February 5, 2017
The NY Health Act has a 2017 Assembly bill number, it’s A. 4738.
December 10, 2016
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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.
End of life
Conflicts of interest
RightCare Weekly is made possible through the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
December 10, 2016
A one-woman show about Ellen’s wild and crazy adventures at a Harvard-teaching hospital.
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.
We seek to catalyze a grassroots movement for transforming health care systems and improving the health of communities.
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
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 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.
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.
March 22, 2016
YOU ARE INVITED TO A FILM SCREENING AND PANEL DISCUSSIONFix It: Health Care at the Tipping PointMonday, April 25th at 6:30 p.m.Hosted by Cinemapolis120 East Green Street, Ithaca, NY.A Free Educational Program – Open to the Public• How is New York State addressing health care insurance access and costs and what is new under the Affordable Care Act and through the New York State Exchange, in 2016, for individuals andsmall businesses?• What is the Tompkins County Health Insurance Consortium, why was it formed, and how is it reducing costs?• What gaps exist and what are the challenges faced by health care providers, local governments, small businesses, and individuals?• What is the New York Health Act, an alternative financing and payment plan for universal health care insurance coverage? What health care benefits would be covered? How would the plan befinanced? What is the projected cost savings for individuals and small businesses?Please come and join our panelists who will address these questions following a short film, Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point. Health care financing is an important economic, social and health issuethat impacts all of us – individuals, businesses, health care providers, local governments and public school districts.The film looks at U.S. health care from a businessman’s perspective and, in interviews with experts in the fields of health care, economics, and health policy, discusses the current health care crisis, runaway health care costs associated with administrative waste and inefficiency of a multi-payer system, the economicimpact, and an alternative method of healthcare financing and payment.The panel discussion will focus on New York State and Tompkins County and address the questions posed above. There will be time for a Q&A session at the end of the program. Co–sponsors include the League of Women Voters of Tompkins County, New York Statewide Senior Action Council, and Single Payer NewYork. Support from the Social Justice Council of the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca is gratefully acknowledged.Panelists include:• Cassandra Aikman, Human Services Coalition Health Access Programs Coordinator• Stewart Auyash, MPH, PhD; Ithaca College, Associate Professor and Chair Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education; Professor Auyash teaches and researches public health policy,international health and human rights, and public health communication at Ithaca College with a focus on the social determinants of health. His most recent research addresses the intersections of human rights, public health, and new media.• Don Barber, Farmer, Builder, Town Supervisor and Founding Chair of the Tompkins Health Insurance Consortium, is now serving as the Consortium’s Executive Director;• Cor Drost, President and CEO, Transonic Systems Inc.• Annette Gaudino, Statewide Coordinator for the Campaign for New York Health, Physicians for a National Health Program–NY Metro Chapter; Annette Gaudino previously worked as a speech andswallowing therapist, and has over 25 years of activist experience in the LGBTQ, HIV/AIDS, and harm reduction movements.• William Klepack, MD, Dryden Family Medicine and Medical Director of the Tompkins County Department of Health.Please share this information widely and encourage everyone to join in this community discussion. Public parking is available above Cinemapolis and the Green Street bus stop is directly across the street.