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Campaign for Better Care Ads Tell Lawmakers: The Hard Work of Implementing Health Reform Begins Now

Leading Consumer, Health, Aging and Labor Organizations Say Reform Must Translate to Better Care for Older Patients and Their Family Caregivers

WASHINGTON, DC — April 13, 2010 — "Will you help her?" That’s the question the Campaign for Better Care, led by the National Partnership for Women & Families, Community Catalyst and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), is asking policymakers today in new print and banner ads running in The Hill, Politico and Roll Call. The Campaign  is urging lawmakers to ensure that health reform works for the millions of older adults with multiple health problems, and their family caregivers, many of whom are struggling in today’s fragmented, uncoordinated health care system.

"Health reform is law, but in some ways the hardest work is just beginning," said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. "As we implement reform, we need to focus on improving communication and coordination of care, putting medical records at patients’ fingertips through better technology, and ending the poor communication, duplication and waste that plague our system now. Reform has put solutions within reach for the first time, but implementation is key if we are to realize its promise for those who need it most — patients who are older and have multiple health problems."

The Campaign for Better Care  was formed to ensure that the reformed health care system provides the comprehensive, coordinated, patient- and family-centered care that older adults and individuals with multiple health problems need. It is guided by a broad-based Steering Committee comprised of leaders of some of the nation’s most powerful groups, and a diverse Consumer Coalition with more than 100 national, state and local organizations that are coming together for the first time ever to work on this set of issues.

See the ad here. A national survey of Americans age 50 or older, conducted by Lake Research Partners in March for the Campaign for Better Care, finds that three in four respondents (74 percent) have wished that their doctors talked and shared information with each other. Millions have experienced problems related to a lack of communication and coordination:

  • 47 percent of heavy users of the health care system, and one in three people age 50 or older, say their doctors do not talk to them about potential interactions with other drugs or over-the-counter medications when they prescribe new medications.
  • 36 percent of heavy users of the health care system, and 20 percent of people age 50 or older, say they have received conflicting information from different doctors.
  • One in eight (13 percent) respondents has had to redo a test or procedure because the doctor or hospital did not have the earlier results.
  • 29 percent of respondents have had to act as a communicator between doctors who weren’t talking to each other.
  • Three-quarters of heavy users of the health care system (76 percent) have left a doctor’s office or hospital confused about what to do at home.

Learn more about the public opinion survey and the Campaign for Better Care, and read stories of patients who need better care, at www.CampaignForBetterCare.org.

 

The Campaign for Better Care is working to protect vulnerable older patients with multiple health problems and ensure they can access well-coordinated, quality health care. The Campaign for Better Care is led by the National Partnership for Women & Families, Community Catalyst, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the National Health Law Program — and funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies.