I am something of a zealot for extolling the values of community and the need for personal connection. In my work as a healthcare advocate, I find myself urging new or established advocates to join the organizations for advocacy and to attend the conferences. I belong to 3 such organizations: National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants, Washington State Health Advocacy Association, and the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates. It is worth every penny!
Why? Talking to your peers is invaluable in any profession, and in our line of work, there aren’t all that many of us. We get support, validation, and knowledge about our field when we meet and network with each other. This newsletter is about having a support network, building community, and more. It is about improving the quality of care for our clients, smoothing transitions, and getting business at the same time.
I have wonderful advocacy colleagues around the country, but was recently reminded of the value of connection because of a circumstance with a fellow advocate and her client. My colleague, Dianne Savastano, is the founder and principal of Healthassist, a healthcare advocacy firm based in Massachusetts. Dianne had worked with a member of a family on the east coast. When the father, who was living in Seattle at the time, began having health issues that were not resolving, the family asked Dianne if she had anyone in Seattle like her. She readily said that she did, and I was promptly connected to the father in Seattle.
This began a very pleasant and rewarding several months working with my client, whose goal stated at the outset was to move back to the east coast (besides resolving his health issues). We were able to make tremendous headway on the health issues, and only had to delay his move once.
And of course, Dianne and her associate, Anne Jacoby, sprang into action to make the move a carefully thought out and smooth transition, putting all the pieces into place on the east coast. This is the ultimate in coordination of care. I can completely relax knowing he is in the best of hands. Not to mention giving a shout out to his wonderful family both here in Seattle and on the east coast; they are the ultimate community and make it all possible!
This has been such a good example of the value of connection and the reason for community building that I will continue to promote it. I will do whatever I can to give the best service to all of my clients, while continuing to network and connect with my fellow advocates. As Helen Keller once said, ”We cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together.”
Dr. Sima Kahn muses on being a healthcare advocate, the troubles with our healthcare system, and how to advocate for ourselves.