Vision, Mission and Values
The Mission and Values Statements assist SHCA members in determining ethically appropriate professional conduct. Ethics demand that healthcare patient advocates, who advocate in the name of our hospital’s patients, act with complete fidelity to the institution and respect the valid rights of others.
Leading the advancement of healthcare consumer advocacy by supporting the role of professionals who represent and advocate for consumers across the healthcare continuum.
Empowering consumers to take charge of their healthcare and restoring consumer trust.
We advocate for healthcare consumers in order to improve the healthcare experience of those we serve: patients, families, and other individuals.in respect for their right to control their healthcare decisions.
Code of Ethics
The Members of the Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy of the American Hospital Association are committed to conducting their professional relationships in accordance with the following principles. Download the Code of Ethics.
The Mission and Vision are advanced through a variety of programs, products, and services. The strategic plan recognizes that members contribute to the advancement of the profession in a number of ways. With more than 800 members and over one dozen national and international chapters, SHCA is continually growing.
Our membership includes patient representatives, guest relations professionals, physicians, nurses, social workers and others currently employed in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, home health agencies, long-term care facilities and other health-related organizations, among others. The diversity of our membership is reflected in a range of training, from college and nursing or social work graduates.
Nine SHCA members serve on the SHCA Board of Directors, which meets monthly via conference call and one time per year face to face. Each year members participate in dozens of committees and task forces, addressing issues across the healthcare experience for patients, families and the community.
The SHCA Communications Committee created a tip card describing the role of the patient advocate and how they contribute to a positive healthcare experience for patients, families and the community. Members are encouraged to share this message at their facilities:
The Patient Advocate supports patients and families by their emphasis on neutrality, collaboration, and problem resolution combined with their expertise in hospital functions and procedures.
How does the patient advocate improve the patient and family hospital experience?The patient advocate:
- Serves as a liaison between patients, families, hospital and medical staff
- Advocates for Patients’ Rights
- Promotes patient satisfaction
Serves as point of contact for organization-wide complaints and grievances
- Provides feedback from the patient to the organization to continually improve the patient experience
- Serves as a resource and support for ethical issues, including end of life treatment decisions
- Provides information for the patient regarding services/resources both within and outside the hospital (i.e. social services, advance directives, financial services, community resources)
Education, Publications, Advocacy
SHCA’s professional and leadership development is carried out through a variety of educational programs, publications and services designed to meet the needs of every level of patient advocate professional.
SHCA Domains of PracticeTM: Providing the Framework of Patient Advocacy Essentials
SHCA is committed to providing resources to empower our members to do their jobs better. Members are encouraged to take full advantage of SHCA’s programs and invest in their professional career.
- Domains of Practice Certificate Program (Offered monthly via webinar)
- Domains of Practice Pre-Conference Workshop (Offered annually in April as a face-to-face opportunity)
- Annual Conference (Offered annually in April as a face to face opportunity)
- Domains of Practice Capstone Programs (Offered to Certificate Program Alumni in March and October)
The Domains of Practice are the cornerstone of SHCA’s professional development offerings. Regardless of your level, SHCA offers a variety of programs that are designed to give you the educational foundation for patient advocacy skills and competencies.
SHCA has identified the following as being key skills and knowledge for advanced competency in the role of a patient advocate:
- Patient Rights
- Grievance and Complaint Management
- Measuring Patient Satisfaction
- Interpersonal Communication
- Customer Service/Service Excellence
- Mediation/Conflict Resolution
- Crisis Intervention
- Data Management
- Healthcare Management
Publications and Communications
A number of publications and communication tools are used to support the professional development of SHCA members.
In the Name of the Patient complements content taught in the Domain Module webinars while serving as a key resource for the patient advocate professional.
2011 Expanded Edition: The Written Word: Guidelines for Responding in Writing to Patient Concerns is a guide for information and samples of written responses to patient concerns and gives important reference guides for the healthcare patient advocate.
Training DVD: Infusing CARE in the HealthCARE Experience is made up to four different vignettes that focus on achieving excellence in patient relations, healthcare customer service and client loyalty through a learning technology specifically designed for the unique needs of today’s healthcare facilities.
