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Ticked Off Applicants Help Us Clarify the Mission
Since the first of the year, we’ve had a record number of applications for membership in the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates (APHA), in particular those who want to be included in the AdvoConnection Directory. You may know that we have two kinds of memberships: PACE memberships for those who are just beginning to plan for a private advocacy practice (and who do not appear in the directory.) And Premium or DO memberships for those who are found in the directory by patients or caregivers who are looking for help. It may surprise you to know, and it certainly ticked off a few of them to be told, that just because someone applies for a directory membership doesn’t mean they will be accepted. (All PACE members are accepted, but not all Premium or DO applications are.) One rejected applicant’s reaction to that reality was, well, let’s just say that if my monitor could have caught fire, it would have! Let me explain… When someone applies for a directory membership in APHA, we actually review those applications based on this standard: The applicant must have the knowledge and ability to help the patients or caregivers who find them in the directory. That means they must have experience in their service area(s), must be in business (not just a volunteer, or someone who thinks they’d like to give advocacy a try to see if it will work), and must show easy-to-find evidence of both. When we reviewed that application that was rejected, we just didn’t find that evidence. And so, as we do for each application that is rejected, we politely described our search for evidence, told her what we are looking for, and then provided alternatives (show us the evidence, or apply to be a PACE member.) Whew! You’d think we had asked for her first born child. Her reply: that we had the NERVE to ask for such evidence! That it was none of our business! That we had NO RIGHT to reject her application! And that if she was willing to pay for the listing, why would we care…