Program Overview

The Certificate in Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation is designed to train healthcare professionals and caregivers to better understand the complexities of the healthcare system, protect patient rights, and communicate effectively in difficult situations, so they can help patients and loved ones get the treatment and services they need. Hear what our students say about the program by reading the HCA/PN Student Views.

Kent De Spain discussing his very personal connection to the relevance of AUM’s Healthcare Consumer Advocacy and Patient Navigation certificate.

 

Program Goals

The program’s goals are to provide you with the research and decision-making tools to become a credible guide to others in maneuvering through the complexities of present day health care systems.

Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation

With your AUM Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation Certificate, you’ll be qualified to:

  • Assess medical communications and help to facilitate open dialogue.
  • Navigate complex healthcare issues and help patients make informed decisions.
  • Research databases to provide clients with up-to-date treatment information.
  • Work in hospitals, with public and private healthcare providers, in social service organizations, as well as with families and individuals.

With a course schedule designed for the working professional, in less than a year you will have knowledge and research skills in areas such as patient rights, interpersonal communications, medical terminology, conflict mediation, alternative healthcare, patient assessment, and end-of-life decisions. You will also gain hands-on experience working with professional advocates. The framework of the certificate courses is based upon the Identified Domains of Practice developed by The Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy of the American Hospital Association.

As the Title Sponsor of the Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation Program, Greene Memorial Hospital and Soin Medical Center have made a five-year commitment of $25,000 per year to sponsor three scholarships for its employees and support for the development of the certificate. We are thrilled and appreciative of Greene Memorial/Soin Medical’s support of this exciting and important new program.

Join Us From a “Distance”

Beginning in spring 2014 Antioch Midwest is offering its Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation certificate program using a hybrid/distance format.

Taking advantage of new video technologies such as Google Hangout, Midwest is opening our on-the-ground classes in Ohio to students anywhere in the United States and beyond. You can interact with the instructors, join the conversations with other students, and ask questions of the guest speakers, all in real time.

At Antioch Midwest we believe that because most of the work of health advocacy happens face to face, it’s best to learn these interpersonal skills face to face.

That is why we have resisted the move some programs have made to asynchronous, online coursework.

How can you effectively learn how to interview a new client or mediate a healthcare conflict without talking to real people?

Now, with our hybrid/distance option students in our certificate program can:

  • Work from home and still be a part of all class lectures and discussions
  • Get to know your instructors and guest speakers personally (people who can become a resource for guidance and information during and after earning your certificate)
  • Build relationships with other students through sharing ideas, experiences, and best practices
  • Conduct (mock) client interviews via videoconference
  • Set up and work your experiential learning hours in your own community and have them count toward your Antioch certificate

If you have a computer with a camera/microphone, a strong Internet connection, and the desire to learn, you could soon be preparing to find a job in this important new field or gain the expertise you need to help your loved ones get the healthcare they need.

Block 1: Introduction and Vocabulary (1st half Spring Semester)

HCA-5100 – Intro to Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation

This course prepares students to begin the study of Healthcare Consumer Advocacy and Patient Navigation through understanding the broad range of services Advocates/Navigators can offer to their clients. This will include an introduction to such areas as client needs assessments, research on treatment options and preventative practices, identifying and accessing social services, communications and conflict resolution, billing and reimbursement advice, patient rights advocacy, and more.

HCA-5170 – Understanding Medical Terminology and Major Diseases

This course will focus on medical terminology and disease states of the major systems of the human body, providing Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation students with the language skills to communicate effectively with healthcare practitioners and assist clients in understanding health information.

Block 2: Skills and Knowledge I (2nd half Spring Semester)

HCA-5140 – Interpersonal Communications

This course prepares the advocate to transmit and receive information about patient-focused issues with clarity and skill. It teaches skills in developing appropriate rapport with patients, families and healthcare providers for the benefit of the healthcare consumer. Topics to be covered include communication of patient-focused issues with clarity and skill; facilitation of the involvement of interested parties; development of a professional rapport with patients, families, and all healthcare providers; working with the medical team; and
family dynamics.

HCA-5160 – Patient Rights and Advocacy

This course prepares Healthcare Consumer Advocates/Patient Navigators to be aware of the philosophical issues and principles surrounding medical practices and to be involved in ethical decision making. Students will develop knowledge in legal issues relative to advance directives, the Patient Bill of Rights, organ donation, research, and advance directives.

Block 3: Skills and Knowledge II – Summer Session

HCA-5180 – Integration of Healthcare Modalities

In this course the students will be introduced to emerging modalities of holistic medicine and their integration into traditional medical approaches. Alternative treatments and natural therapies such as massage, yoga, healing touch, homeopathic medicines, herbal remedies,
etc. will be considered in relation to current scientific paradigms alongside Western medical treatment.

HCA-5190 – Health Insurance and Reimbursement

This course will introduce Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation students to major healthcare insurers and issues arising from payments and reimbursement for healthcare procedures. This will include Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance (HMOs, PPOs, and others) and the influence they have on medical practices and decisions. It will also include practice reading and interpreting insurance reimbursement documents.

Block 4: Skills and Knowledge III – 1st half Fall Semester

HCA-5110 – Understanding Healthcare Systems and Medical Information

This course will help the advocate/navigator understand the structure and financing of healthcare institutions such as hospitals, clinics, specialist practices, and others, and the impact such structures have on healthcare delivery and decisions. It will also examine medical records and problems that arise for advocates and clients when working with multiple institutions. This will be presented within the context of the evolving economics of healthcare in the U.S.

HCA-5120 – Mediating Conflict and Crisis in Healthcare

This course gives the advocate the skills to intervene in conflicting relationships involving the interests of patients and others in the healthcare environment and to promote reconciliation, compromise or settlement. Topics include intervening in relationships of conflict; stabilizing the crisis event; focusing on the well- being of the patient/family; involvement of interested parties (family, staff, physician and others); and means of promoting reconciliation, compromise or settlement.

Block 5: Preparation for Entering the Field – 2nd half Fall Semester

HCA-5150 – Advocacy in Action: Client Assessment and Planning

This course prepares the Healthcare Consumer Advocate/Patient Navigator to begin professional work with clients. Students will conduct client assessments, engage with client scenarios, and plan strategies for solving client issues. This will also involve considering their choices regarding their current state of health, in light of their personal philosophies of life, their religious/spiritual beliefs and cultural expectations.

HCA-5130 – Advocacy/Navigation: Understanding the Profession

This course will help students understand Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation as a profession and to identify the kind of work they would like to do in the field. The course will then assist them in preparing professional materials and job search strategies to successfully pursue their professional goals.

Practicum

In addition to the coursework, each student works 80 supervised clinical hours in one or more
advocacy/navigation settings.
Heidi Singer Kathy Haugrud Ann Kent Colleen South Cathy Paige
Roger White Susan Finster Pegeen Laughlin Donna Silvert Sharon Dodds

Heidi Singer

heidi singer healthcare consumer advocacy

It has never been so critical and so necessary to appoint professional consumer advocates at every juncture of care and to develop educational programs of excellence that prepare students to enter this field. Put very simply, all patients need an advocate and I have never witnessed or heard about a scenario where they didn’t need one.

The continuum of care concept, ideally guides and tracks patients through an integrated system over time through a comprehensive array of health services spanning all levels of intensity of care” (Creating the continuum of care, Evashwick, C.). Yet in my opinion this ideal cannot hold up to the increasingly complex health care systems of today. Continuum of care is choppy, disconnected and I think, fundamentally broken. I hear daily stories from exhausted and ill patients trying to orchestrate their own healthcare options; a woman recovering from a stroke struggled with her speech as she explained to me her frustration in dealing with the details of her benefit plans and the many taxing conversations she had with medical personnel and consumer call center representatives. Patients have difficulty with complicated phone loops and websites connected with
accessing their health information. Even the physicians I spoke with expressed their concerns about keeping track and taking care of their patients, filling out increasing amounts of paper-work and spending less face to face time with the people they
were trying to help.

