Advocates coming of age

by Joanna Smith on May 2, 2013

When airline magazines are interested in the world of healthcare advocacy, it means the profession has reached an broad area of recognition as a topic of interest.  Sandra Yin (see article at:  http://tiny.cc/o4ogww )contacted Healthcare Liaison in 2011, inquiring about the profession of Healthcare Advocacy.  She wanted to write an article about the profession and then “shop” it to the “on-board” magazines that all airlines produce.

American Airlines just published her story in their May edition.  The article is particularly interesting because it shows all the myriad types of healthcare advocacy that exist:  everything from accompanying someone to the doctor to get a list of questions answered to hospital discharge planning, billing, insurance, grievances, appeals, medication problems, doing research and setting up second opinions–it is a diverse field.  For the consumer, the most important aspect to consider is:  what kind of help do I need, and is this person skilled in that particular area?  If what you need is a second opinion, the list of questions is helpful, but how do you locate and get an appointment with the specialist you need?  And will your insurance plan pay for it?  What happens if you have no insurance?  Consumers need to interview their advocates carefully to ensure the advocate has the particular skill base that will help the consumer solve their problem!

To help consumers with the process, the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (NAHAC) has just launched a “zip code” search on with website.  Consumers can read profiles of advocates and contact them to talk about what they need and see if it is a “good fit”.  NAHAC is a non-profit organization, founded by the CEO of Healthcare Liaison, Joanna Smith.  You can reach the home page at: www.nahac.com.