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

Our Second Affiliate!

by Joanna Smith on Sep 22, 2010

Healthcare Liaison, Inc. ® is pleased to announce another expansion of our services!   We are delighted to announce the addition of our newest Affiliate, Healthcare Advocacy Partners (www.healthcareadvocacypartners.com) in Seattle, WA.  Sima Kahn, MD, is a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist with licenses in both Washington State and California.  She brings more than 25 years of expertise in both in-patient and out-patient services in women’s healthcare.  Sima offers services that assist people in understanding complex medical situations and their treatment options as well as understanding how to make medical decisions about their healthcare.  Sima completed the Healthcare Liaison, Inc. ® Credentialing Program in 2010 and is now a Certified Healthcare Advocate.  Please look at her profile on our web page:  www.healthcareliaison.com/affiliates.

Our First Affiliate!

by Joanna Smith on Sep 1, 2010

Healthcare Liaison, Inc.® is pleased to announce expansion of our services!  While our company is based in Berkeley, CA and also does business in Seattle, WA, we have just established our first Affiliate in Orange County, CA:  Radany & Associates, Inc., Health Care Advocates of Orange County (www.ochealthadvocates.com).  Maggie Radany, RN, President of Radany & Associates is a nurse with over 25 years experience in the field.    She offers a range of services to help people understand their care options, insurance intricacies, billing issues and care coordination.  Her goal is safe, effective, reimbursable care for her clients.  She completed the Healthcare Liaison, Inc. Credentialing Program for Healthcare Advocates in 2010 and is now a Certified Healthcare Advocate.  You can read more about her on our web page:  www.healthcareliaison.com/affiliates.  We are delighted to welcome her!

Every Year, Every Fall…Medicare Drug Plans

by Joanna Smith on Aug 25, 2010

In the California County that I live in, there are 52 separate drug (Part D) plans available to people on Medicare.  I receive frequent calls—especially in the fall, which is open enrollment time for drug plans–about selecting a Medicare drug plan.  Callers are incredulous:  how can there be 52 choices?  How can anyone choose?

Under newly released Medicare rules, the choices (which will be announced at the end of September 2010) for 2011 will be significantly reduced.  Insurance companies have already been notified by Medicare that they will only be able to offer one basic plan (rather than several) and will have to show that other plans are significantly different from each other.  According to today’s Chicago Tribune, more than 3.7 million people may change plans because of plan eliminations.

The advantage of this reduction in the number of plans is that selection will be less confusing for people.  The disadvantage is that co-pays and premiums may be quite different in the new plans, so careful consideration should be given to each plan.

With all of the drug plans, it is important to remember that every year the plan should be reviewed.  Each year insurers may change what drugs they offer in a plan as well as the co-pays and deductibles.  Since consumers can change plan each year from Nov. 15-December 31, they should review their particular plan each fall to see if it is the best one for their needs.

If you need help selecting a drug plan, or know someone who does, you can contact your local HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy) Program by searching on the internet for the HICAP office nearest you.  If you know someone who needs assistance with paying for medications, check with www.pparx.org.

It’s Going to be a Wonderful Conference…

by Joanna Smith on Jul 13, 2010

I am delighted to announce that  the 2nd Annual Meeting of the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (NAHAC) is fully organized and scheduled for Washington DC, November 4-6 2010!

Everyone–Healthcare Advocates,  Consumers (that’s all of us who receive health care!)  policy makers and legislators—are welcome to attend the three-day gathering of this professional association.  The schedule is just amazing:

*   Come learn how to set up an advocacy business and tips on developing a marketing strategy

*  Listen to expert Healthcare Advocates and Patient Navigators detail case studies and solutions

*  Be inspired by “serial healthcare entrepreneur”  Tim Godzich who grew a “consumer driven health plan”  company (and find out what that means!)

*  Delve into the healthcare insurance maze and learn how to master it

* Learn about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approaches to healthcare

*  Understand the complexities of participating in Clinical Trails

* Expand your “tool kit” for navigating the healthcare system for someone of any age

There is much more:  visit the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (I founded it just a year ago, and we now have over ninety members) at www.nahac.com.  Join the Association, come to the Conference and expand your knowledge:  See you in Washington DC in November!