Antioch’s Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation Program is a dynamic and present-focused program that is addressing all the right questions in all the right ways. The classes are lively and feature motivating teachers and guest speakers covering the core topics that form the basis of the program. But at the same time the program goes further and raises the bar by introducing and dissecting non-mainstream, holistic, yet complimentary approaches to consumer advocacy.

As with any clinical based program, it is what you make of it that is equally if not more important. I wanted face time and flexibility. My internship in an adult psychiatric hospital has been amazing. This has been a deeply meaningful experience for me on a personal level as well, and this is the most exciting. In sum, the Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation Program has given me a gift and fueled my passion to duplicate in the real world that which I have come to understand are the moral and ethical principles necessary to become a compassionate yet effective advocate for my patients.

Kathy Haugrud

kathi haugrud healthcare consumer advocacy

As often happens in life, I literally stumbled into the Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation program. For several years prior to entering the program, I had been actively engaged in writing health and wellness articles on women’s health issues, and building a website and blogging presence on the Internet.

I had a passionate interest in perimenopause issues in particular, and as a result, had begun exploring new career possibilities that would allow me to continue on that path. In my searching and questing, I came upon Antioch University Midwest and learned of their undergraduate degree offering in Health & Wellness. I applied to the program and was subsequently offered an opportunity to enter the Individualized Masters of Arts program instead. It was in applying and getting accepted into the program that I also learned about the Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation Certification. I came into the IMA and Health Care Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation program shooting wide. I had a clear idea of what interested me and the direction I wished to proceed, but I wasn’t so clear about what consumer advocacy was going to offer me.

Since completing nearly two blocks of the program, my focus has become sharper and clearer. Entire areas of knowledge and information have opened up to me that I did not even know existed. Subsequently, it has also become very clear to me that my passion for blogging and writing on behalf of women and their health issues, has actually been a form of advocacy. I just did not think of it in those terms. The Health Care Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation program has given me the title, vocabulary, and framework to apply to the work I’ve been so passionate about these past years.

I am still traveling the path that brought me here in the first place. However, it is now with greater clarity and the additional
expectation that as I continue to grow in my understanding of what healthcare consumer advocacy is, I will become a more effective and stronger voice for the women and healthcare issues I care so deeply about.

Ann Kent

ann kent healthcare consumer advocacy certificate

In today’s world of changing medical care and the overwhelming need of our population to seek good care, there is an even greater need to provide care that is more personal and patient directed. “Hospitalists” are replacing doctors who have followed a family for decades.

The Internet, which can be a helpful tool to gather information, is not a helpful option to many of our elders who are not familiar with it. In trauma or end of life decisions, people’s journeys through those events are softened and become more kind with the help of another.

These ideas among others led me to consider pursuing the “Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation Certificate.” I am presently a Speech/Language Pathologist who also holds a masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and a School Counselor’s certification. I have journeyed” with family members through their healthcare challenges and realize the importance of advocacy.

This certification is giving me experience, as part of my internship at an extended care facility and also a broader understanding of the medical, legal and financial aspects of healthcare. I am very excited that the reality of Healthcare Advocacy” does seem to be growing. I am happy to know that in my future, I have another springboard” to continue caring for others.

It is also very exciting to have had Antioch Midwest see” the need in terms of healthcare and work so hard to actually pull a program together and offer a very needed and valuable course of study. I feel very fortunate that I just happen to live nearby and thus, find working full time and taking part in the Pioneer” program a doable” program for me.

I am excited to see where this work will lead and feel thankful to know that I will have a certificate which will represent the tools and skills I need to help others advocate for their healthcare needs.

Colleen South

colleen south healthcare consumer advocacy

I picked the HCA/PN program because I love nursing but found with age a need to be more involved with the patients though not necessarily at the bedside. I was having trouble with the physicality that bedside nursing needed. Choosing this program was an easy one since it was very close to where I live. I just didn’t know I would need it so much.

In the small span of time between signing up for this certificate and now, I have taken over assisting with all of the care for my mother-in-law who has Dementia/Alzheimer’s after the death of her best friend, confidant, and transportation and my own mother’s recent diagnosis of breast cancer. My responsibilities are no more than others here in our courses and their families, but I am the closest and only relative to these women. I am using many of the lessons and skills under the direction of these courses and the people they have introduced us to. It is amazing how much these instructors can get you to learn quickly.

