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YOMs – and That Sense of Entitlement
It arrived in my email a few days ago – a demand for a reply. It came from a person who reads my articles at About.com. She had sent me a question the day before regarding trouble she was having getting copies of her records from her doctor. I had not yet responded to that email. The second one arrived, shouting in capital letters: WHY DIDN’T YOU ANSWER MY QUESTION? I SENT IT YESTERDAY AND YOU HAVEN’T ANSWERED IT YET! There it is. A simple example of that sense of entitlement we all seem to be dealing with. I get it in email. You, as a patient advocate, probably get it more from phone calls from potential clients. They phone you with questions – and think you should just give them the answers they need, as if you have time to just sit by the phone and answer questions for people, for free, day in and day out. Like you owe them something. Some even get mad if you don’t give them what they want! One advocate told me about a phone caller who “ripped her a new one” because the advocate wouldn’t go to the caller’s home to try to convince her husband that he needed medical care. Another advocate shared an experience with a potential client who was upset that he would be charged for her advocate services. “That’s what I pay my taxes for!” he exclaimed. Let’s call them YOMs, as in, You Owe Me! There are a few reasons I can think of for the existence of YOMs: First – many people who aren’t paying directly for their healthcare, meaning they are covered by many types of programs from private insurance (paid by employers) to Medicare or another program, believe that entitles them to all the healthcare services they want. They feel entitled to unlimited resources to get what they need – whether or not that perception is correct. For many aspects of healthcare, many people ARE entitled – meaning their care is paid for 100%. We have entitlement programs for many populations – the poor…