The Blog is Back!

by Joanna Smith on Jan 15, 2010

After several months absence–and many wonderful developments–I am resuming the Healthcare Liaison Blog!  It was a very busy fall…

Healthcare Liaison is expanding the 2010 locations for for its popular two-day workshop “Becoming a Healthcare Advocate:  11 Steps to a New Career in Healthcare”.  These workshops are open to consumers, professional healthcare advocates, those teaching in the field and policy and legislative interests.  We have new locations!

SEATTLE, WA–January 30 and 31st

BERKELEY, CA–February 27th and 28th

TUCSON, AZ–March 20th and 21st

BOSTON, MA–May 1st and 2nd

The links will take you to the brochure describing the workshop and you can complete payment on-line with a credit card or PayPal.  There are still spaces in the Seattle workshop and registrants are eligible for a referral bonus when they “bring a friend”.

In other major news, we have a professional organization!  I founded the organization, the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants,  in July 2009 and am now the President of NAHAC for 209-2010.  You can read about the Association and join at NAHAC

In November 2009 the newly-formed National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants held its First Annual Conference!  NAHAC  currently has 62 members and membership is open to everyone:  professional advocates, consumers, academicians and policy and legislative participants. Members who were not able to attend the conference can listen to the podcast on the web site and hear workshops on case studies, HIPAA for advocates, insurance-made-understandable and more.  to join:  NAHAC.

We are holding our second annual Conference in Washington DC in November 2010.  Join NAHAC to get the details as soon as they’re released!

Early Registration closes October 15th….

by Joanna Smith on Oct 12, 2009

The newly formed National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants has put together a wonderful First Annual Conference in Berkeley for next month, on November 14th and 15th.  Come hear these presenters:

Ann Tardy, Founder, LifeMoxie; Keynote Presenter: “The New World of Healthcare Advocacy — Creating It Together!”

Jeff Belkora
, PhD, Director of Decision Services and Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Institute for Health Policy Studies, U.C.S.F.: “Making Good Decisions in a Family Health Crisis”

Linda Garrett
, Partner, Risk Management Services: “Confidentiality and Privacy Law for Healthcare Advocates”

Gail Gazelle, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School: “Inside the Doctor’s Mind: What Every Advocate Needs to Know”

Maggie Radany, RN, Founder, Radany & Associates: “How to Solve Health Insurance Problems and Be a Hero to Your Clients!”

Dianne Savastano, Founder & President, Healthassist: “Bringing Bob Home: A Case Study in Patient Advocacy”

Elisabeth Schuler Russell, Founder & President, Patient Navigator LLC: “Inside the World of Pediatric Healthcare Advocacy”

Judith Stark, Principal, Judith Stark Consulting: “Harnessing the Power of Technology Solutions for Healthcare Warriors”.

To register, go to www.nahac.com.  Early registration (at the reduced rate of $150 for NAHAC members and $200 for non-members) ends October 15th.  After Oct. 15th the rates will be $200 for NAHAC members and $250 for non-members.

First Annual Conference of the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants

by Joanna Smith on Sep 8, 2009

As interim President of the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (NAHAC) , I am pleased to announce the First Annual NAHAC Conference.  It will be held at the University of California, Berkeley on November 14th and 15th 2009 at the Clark Kerr Campus.  This two day event features talented and skilled practitioners in the field of Healthcare Advocacy.  The event is open to the public as well as Association members.

To view the conference brochure and register for the Conference go here.
To receive the 25% Conference discount for members of NAHAC, please join the Association and complete your membership payment before registering and paying for the Conference event.

We look forward to seeing you in Berkeley!

Understanding the Mysteries of Medicare

by Joanna Smith on Sep 2, 2009

Need help with Medicare?  It’s a complicated system to understand, especially when you’re first enrolling.  Join me in at a workshop in Portland, Oregon September 12th to learn and understand how it works.  The text of the flyer follows:
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National Association Formed

by Joanna Smith on Aug 10, 2009

I am very pleased to announce the formation of the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (NAHAC, www.nahac.com), the organization, as it says on the web page, “dedicated to improving the consumer healthcare experience.”   Why NAHAC and why now? 
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