AdvoConnection Directory Listing Requirements
We want to list you in our directory!
But we are very strict when it comes to doing so. Our focus is on the needs of patients and caregivers, not on the wishes of advocates who want to be listed. We do our best to be sure you can meet those needs, and to do so we have put together this list of requirements.
Approval for any APHA membership that includes a listing in the AdvoConnection Directory (Premium ADL, Directory Only or Business Memberships), must meet the following requirements:
- A track record of your willingness and capability to help others.
- A business web presence outside of the AdvoConnection Directory.
- Liability insurance coverage for your work and business (Professional Liability and/or Errors & Omissions. This is not general business liability insurance which cannot be substituted.)
All three requirements are explained more fully below.
Why These Requirements?
As mentioned above, the AdvoConnection Directory is first and foremost a tool intended to meet the needs of patients and caregivers. Even though it is also a great marketing tool for advocates, that is its secondary purpose.
The marketplace is full of advocates who say they are professional and offer services to help patients. Unfortunately, since no certification or licensing exists, anyone at all, with no experience or skills, can hang out a shingle. Although patients and caregivers are encouraged to ask many questions, there is no requirement, nor any means, for advocates to truly prove competency.
Because the AdvoConnection Directory takes its responsibility to showcase only professional advocates seriously, we have developed these requirements. They represent a minimal vetting process with insurers providing the toughest hurdle.
How We Vet Applicants
Once you have applied for a directory-listed membership (Premium, Directory Only or Business) we will assess your application against each of the three requirements as follows:
- Your track record: this is a simple web search on your name and location to see what pops up. This is exactly what a potential client would do, so we just make sure there isn’t some glaring reason you should not be listed. If, for example, your LinkedIn listing talks about the fact that you own a pizza shop – well – that’s not exactly the track record that will be useful to you, a patient – or the AdvoConnection Directory. Here we are not looking for your long-standing work as an advocate (because, for most, the profession is too new for that to be apparent.) We just want to be sure the experiences you have had will lend themselves to good client service and a knowledge of the healthcare system.
- Your web presence: beyond the random information we might find about you (including your grandkids’ birthday parties on Facebook?) we want to see a professional web presence that speaks specifically to your advocacy work. Again, this is what a potential client will do – search for information about you to ensure himself you are trustworthy and can help.
You will need at least one of the following: a website for your advocacy practice, a business Facebook page devoted to your advocacy work, a LinkedIn profile that addresses your advocacy work, or some other web presence that comes up quickly in a search. As long as it looks professional, and speaks to the importance of marketing your work (clear benefits to working with you, and easy to find contact information including a phone number) then it will probably work just fine. (Warning: don’t think you can set up a Facebook or LinkedIn page this afternoon and that will suffice! It will not. It needs to show engagement with others and some history of being available.)
- Your professional insurance: There are many forms of business insurance available, but two forms are of most interest to us:
- Errors & Omissions (also called E&O) All advocates need E&O which will cover you for the non-medical work you do for clients.
- Professional Liability insurance – required for any advocate who also holds a clinical license (doctor, nurse, NP, PA, others) This insurance covers you for any medical acts you may perform – even if you never perform any – because a client might think you did and sue you even if their perception was wrong. (Please note that medical malpractice may not suffice for advocacy work – please check with your insurer.)
- Important: general liability insurance, also called BOP insurance (Business Owner Policy) is not an acceptable form of insurance for listing in the directory.
Why the insurance requirement? From the AdvoConnection point of view, the important reason is because, today, this is what makes you a professional as opposed to a poser. There are only a small handful of insurers who will cover private advocacy* and the only reason they are willing to do so is because advocates are willing to put themselves through the review process to make it happen. In order to be approved for either E&O or professional liability insurance, advocates must submit a credentials ranging from education, to the contracts they will use*. Once the advocate has been approved for insurance, and has purchased the policy, we are more confident that the advocate can be listed in the Directory and is at least poised to meet the needs of his or her clients.
From your personal standpoint, the acquisition of insurance is even more important, because the need for protection goes both ways. On the one hand, holding this insurance is a feather in your professional cap. On the other hand, it also protects you from clients who may not see the results of your work in the same glowing light you do. Getting sued is rarely about what you really did that was bad. It’s always about how it was perceived by the person who was paying for it.
Aren’t Sure If You’ll be Accepted for the Membership You Want?
We want to list you! So the simple answer if you are afraid you might be rejected is: apply anyway.
Either you will be accepted to be in the directory, or we will provide alternatives to get you involved, to help you meet the requirements you are lacking, and to get you into the directory as soon as possible. Our goal is to have as many people listed as possible, because that’s how we help the most patients and caregivers.
And *yes, we do have all the information you need to help you access the insurers who will cover you for advocacy work, including sample contracts that can help you develop your own legal contracts that will be part of the insurance review.
Questions? Contact us.