The SHCA Online store can be found at http://www.shca-aha.org/shca-aha/marketplace/publications.html.
SHCA News is a quarterly peer-reviewed newsletter featuring articles, event details and commentary to keep members on the cutting-edge of healthcare strategy, advocacy, public relations and communications, as well as SHCA member news.
Connecting members with updates on SHCA happenings is done through the SHCA News You Need, a bimonthly email newsletter to SHCA members.
The SHCA Listserv is an exclusive member benefit that provides a comprehensive arena to ask and respond to questions about our profession. This e-mail communication tool allows a member to send and receive public messages, questions and answers. It is an instant email community helping members find the answers to their questions gaining knowledge, learning about best practices, and tracking trends in the field.
SHCA’s Advocacy Agenda represents a three-pronged approach focused on patients, the patient advocate profession, and public policy issues impacting both. SHCA tracks legislation, regulation, and public policy initiatives as they relate to these topics and works to ensure that the patient advocate perspective is considered.
Back to top
SHCA members gain professional recognition through a range of opportunities such as professional recognition programs.
Patient Advocacy Week
Each year, SHCA and the profession celebrate National Healthcare Patient Advocacy Week during the second full week of April. The week’s theme and educational programming are designed to promote the best interests of the profession, within the healthcare community and beyond.
APEx Professional Achievement Program
The SHCA Professional Achievement Program is designed to acknowledge and promote individual achievement of professional excellence in the field of patient advocacy and consumer affairs. The program offers recognition on three levels; Achieved, Distinguished and Fellow, in order to encourage the professional development of all Society members. Formal recognition of your achievements can serve as a milestone in your career and contribute to the promotion of the patient representation/consumer affairs function in your institution, and in the healthcare industry as a whole.
The SHCA Awards program is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated exemplary service and contribution to the Society and to the profession of healthcare patient advocacy. There are several programs that offer members and their colleagues the opportunity to garner the special recognition that is much deserved.
National Healthcare Consumer Advocacy Award
This award recognizes an outstanding community or national leader and/or group who have made a significant impact on the quality of care for the healthcare consumer.
The writing contest was created to encourage patient advocates and consumer affairs professionals to write for publication. Publishing articles and informative documents is an excellent way to educate, as well as promote yourself, your profession, your organization, and your Society.
Chapter Recognition Award
This award is designed to promote and recognize chapter achievement and success. The chapter with the most points will be honored in a special session during the Chapter Development Meeting held onsite at the SHCA Annual Conference.
Ruth Ravich Award
This award recognizes an individual whose work supports the vision of the Society – to bring the patients’ needs to the center of healthcare. The first award was presented in 1991 to Ruth Ravich, the Society’s first president, and for whom the award is named.
To learn more about each of the awards, visit the SHCA website at http://www.shca-aha.org/shca-aha/awards/awards.html.
Back to top
As a volunteer-based organization, SHCA depends on, and greatly appreciates, contributions of members’ time and expertise to fulfill our mission.
SHCA organizes various volunteer opportunities around subject matters relevant to healthcare patient advocacy issues. This allows SHCA to appoint volunteers to the activities for which they are best suited and to track the diversity of skills and expertise in our membership for future opportunities.
Each SHCA issues two calls for participation annually:
1. Call for Volunteers – Committee Volunteers
2. Call for Faculty – Annual Conference and Domains of Practice Modules
SHCA encourages all members to participate fully in SHCA activities and advocacy. Opportunities include contributing to SHCA News, participating at round tables during the annual conference, and serving on SHCA committees and task forces. Committees and task forces are formed in the spring and begin their work in the fall.
For more information about leadership rolls in SHCA, please review the Leadership Opportunities section of the SHCA website.
The Call for Volunteers is announced in March and assignments for that year’s work teams and task forces are typically made in June.
Each committee or task force is supported by SHCA staff, and a member of the Board serves as a liaison between the group and SHCA leadership to ensure that efforts are advancing the strategic goals of the organization.
Faculty and presenters for the SHCA Annual Conference are managed through the Call for Presentations, which is available on the conference website. The Call is usually open throughout the summer and speaker selections are made by the end of October.
