from home, and when 90 percent of your work, including use of your business phone, is internet-access-dependent you MUST have a Plan B! And I did. This isn’t my first internet-outage rodeo. I fired up the Mobile Hotspot on my cell phone, my computer connected to it, and we were off and running…. except that my mobile data plan is somewhat limited, so it could be only a temporary fix. Eventually my husband (the saint!) went off to the hardware store, brought home a “Cat-5” cable and connected the outside boxes – and it worked perfectly. Since then, my service provider came by, fixed the whole thing, and now they are taking it up with…


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Why Won’t My Doctors Talk to Each Other?

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. Find the link to that post at the end of the excerpt.


Why Won’t My Doctors Talk to Each Other?

Mrs. Adams had been visiting her son and his family. She was reading a book to her grandson, when she began to have trouble breathing and started breaking out in hives. She passed out, and her son dialed 9-1-1…. She’s back in her son’s home again now, looking back over the entire experience which was horribly traumatic, not just for her but for her son, her little grandson, and the entire family. They thought she was going to die, and according to the EMTs, she almost did. What caused the hives and the breathing interruption?  It turned out she was taking two medications that conflicted with each other. One drug was prescribed for her months ago by her cardiologist. The other had been prescribed just the day before by her rheumatologist to treat her arthritis. Two drugs conflicted.  It was not that she was allergic. It was that those two drugs should never have been prescribed for the same patient to be taken at the same time. The rheumatologist never should have prescribed the one he did. He almost killed Mrs. Adams with that prescription. (And – of note – wait until Mrs. Adams gets the bill for the trip to the ER!) Conflicting drugs cause problems every day for patients. Despite the warnings in the literature, in the enclosures that come with the prescription, and sometimes even in the patient’s electronic medical record, drug conflicts cause illness and death every day. According to the FDA, one patient per day in the United States dies from these sorts of medical mistakes, and another 1.3 million are injured. How does that happen?  Because too many doctors don’t read their patients records, nor do they talk to each other. If Mrs. Adam’s rheumatologist had looked at her record, he would have seen that she was taking the drug prescribed by her cardiologist. If he wasn’t sure whether there would be a conflict, the click of a mouse could have provided that information.  Even better, the dialing of a phone would have put him in touch with her cardiologist to discuss possibilities. So why didn’t he double check?  There may be a few reasons: The list of drugs Mrs. Adams takes was too difficult to find in the medical record – so he didn’t take the time to do it. A page in her medical record that would warn of possible conflicts was…


 

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