Perhaps the added stress of having to learn as much as possible quickly and then to help those closest to me has pushed me to go further than I may have tried before these courses. Going into the community and seeing what resources are available and what others need has been eye opening as well as disappointing. I have seen that in Clark County, which is just north of Yellow Springs, there are many resources that can help the elderly to remain at home as long as possible but there are other areas that are needed and only have one person per county doing the work. In Clark and Greene Counties each has only one person for Adult Protective Services. Unfortunately, the need for these services is also increasing with the number of seniors while the funding is decreasing.

Hopefully, as the first in our area and the country doing this kind of certificate and masters, we can affect the resources that are out there along with getting them to the patients and families that need them.

Cathy Paige

cathy paige healthcare consumer advocacy

I was not sure what to expect when entering into this program. Now at the end of the second block with one more to go, I know more than I did when I started. I feel privileged to be with such amazing students.

Our classes are intense, provocative and none of us are shy about speaking up, challenging each other, stretching concepts of wellness, exploring personal stories and histories, passionate discussions surrounding integral health, patients rights, current models of institutional care and the range of services/treatments available (or not) in communities.

Our instructors bring their professional experiences and background into the classroom, as well as amazing guest speakers. It is a vibrant and whole systems healing learning environment. I love it.

Roger White

roger white healthcare consumer advocacy certificate

I am a seasoned medical worker at one of the major hospitals here in Dayton.

I originally was informed of the HCA program through my association with AUM. I obtained my undergraduate degree from Antioch.

The reason for my enrollment in the program was to increase my scope/knowledge/skill-set in advocating or in representing a patient’s or his or her family’s medical wishes. This is an attempt to increase my overall knowledge and apply it according to the patient’s desires and wishes or as whatever format, such as a living will, dictates.

This endeavor of mine is changing from the clinical management side of healthcare to the person’s medical care needs/wishes.

Susan Finster

susan finster healthcare consumer advocacy certificate

For the past 25 years I have been a computer programmer with a variety of duties and job titles. I enjoy the puzzling and problem solving aspects
of the work, but something has always been missing.

Many times I have questioned whether I picked the right career and whether there might be something better out there for me. When I saw the Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation Certification program it appealed to my desire to make a difference with my work and to deal with people instead of machines.

My daughter was born 12 weeks early and spent 10 weeks in the NICU at Children’s Medical Center. My husband and I did a lot of research very quickly to find out what was happening to her and what effects/complications might follow her through life. The doctors and nurses were helpful, but it would have been nice to have someone to stand by us during that difficult time.

When my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer, my siblings and I all had questions that she could not answer because she had not thought to ask the doctor. My father was no help because he refused to admit my mother was dying. We found ourselves doing lots of internet searches and asking questions remotely. It was both frightening and frustrating. Again, it would have been nice to have someone in a supportive role.

In many ways I am already acting as a healthcare advocate for friends and family. This certification program is helping me to round out my education, make connections, and formalize what I am already doing. It is my intent to help unravel the healthcare puzzle one client at a time.

Pegeen Laughlin

pegeen laughlin healthcare consumer advocacy certificate

There are several people to whom I am connected that are in need of different levels of caregiving and advocacy. Without making a conscious decision, I have been moving in the direction of providing both of these kinds of services.

As Joy Loverde, author of The Eldercare Planner” states, we do not choose care giving; it chooses us. For whatever reason, most of us end up being caregivers of one sort or another at some point in our lives.

Last year when I found myself getting more and more involved in the position of being a companion on medical visits with my partner, and giving long distance advice to my aging parents, a friend told me of the HCA program at Antioch University Midwest. It came into my life at the perfect time. Over the past 6 months my knowledge of what it means to be an advocate, what resources are available, what kind of network is in the area (and on-line), has been greatly expanded.

Our classes have offered us a forum to explore the many ways of advocating in a safe, accepting and intellectually stimulating environment. Scenarios that I could never have invented, as well as possible solutions and appropriate responses, have been presented to us or developed by us. We have learned about patient rights and how to think critically and act with confidence in making sure that those rights are not violated.

