www.tidewaterreview.com/features/health/chi-primetime-healthgraphic-081011,0,584297.story

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Finding an advocate

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If you or your relative would like to hire a health advocate, the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (NAHAC) has a website that is open to the public with a searchable database, at nahac.com.

"Ask about their training, background, and their areas of strength. The most critical piece is finding someone who works the way you want to work," says NAHAC President Joanna Smith. "Most advocates will meet or talk with you for a while initially for free to see if they are a good fit. They should not charge for the first meeting — that is a red flag."

Another website is Advo-Connection, at advoconnection.com. Also, you may ask your local agency on aging or senior center for referrals.