Back to top
Chapter Leadership Development Workshop
SHCA hosts the Chapter Leadership Workshop each year on the first day of the Annual Conference. The workshop is an excellent source of leadership tools and information, as well as an opportunity to share experiences, ideas and solutions with fellow chapter leaders from across the country.
The program includes presentations on issues of interest to chapter leaders, such as membership recruitment and retention, finances and chapter operations, recruiting and motivating volunteers, sponsorship and educational programs and other aspects of running a successful chapter.
In addition, chapter leaders have a chance to network with other leaders, learning what issues they have in common and how other leaders and organizations have tackled these challenges. In addition, chapter leaders can share their best practices for serving their members and the patient advocate profession.
All current presidents and presidents-elect are invited to attend, or they can designate a chapter representative to attend in their place. The agenda for the workshop is planned each year by the Chapter Relations Committee, which builds on feedback and suggestions from chapter leaders across the country. Invitations are sent out in January.
SHCA offers marketing and promotional support to its chapters through its publications and web site. SHCA will promote your chapter meeting, conference or other event through e-News and via the Events Calendar.
Send a copy of your chapter program brochure or details of your event, including date, time, location, program agenda and/or speakers and contact information, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Materials for Chapter Meetings
SHCA can supply promotional materials for your upcoming meeting, including program brochures, membership applications, archive webinar, publications materials with order forms, raffle items and other SHCA materials (SHCA Conference materials when available) for distribution at your upcoming conference (meeting).
Contact SHCA at email@example.com or (312) 422-3700 to request materials for your next meeting. This can include an e-blast to surrounding states advertising your conference.
Back to top
SHCA Board Presentation
Members of the SHCA Board of Directors can visit chapter’s conferences (first come first served/as funds are available) throughout the year, sharing SHCA’s strategic vision with chapter leaders and members. If you are interested in having a SHCA representative attend your chapter conference, please contact the SHCA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Become an Affiliated Chapter
The purpose of affiliation is to provide an organized structure that will enable association members to work together on problems of mutual interest; to conduct educational programs; to serve as a resource to related healthcare associations; to provide channels of communications between the Association and the affiliated chapters and its members; and to promote the purpose of, and membership in the Association.
Affiliated chapters provide valuable links between healthcare administrators of patient advocacy in close geographic proximity. Improved communications and cooperation between members enhances national membership and gives members opportunities to provide input and develop professionally.
Click here for the requirements and benefits of being a SHCA affiliated chapter.
Starting a New SHCA Chapter
The idea to form a local society usually begins with local patient advocates who share work, goals, and ideas in common.
These professionals usually meet at seminars, hospital gatherings, or local training programs. The need for sharing and comparing policies, procedures, and job descriptions usually forms a strong bond between the supervisors and managers of local hospitals.
Another method of communication is through the vendors who visit hospitals in the local area. Vendors have a way of carrying information from one hospital to another. Through this chain of communication, you can discover who has what equipment, who is using what methods and how they are being utilized.
Once all of the above is established, the next step is to inquire how many would support and participate in forming a local society.
If you are interested in starting a new SHCA chapter in your area, SHCA can assist you with planning and promotion.
How a chapter is structured and organized is largely up to the chapter leadership and is not dictated by SHCA, although there are best practices, such as the ones recommended in this handbook. You will need to build interest in your new chapter, recruit charter members, establish chapter officers and election procedures, finalize bylaws and other foundational tasks.
To recruit members, SHCA can provide a list of SHCA members in your state or local area to whom you can market your chapter.
Once your chapter is officially organized and you meet the requirements for affiliation, you can submit a request for affiliation to SHCA. The SHCA Board of Directors reviews all requests for affiliation. Newly affiliated chapters are announced at the Annual Business Meeting during the Annual Conference in the spring.
Affiliated Chapter Directory
SHCA has over one dozen active affiliated chapters in the United States and Canada. For a complete listing of affiliated chapters, including contact information for current presidents and links to chapter web sites, visit the Affiliated Chapter Directory.
Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy
155 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60606
P: (312) 422-3700
F: (312) 278-0881
View the list of the Board of Directors.
Back to top