Monday, August 17, 2009

Request from Health Care for All

I am posting this at the request of our friends at Health Care for All:

Have you ever had a bad experience in a hospital or other health care setting?

Has someone in your family received poor health care in Massachusetts?

Have you been an advocate for someone or helped them navigate the complex health care system?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, please consider joining the Consumer Health Quality Council, a coalition of consumers who advocate for improving the delivery of health care in Massachusetts. The Consumer Council was founded by Health Care For All close to three years ago to respond to growing concerns about the quality of health care nationally and in Massachusetts.

The Consumer Council’s mission is to empower those impacted by health care quality issues to have a voice in our health care system, to engage fellow consumers to be active partners in their health care, and to advocate for high quality, safe, and accessible health care for all Massachusetts residents.

Here are two examples of how Consumer Council members share their stories to advocate for change in how health care is delivered:

Robena Reid’s mother, Marie, entered a Boston area hospital in December of 2006. Her mother was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer affecting the pleural membrane surrounding her lungs.

While in the hospital, her mother contracted an intestinal infection caused by clostridium difficile. Because of this hospital-acquired infection, her mother was unable to receive treatment for the cancer and passed away. Robena has become an advocate for improving care and testified at the Massachusetts State House, with the help of Health Care For All, to encourage public reporting of hospital-acquired infections.

Lucilia and Joe Prates’ father, Antonio, went into a hospital to have kidney stones removed in January of 2005. As a result of the procedure, Antonio became a victim of a hospital-acquired infection and an adverse medical event, which ultimately led to his death in August of 2005. Lucilia and Joe share their father’s story in hopes of improving the quality of care that others receive.

You can view additional videos of Consumer Council members’ stories at . Since its inception, the Consumer Council has been successful in advocating for state laws that aim to improve the delivery of health care and make it safer for patients and families. Massachusetts leads the nation in many measure of health care quality, but there is a lot of room for improvement. We can, and should, always strive to do better.

The Consumer Council and Health Care For All urge those of you who have received poor quality care to start speaking up and sharing your stories and to work with us toward the common goal of providing high quality care to all residents of Massachusetts. For more information about the Consumer Health Quality Council and how to become a member, please contact Kuong Ly at Health Care For All: kly [at] hcfama [dot] org or 617-275-2940.


Unknown said...

I have never had any appreciable problems in Canada, with universal health care. No waits for serious procedures and reasonable waits for elective procedures, no rationing, no government between physician and patient.

In the seven years I lived in the US, however, when I was looking the kind of quality care I had received in Canada, I was denied by the insurance company at every turn. I had the insurance bureaucrats between me and my physician, rationing care, and making treatment decisions my physician and I should be making, in the way that we did in Canada. I found the US health care system to be low quality and barbaric compared to my Canadian experience. I would suggest that the US look to a single payer model of the kind in which I have received much better care in Canada than I did in the corrupt US one.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to the Consumer Health Quality Council. There are innumerable stories about poor quality care in U.S. hospitals. Yes, even in hallowed Boston institutions. It is extremely important that families demand hospital accountability for each event of preventable harm. Paired with tragic stories of care are often a sense of dismissal or obfuscation by staff. Every family should demand transparency. What happens internally to this case? Is it documented as preventable harm? Who is responsible for an investigation into its causes? What will change because my family member died?