Single-Payer Strategy Conference, Jan. 13 – Jan. 15, 2017

December 10, 2016

Join Us in New York, NY!

You are invited to join hundreds of activists for a weekend of inspiration and strategy to win single-payer national health insurance! This year’s national Strategy Conference will be hosted in New York, where the Campaign for New York Health has passed single-payer legislation through the state Assembly the past two years and is closing in on legislation in the Senate. The conference also takes place one week before the Presidential Inauguration, providing space for new activists and experienced leaders alike to learn best organizing practices from around the country and analyze the challenges and opportunities facing the single-payer movement this coming year.

Rally: Friday, January 13, 4:00PM-5:00PM
Reception: Friday, January 13, 7:00PM-9:00PM
Conference: Saturday, January 14, 9:00AM-5:30PM; and Sunday, January 15, 9:00AM-12:00 noon

Conference Venues:
Healthcare Justice Rally at Trump Plaza (Friday, 4PM-5PM): 5th Ave & East 56th St, New York, NY 10019
Friday night reception (7PM-9PM): Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor, 481 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001
Saturday (9AM-6PM) and Sunday (9AM-noon) conference: AFSCME District Council 37, 125 Barclay St, New York, NY 10007

Conference flyer: Download a PDF version here. (If printing multiple copies, please use a union print shop!)

Conference Wiki: Coming soon!

Live tweets: Follow the conference (or comment on the conference) on twitter using #spscny and #singlepayer

Registration: Follow the three steps below to complete your conference registration!

STEP 1 – Please Register for the Conference

Click here to register online today! Early registration is $75 per person through Friday, December 16, after which registration rises to $85 per person. Registration includes lunch on Saturday (Jan 14th) and continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday (Jan 14th-15th), along with access to the Friday night reception at the Wyndham New Yorker and all plenaries and workshops Saturday and Sunday.

Registration does not book you a hotel room – proceed to Step 2!

STEP 2 – Book Your Hotel Room

Healthcare-NOW and the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare have reserved a block of rooms at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel at $149 per night. The New Yorker Hotel is located half a block away from Penn Station. You can book a room with one queen-sized bed or two double beds at this rate, and attendees are welcome to share rooms if they wish at no additional charge. The cut-off date for getting the group rate is Friday, December 30th, but we also have limited rooms in our block and may run out prior to December 30th! You can book you room online or by phone:

Solidarity Housing and Hotel Room Sharing

Follow this link for our solidarity housing and room sharing page for the conference! Here we list everyone (anonymously) offering and seeking solidarity housing, as well everyone interested in sharing a hotel room, along with any criteria they may have (e.g. gender preference, allergies to cats/dogs, etc.). If you would like to have a post added to our solidarity housing page, or be put in touch with anyone who has a post listed, shoot us an email at!

STEP 3 – Support the Conference With an Ad or Name Listing in the Program Book!

Click here to purchase an ad in the Conference Program Book! Ads in the program book are a great way to show your support for the movement, to thank particular organizations or individuals, or to get the word out about your work. This year, we are seeking a small number of “Platinum Sponsors” to make a $2,500 donation that will enable us to host the opening night reception at the hotel, and comes with a complimentary full-page ad and a free registration fee.

RightCare Weekly

December 10, 2016

If you are interested in subscribing contact Ellen Kagan
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In order to bring you more of the news you want to read, RightCare Weekly summarizes and interprets three important articles and provides headlines linking to the many other articles and editorials you’ll find interesting. As always, RightCare Weekly presents articles related to moving our healthcare system toward the right care for all patients.

Join the conversation: Post your comments in our section at the bottom of this page.

Right Care Alliance members all over the country were hard at work this month organizing and participating in events focused on the theme of listening for Right Care Action Week, and that hard work paid off! This year we organized nearly 100 events, with thousands of participants in 25 states (plus DC), which included 32 listening booths, 16 story slams, 39 “What Worries You” activities, and many other listening-related events. We partnered with 20 organizations, posted 550 tweets with the #RCAW hashtag, and reached more than a million people on Twitter. Several events also piqued the attention of news media. Maia Dorsett, MD, an Emergency Medicine council member, was featured in STAT’s On Call newsletter for her “What Worries You” activity. WTNH in New Haven, C.T. covered two listening booths at the New Haven Public Library, one of which was manned by Lown Institute President Vikas Saini, MD. And New England Cable Newsinterviewed Lown Institute Senior Organizing Fellow Francisco Irby, MD, about his Boston-area listening tours. Thanks to all the RCAW organizers and participants for listening and sharing! Stay tuned for more stories from RCAW coming soon.

