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Catalog and Student Handbook 2019-2020

Patient Advocacy, Certificate (Online)

This program has a planned start date of Spring 2020, subject to change at the discretion of the College. 


The U.S. Healthcare System is in a state of rapid change, especially with regard to technology, credentialing, finance and policy. Navigating the system is a significant challenge for many segments of our population, especially our most vulnerable citizens. To address this problems, there is a pressing need for individuals who have the knowledge and skills to assist consumers with the daunting task of finding the personalized services they need at a price they can afford.

An emerging strategy for improving access to care is the designation of Professional Healthcare Advocates.  These positions go by various names including Patient Experience Liaisons, Patient Service Representatives, Patient Navigators, Patient Care Associates, and Ombudspersons.  Individuals serving in these role have the responsibility of working with other healthcare professionals to assure that all patients, regardless of their circumstances, have access to high quality healthcare and to make informed decisions about the services they receive.  For this to happen, Healthcare Advocates must be able to assess consumer needs, inform them of their options, and assist them in negotiating the “red tape” necessary to access the services they need at a cost they can afford. 

Nationwide efforts to prepare professionals to function as Healthcare Advocates reached a critical juncture in June 2018 when, after more than seven years of deliberation, the most widely recognized authority on patient advocacy, the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB), announced that they will offer an exam-based National Board Certification in Patient Advocacy (BCPA). This credential is based on standards and practices that reflect the knowledge and insight of a diverse group of key stakeholders, including physicians, allied health professionals, healthcare administrators, healthcare educators, researchers, and former patients.  While there are currently no specific educational or experiential pre-requisites for the exam, the PACB indicates that applicants should be well prepared in the following six domains:


  1. Scope of Practice and Transparency
  2. Empowerment, Autonomy, Rights, and Equity
  3. Medical Knowledge and the Healthcare System
  4. Healthcare Access, Finance, and Management
  5. Communication and Interpersonal Relationships
  6. Professionalism, Professional Development, and Practice


Labouré College’s Patient Advocate Certification Program is built around these six domains and is designed to serve a range of consumers, including those with significant knowledge and experience in healthcare and those who are new to the field.  It can be completed in as little as three semesters and provides the foundation necessary to pass the National Board Certification exam and be employed in a healthcare organization as a Board Certified Patient Advocate (BCPA).   For individuals with earned degrees and/or prior experience in a healthcare field, an advanced placement option is available that shortens completion time by one semester.

Program of Study

While the College makes every effort to avoid schedule changes, the College may cancel courses or alter course schedules without prior notification.


HIT 1040Introduction to the Study of Disease


HIT 1051Introduction to the Study of Disease


PAD 1000Introduction to Patient Advocacy


SSC 1050Fundamentals of Health Care Delivery


HIT 1250Healthcare Delivery and Reimbursement


SSC 2020Communication and Interpersonal Skills for Healthcare Professionals


Total Credits: 18

HIT 1040 and HIT 1051 can be waived for individuals with prior degrees and/or experience in a healthcare field. 

Students are awarded the certificate after meeting the following requirements: 

  • Successful completion of the certificate program as prescribed by the College 
  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher
  • A minimum grade of C (73-76) in all courses
  • Completion of all patient advocacy program requirements within two years of enrollment at the College