How Much Does It Cost?

by Joanna Smith on Jan 20, 2011

I am frequently asked how much it “should” cost to work with a healthcare advocate.  The honest answer is that it varies tremendously, depending on your part of the country.  The range I have seen, in talking with advocates nationwide, is enormous, but most people fall in the $50-$200 range.  What determines the cost?
*  Geographic area. Where you live and the cost of living there will drive the cost of all of your advocates expenses.  And your cost.
*  How your advocate works.  Healthcare Advocates who travel to see you in your home or the hospital (as opposed to having you see them in their office) will cost more.  The advantage is that you don’t need to travel to them; they travel to you, but there are many costs (time, mileage) associated with that system.
*  The amount of time your Advocate has been working.  People frequently start out at lower rates and as they establish themselves, their rates go up.  An exception could be businesses that are incorporated as a non-profit or Advocates that have a sliding scale for fees.

*  The amount of training your Advocate has.  As with many services, people trained or certified in that area will cost more.

What can you do to control your costs?

*  Make sure you have a written agreement with your Advocate for the services you want.  Your goals should be clearly spelled out by the end of the first meeting so you both know what you’re trying to accomplish.

*  Divide up the tasks.  Frequently, once we have the goals identified, my clients say “I can do these pieces and I want you to do these other ones.  It’s a cost saver for them and helps them be more empowered in their on-going medical care.

*  Keep communications clear.  Your Advocate should be giving you–via phone or email–updates on what they are doing for you.  If you’re in the hospital, they may be communicating with your family and friends.  I frequently set up email groups with my clients so that everyone they want “in the loop” receives the same information from me at the same time.

*  Trust your intuition.  If it seems like it’s difficult to work with your Advocate–for whatever reason–talk with them to try to resolve it.  If it still feels like it’s not a “good fit” with that particular Advocate, find another one.  The idea is to assist you in your goals, and you need to be working with someone that can help you do just that!

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!

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,, 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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National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants

by Joanna Smith on Jul 21, 2009

A frequent occurrence: the phone rings, and a desperate voice on the other end of the line says “I need to find an advocate and I came across your website, but you’re not in my area. Do you know anyone in my state who does what you do?”   Up until now, there was no central Association that consumers could go to if they wanted to find an advocate. There will be, effective August 1, 2009.
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Empowered Healthcare Conference May 16, 2009

by Joanna Smith on May 8, 2009

Joanna Smith, LCSW, MPH, the CEO of Healthcare Liaison, will be a panelist at the upcoming Empowered  Healthcare Conference, Saturday, May 16th at Mission Bay, San Francisco.  To find out more information and register for the conference, read the information at the Empowered Healthcare Conference web site.

Empowered Healthcare

Empowered Healthcare Conference