Workplace wellness programs are supposed to encourage employees to quit smoking, get fit, or better manage illnesses like diabetes—and keep health care costs down in the process. Many employers use wellness programs as a carrot or a stick, offering financial incentives to join programs or penalties for abstaining. While these programs are growing in number, some employees are resisting sharing personal medical information with their employers. This week, the The New York Times reports that the AARP filed suit against the agency that issues rules for the programs, citing the rules violate anti-discrimination laws protecting workers’ health records, and it questioned whether the programs are, in fact, voluntary, given the consequences of non-participation. In May, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that employers could set incentives as high as 30 percent of the annual cost of an individual employee’s health insurance coverage. The AARP contends that its members face “imminent harm” from the rules, which allow “employers to pressure employees to divulge their own confidential health information and confidential genetic information of their spouses as part of an employee ‘wellness’ program.” It is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the rules, which go into effect next year. The real question is, do these programs actually help workers improve their health? They might, according to STAT, but there’s still no proof.

With all the policies and promises around improving health care quality, one would think that there must be standardized measures used to evaluate it. It turns out, only a small proportion of quality measures are similarly defined and used by various health care payers, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported this week. For example, a 2013 study found more than 500 different measures used across 48 health plans, only 20% of which were used by more than one program. This plethora of measures wastes time, money, and energy. One study found that doctors spend 785 hours per year on documenting quality measurements overall—that’s a full month! Compiling different information for different payers contributes to administrative burden. Additionally, doctors receive conflicting information from different payers on their performance, making it difficult to identify what changes are needed to improve quality. Meanwhile, many quality metrics have no bearing on patient outcomes, say several organizations, including Care That Matters, a group affiliated with the Right Care Alliance. It’s high time for the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and implement meaningful quality measures that matter, and for payers to quit haranguing doctors and nurses with metrics that don’t.






Public health


Med ed


Mental health




End of life

Clinician health

Conflicts of interest

Doctor-patient communication

RightCare Weekly is made possible through the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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Ellen Kagan – Just What The Doctor Ordered

December 10, 2016

A one-woman show about Ellen’s wild and crazy adventures at a Harvard-teaching hospital.

Lown Institute 5th Annual Institute Conference

December 10, 2016

5th Annual Lown Institute Conference

Don’t miss the 5th Annual Lown Institute Conference — a conference unlike any other. Join national leaders in medicine, nursing, patient advocacy and policy to build the movement for a health care system that exists for the benefit of patients, communities and society: Friday through Sunday, May 5-7, 2017, Boston. Learn more about the conference on the Events page of our website, and watch this video from our 2016 gathering for an idea of what you will experience at a Lown Institute conference.

Our Mission

We seek to catalyze a grassroots movement for transforming health care systems and improving the health of communities.

Our Vision

A society that fosters health. We seek a society where health and health care are seen as rights; where physicians and nurses serve as healers and as advocates for those who are vulnerable and most in need of care; where patients are safe from avoidable harm; and where spending on health care exists for the benefit of patients, communities and nations.

Our Core Values

Promote health
Focus on patients
Maintain a global outlook
Promote sound science
Demand professionalism, free of financial conflicts
Promote the right care
Advance democratic, community-led change

Our Strategy

Our strategy is to build a grassroots social movement representing an alliance of health professionals, religious and community groups, and the general public. This movement’s goal: to advocate for a transformation of the health care system and for a redirection of resources currently being wasted in health care towards promoting community health and redressing health disparities.