Hopefully, with more people getting more exposure to these ideas and practices, we can help to fix some of what is wrong with our medical delivery system, and ensure that the most people get the most satisfaction, whether their encounter be with illness or wellness.

Accessing and navigating the health care system” can be very challenging. My goal is that everyone gains the knowledge they need to do this, or has someone who is acting on their behalf to make it happen. This is what the Health Care Consumer Advocacy program is about.

Donna Silvert

donna silvert healthcare consumer advocacy certificate

The Antioch HCA program has already in the past eight months had significant impact on my life. One month into the program I was launched into
advocacy for the care of my near 90 year old Dad who had suddenly taken a major nose dive, both literally and figuratively.

My family role would naturally have been to be the advocate; however with the tools, knowledge and resource people I had already been exposed to
at Antioch I was effective, capable, and as composed as possible. It is amazing, even for me to ponder at this point, just how deep the program impact has been. I’ll focus on three particular aspects – academic knowledge, resources, emotional/spiritual
support.

The academic portion exposed me to medical and legal tenets that I was able to incorporate into the support of my Dad and Mom. I was better able, for instance, to quickly research terms used in diagnosis and treatment plans. I felt confidant to question specialists. I understood that my experience felt unique but is shared with many advocates. I gained power in that knowledge. I believe I was less likely to be caught off guard by seemingly abrupt hospital decisions because I had gained knowledge of Medicare regs. My knowledge base had been nurtured by the instructors, curriculum and class discussions. I call upon classmate Roger White as a respiratory therapist and proponent of dignified dying to explain the technical terms and possibilities of my father’s pulmonary complications. I came to understand in my class how to gather facts and recommendations while concurrently accepting that I could offer only suggestions, not decisions and often not solutions.

Exposure to resources made it possible for me to explore options and advocate for care plans that changed the lives of my entire family. That is truly powerful. Firstly I will name instructors Amy Crawford, Karen Puterbaugh , Kari Higgins, and Jane Brown who led me in developing appropriate home health care, home adaptations, financial and legal directives, and end-of life dignity. Not only did each of them offer their own expertise, but exposed me to a myriad of inspirational resources.

One example is the visit from Dr. Cass, Hospice Medical Director, who offered me the tools to demand” hospice care near the end. Even the Florida Intake Specialist noted that using Cass’ criteria of would the doctor be surprised if this person died within the next six months?” rather than the standard is there a diagnosis that limits life to 6 months?” is more adaptable. Engaging the doctor with the
information that Dr. Cass provided enlightened him about Hospice possibilities.

Another was the conference with Dr. Banner and the concise understanding that the medical practitioner can be engaged as a partner in wellness, and in dying. I definitely drew upon the Robert Wood Johnson video regarding hospital well being to demand that a doctor look at my Dad when nurses were disregarding the alarming signs seen by family members. I had tools to advocate for my Dad, my Mom and my daughter who became an onsite care giver for the final month. Numerous times, Amy and Karen answered specific medical or care questions and encouraged contact with a local gerontologist. The networking made accessible was invaluable.

Focus on the emotional and spiritual aspects had been well supported in the program and helped me move through my personal advocacy. As my Mother panicked and denied, I was bolstered by reminders from class that everyone brings their history to the situation. I heeded reminders to care for the caregivers. Undoubtedly having discussed dying with dignity supported me in designing this for my clients: my Dad and family. It was powerful to share the passage. Along the way several doctors and case workers commended my advocacy skills. I view that as a reflection of the program.

Sharon Dodds

sharon dodds healthcare consumer advocacy certificate

The Healthcare Consumer Advocacy/Patient Navigation Program has provided me with the opportunity to meet and network with educators, community professionals and classmates who share similar goals of patient advocacy, in a formalized learning environment.

Please contact our admissions office at: (937) 769-1818, or:
Kent De Spain, Ed.D.
Department Chair, Health & Wellness and Healthcare Consumer Advocacy Certificate
937-769-1877
kdespain@antioch.edu