Frequently asked questions: Advocacy

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Get in touch!

For more information on our advocacy services, please contact our Advocacy Line at (608) 890-0321 or

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What is patient advocacy?

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement defines a patient advocate as a “supporter, believer, sponsor, promoter, campaigner, backer, or spokesperson.”

What does patient advocacy mean to us?

It means helping people with serious illnesses find the care they need. It means helping patients, families, and providers communicate, negotiate, and make tough, important calls.

We educate teams of graduate and professional students in the best way we know how—by giving them an opportunity to support real patients and caregivers in real situations. This commitment to education and advocacy is only matched by our commitment to equity and access. As such, all advocacy services at the Center are offered free of charge.

We serve patients facing lift changing health events, regardless of income or residence. It’s not our position to manage a patient’s care for them—we empower and encourage our clients to captain their own ship whenever possible. Client and advocate decide together what kind of advocacy is necessary.

Among other things, we help clients:

  • clarify diagnosis and treatment options make decisions
  • options negotiate coverage with insurance providers
  • help clarify financing options for treatments
  • build their own self-advocacy skills as needed


What is health advocacy?

Advocacy can take place at the individual level, with each patient and family, or at the systems level, within groups, organizations, and institutions.

At CPP, we help students and partners learn about systems through patient advocacy, or work with individual patients and families. Our staff and students also engage directly in systems-level advocacy projects, applying lessons and evidence to help inform and expand decision-making options among policy-makers, health systems administrators, medical education teams, and community partners.

What do we do to make health care better for everyone?

At CPP, we help students and and our clients uncover the ways health care is broken and engage with systems like health care and insurance organizations and government to  make improvements.

Who do we serve?

We serve patients and their families in Wisconsin, regardless of income.

Is there a cost for advocacy services?

No. Our advocacy services are free and available to anyone in Wisconsin. Remember, you will be working with a student advocate so sharing your experience with them is vital to their learning.

While we don’t charge for our services, we depend on the generosity of individual donors like you. We rely on small contributions—clients and families who find our work valuable often choose to make a gift to the Center in support of our educational mission.

What is the value of working with a student?

Our students are committed to providing meaningful, effective advocacy and are supervised by a staff of professional advocates. These students will soon become professionals working within the healthcare system. By experiencing health care from your perspective, they will be better providers and stakeholders in the healthcare system.

How long will I work with an advocate?

We want to help you along your healthcare journey as efficiently as possible. We are a short-term support. Our student advocates provide services on a semester schedule. Semesters are three to four months long. Whenever possible, we try to complete advocacy within one semester. Your advocate will work with you to create an advocacy timeline.

Of course, not all issues can be resolved within a semester time frame. In those cases, we’ll work to transition your case to another student advocate or find a more appropriate community resource that can work with you long-term.

Is my information kept confidential?

Yes. Staff, student, and volunteer advocates sign a Confidentiality Agreement and receive training about confidentiality and ethical practices. We will only release information with your permission. If you have additional questions about privacy,  ask for a copy of our Privacy Policy Authorization for Release of Information Sheet.

What is “empowered, patient-centered” advocacy?

Advocacy is a partnership. You have a significant role in advocacy, and will likely need to continue advocating for yourself or family members long after our work is complete. Therefore, advocates at the Center will not do all the work – we will work with you, in partnership. Sometimes you may not be able to provide as much self-advocacy as you would like. During these times we will provide additional support and/or help you create a support network of family and friends.