The movement, called the RightCare Alliance, was formed in 2013. We are currently recruiting clinicians, nurses, students, and trainees into a national health professionals’ network to develop a critique of the current system and share our perspective with others to learn from them. Our ultimate goal is to engage the public through events intended to foster democratic dialogue about health and health care, and to help communities envision a better system, and then advocate for the necessary change. Our long term vision is for local control of health care delivery and for mechanisms that can return currently wasted resources back to communities to support spending that promotes health.

Why Now?

The next few years will see unprecedented consolidation of hospitals and physician groups, wielding enormous economic power and social and political influence. Without a grassroots movement advocating for the health needs of patients and communities, these mega-institutions are unlikely to invest in the policies and infrastructure that best serve the interests of the community.

To learn more about us, read our brochure here.

Ithaca Community MatchUp Sunday Dec. 11th, 2-5 pm

December 3, 2016

Ithaca Community MatchUp
Sunday Dec. 11th, 2-5 pm

We are entering into uncertain times with a divided nation. It is more important than ever to build community and make sure that everyone’s basic needs are met and their civil rights ensured. No one understands this better than the agencies, institutions, coalitions and nonprofits that provide support services and advocacy for marginalized and under-served populations, as well as those organisations fighting to preserve our environment. These all serve a critical function in our community, and they must receive the support they need if we are to prosper as a society in the future.

Local Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles, a long-time community activist, recognizes their uncertainty and concern. She feels called to action, as do many others, including the Tompkins County Progressive Committee members. Anna is working on dozens of ideas, including a community event that will connect community members with local organizations. This event, which she  is calling a “Community MatchUp” will take place on Sunday, December 11th, from 2 to 5 pm, in the Space at Greenstar. There will be food, music and good cheer, and dozens of worthy local organizations!

Anna’s Community MatchUp is meant to be a matchmaking event, a quick and fun way to see what is already in place in our community, and to support existing efforts to help marginalized populations and the environment. What does each organization need to continue to support basic needs and civil rights in our community? Do they need volunteers, board members, funding, networking support?  Visitors can certainly make one-time monetary donations, but Anna hopes that people will want to develop deeper relationships. Each one of us alone cannot guarantee that all organizations thrive, but if we each adopt one or several that inspire us, and build a relationship with them, we as a community can meet critical needs as they arise.

Anna is asking each organization to bring a mailing list signup form, a volunteer signup form (where applicable), and a donation box for their table. She also asks each organization to have a one-page handout sheet that includes the organization’s name, contact information, website and a brief answer to the following three questions:
• what is the organization’s mission?
• who is the target population served?
• and what are the current and upcoming needs of the organization?
Tables and tablecloths will be provided.  Participating organizations are asked to bring any additional material they may need, as well as fun holiday decorations for their tables.

Visitors are invited to donate time and/or money. These can be given in the spirit of the holidays, in the name of a loved one or of future generations, or on behalf the planet. For those who wish, Anna will have holiday cards for donors take and give to their loved ones, in which they can describe the donation they made in honor of their friend or family member.
During the event, there will be a silent auction to raise money for organizations and initiatives in rural communities outside of Ithaca. America is facing the hard truth that we are a nation divided along urban/suburban and rural lines, and this divide has kept us suffering socially, economically, environmentally, and emotionally. Raising money for our nearby rural communities is one way we can begin to heal this divide.  
Anna says: The golden age of organizing and activism has begun and we are all invited to take part in the change that we see needs to happen. It’s time to tear down walls and nurture the values of acceptance, mutual respect, and unity. True prosperity will only manifest when EVERYONE’s basic needs are met and EVERYONE has a voice at the table of revolution.

December 11th is just around the corner, of course, so we could really use your help to make this event a success!  The entire event is volunteer-driven with zero budget, so if you or someone you know is inspired, you can show your support not only by attending, but also promoting it among your friends, by volunteering to help set up or clean up, by donating finger food and snacks for participants, or bydonating for the silent auction table.
If you would like more information about the MatchUp event, you can visit the website or the facebook page where you will find and be able to share the facebook event.

If you know an organization that is oriented around local basic human needs, social and civil rights, or the environment, feel free to forward this bernletter to them and invite them to apply for a table. .
If you are able to volunteer or donate food, please send an email to If you are able to donate something for the silent auction, please fill out this form
We hope to see you and your friends at the Community MatchUp on December 11th!