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The VITAL Piece of Information the Press – and Many Patients AND Advocates – Are Missing
It happened one more time this week, frustrating me one more time this week, making me feel like a broken record again this week and then realizing…. hey! Why not make this point louder and clearer enough so that YOU can all be a part of my “point well spoken” army! What am I talking about? The press – which has produced one more article this week about this “new career” of patient advocacy or navigation, making it sound like a grand dream come true for anyone who cares about helping patients. None of these articles have been realistic about the realities of employment, or the lack of employment, and the conflicts of interest that arise through advocacy employment. What happens next is the many dozens of email inquiries I begin to receive about GETTING A JOB as a patient advocate. But I digress… So before I begin – please understand that the point of this post is to enlist you in the army of advocates who are going to make this VERY IMPORTANT POINT (VIP!) Please raise your right hand and swear that YOU will share this point with at least 10 other people this week ….. That is: It’s about JOBs – who is EMPLOYED as a patient advocate vs who is SELF-EMPLOYED as a patient advocate or navigator. And then – the important follow-on point – that not all patient advocates and navigators are created equal. Therefore, patients cannot and WILL not be served equally as well by them. That it’s not about their skill levels – instead it’s about the conflicts of interest that arise depending on WHO WRITES THEIR PAYCHECKS. EMPLOYED patient advocates and navigators are employed by hospitals, large doctor practices and insurance companies. SELF-EMPLOYED patient advocates and navigators are employed directly by patients (or someone whose primary interest is the patient.) A patient advocate who is employed by another organization that will either MAKE MONEY or SAVE MONEY through recommendations made to that patient cannot and will not be an objective and useful resource for the patient. MAKING MONEY and SAVING MONEY on…