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Ashlander among first group of certified patient advocates

Ashland resident Elizabeth Austin is among the first cohort of 149 people to be board-certified patient advocates. She took the inaugural national certification exam for patient advocates at the Professional Testing Corporation branch in Medford on March 17 and recently received notice she passed.

“Patient Advocates are valuable resources to help people navigate the increasingly complex health care system,” Austin said. “My background and experience as a former R.N. and current life and career coach serve me well as a patient advocate.”

She’s one of 149 patient advocates certified by the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB) following the inaugural national certification exam for professionals working in the field of patient advocacy. Those certified can use the “BCPA” (board certified patient advocate) designation after their names.

The exam measures abilities and fitness for serving patients and their families who need assistance with some portion of their journey through the healthcare system.

The certification exam was administered at testing sites across the United States. The non-profit PACB was organized in 2012 to establish ethical standards, professional competencies and best practices for professionals who work in the emerging field of patient advocacy.

“Patient advocacy is becoming increasingly distinct as an independent professional domain,” said Connie Sunderhaus, PACB president. “Historically populated by skilled practitioners from a variety of professional backgrounds, patient advocates can now demonstrate their knowledge and professionalism by achieving a credential unique to this practice.”

Patient advocates who earn the BCPA credential must be recertified every three years. Certified advocates will be listed on the PACB website upon consent. The exam will be available two times a year. The next testing period is scheduled for September. Registration for that exam session is available on the PACB website at www.pacboard.org.

The site also hosts news and developments about the organization and information related to exam registration and credential maintenance.

Elizabeth Austin