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: )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:



When Health System Fails You, Advocates Can Help

by Joanna Smith on May 17, 2011

When Bob Whitlow, a long-time paraplegic, faced a recent health crisis, he hired a private health advocate to help. Given the increasingly complex health-care system, it’s a path more patients may start taking, says MarketWatch’s Kristen Gerencher

When Nighttime is Daytime

by Joanna Smith on Jun 12, 2009

There is a remarkable program for people with dementia recently featured today in the New York Times. It offers a night program at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. People with dementia often become active–and stressed– as day turns to evening. Participants in this program come at the end of the day and have a program of activities designed to help calm then and allow them to safely do activities–and give their families the opportunity to sleep through the night, knowing their family member is well and safely cared for. Follow this link to read about this remarkable program: All-Night Care for Dementia’s Restless Minds

What to Look For in a Private Healthcare Advocate

by Joanna Smith on May 28, 2009

Are you Considering Hiring a Private Healthcare Advocate? Here are some guidelines to help you with your selection:

1. Consider the services you most need help with. Are you going into the hospital? Are you considering a second opinion? Do you need help finding community resources? Are there insurance issues? Pick the professional with the training to help you with your particular needs.

2. If you need help with medical decision-making, choose medical professionals with degrees in social work, nursing, health education or related fields.

3. Choose someone with experience in both in-patient and out-patient settings.

Read the complete post >>>