Welcome to AAPA
The Arizona Association of Patient Advocates (AAPA) is a professional patient advocacy organization dedicated to advancing patient advocacy and healthcare in Arizona. Members consist of professional advocates and those interested in patient advocacy who want to come together to improve the healthcare experience. AAPA is an active non-profit organization that offers monthly educational sessions, member networking, professional development, and community outreach. Members are not limited to those in Arizona. AAPA welcomes anyone with an interest in patient advocacy and improving healthcare to join.
What is an independent patient advocate, and why would you need one?
The modern medical system is often complicated and full of obstacles hindering positive patient experiences and high-quality care. Today, independent patient advocates are becoming more accessible as the profession grows rapidly, and public awareness increases. Have you ever found yourself confused, over-whelmed, hopeless, afraid, or alone when confronted with a health concern? These feelings may indicate you could benefit from an experienced health, patient, or medical advocate. These terms are often used interchangeably but all represent people who advocate for your best interest in the healthcare setting.
Many healthcare systems and insurance companies employ those who function in a similar role and operate under various titles such as “navigator”, “coordinator”, “liaison”, or “advocate.” The difference between the employed advocate and the independent advocate is allegiance. Employed advocates have ultimate allegiance to the company they work for. The commonality of all independent advocates is being employed by you and working solely for your best interest.
Some advocates help people navigate the healthcare maze, coordinate care, enhance communication, and improve continuity of care. Others may specialize in insurance, billing, end of life, cancer, geriatrics, or pediatrics to name a few. Some advocates will work virtually and can offer services over great distances while others may practice in a local or regional area.
Presently, most health insurance companies do not cover services provided by independent patient advocates and clients pay out of pocket. Many patient advocates have specialized training, national certifications, advanced degrees, and professional healthcare licenses. They charge professional service fees similar to attorneys who use their rigorous education and expertise to help people navigate through complicated legal processes or accountants who help people prepare complicated tax returns and manage finances. Similarly, a Board Certified Patient Advocate credentialed by the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB) must also meet professional criteria and pass a stringent exam to assure the public of extensive knowledge and adherence to ethical standards.
It is important to find an advocate that meets your specific needs. The commonality of all independent health advocates is being employed by you and working for your best interest.
Advancing patient advocacy and healthcare in Arizona by providing education, professional development, and community awareness of advocacy.
AAPA puts education at the forefront of all we do. We work to educate our clients, their families, medical providers, the community and most importantly ourselves so that we can provide the best support and guidance to those we serve. Working a field of continuous change, patient advocates must be committed to lifelong learning and AAPA champions that goal.
AAPA members are dedicated to professional development not only for ourselves but for the future of this profession. Professional development includes expanding our skills and knowledge but also supporting our colleagues as they grow as professionals. In healthcare, technology and best practices constantly change making it crucial for professional advocates to continue their own professional development. AAPA provides the connection and collaboration we are all seeking with the fellow advocates to support this development.
A recent survey by Greater National Advocates (GNANow.org) showed that 80% of the population in the U.S. had no knowledge of the existence of independent professional advocates. AAPA recognizes this knowledge gap and maintains a strong commitment to improving public awareness of the patient advocacy profession. AAPA is dedicated to partnering with the community to advance healthcare through educational experiences and outreach.