Patient Rights

Nurses Activism


ANA Joins Coalition in Rally for Patients' Rights

Washington, DC -- The American Nurses Association (ANA) today joined a coalition for patients' rights in a rally on the west side of the Capitol in support of strong patients rights legislation.

ANA President Mary Foley, MS, RN, spoke along with coalition members, senators and other health care and consumer leaders supporting the patients' rights legislation introduced by Senators John McCain (R-AZ), John Edwards (D-NC) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA). ANA believes every individual should have access to health care services along the full continuum of care and be an empowered partner in making health care decisions. The association has been very

active in pushing for strong, comprehensive and enforceable patient protection legislation.

"A true patients' bill of rights must provide for a strong, enforceable and independent appeals process, and health plans must be accountable for their decisions," Foley said. Foley also noted that nurses must be able to advocate for their patients health and safety without fear of retaliation.

Also parked outside the Capitol was an ambulance with a huge digital counter mounted on top that displayed the number of people who have experienced and are still suffering delays or denials in medical care since President Bush took office. By the end of the rally, the counter displayed over 7.5 million people.

"The heart of the nursing profession is patient advocacy," said Foley. "Today nurses stand firmly with their patients and say: No more delay, no more denial! Now is the time for making patients rights a reality."

Earlier Foley participated in another Capitol Hill event unveiling a television advertising campaign featuring the father of a sick child who experienced first-hand the frustrating and possibly life-threatening repercussions of denied health care. The father, Dylan Malone, also spoke at the coalition rally. The advertising campaign, which supports the McCain-Kennedy-Edwards bill, will begin airing on Friday, June 22, 2001.

Senate Approves Far-Reaching Patients' Rights Legislation

The problem that I have with the patient bill of rights is that it does nothing for the individuals that have no insurance at all.

In fact, the patient bill of rights just may increase premiums and push even more people into the ranks of the uninsured. It is just another bandaide solution to a larger problem. What we need is major healthcare reform, not more micromanaging of our healthcare system by the government. A true patient bill of rights would include every American citizen. Every American has a right to quality healthcare!

We have a nurse who came from Sweden, who was telling us about their system of healthcare.Would be nice if we could pattern ours after them, where everyone is born with healthcare access for a lifetime. But socialized medicine scares people.

We have been brained washed in the US into thinking that "socialized medicine" is a bad thing. Please read my recent post under "HMO executive compensation" re: a single-payer system.

feisty nurse,

I agree, single-payor would wipe out so much waste. I also don't believe this country is ready to hear it. Certainly not while Dubya is in office to boot. Socialized medicine is all anyone would hear.

I think we have to continue to head towards meltdown (and believe we are, indeed, heading that way.) Tragedies will have to occur with frequency. The middle class has to get hit, not just the people without health insurance.

Sad to say, that's when eyes will open. Us nurses can see it all coming, can't we?

You are so right natalie! Sometimes things just have to run their course. However, this doesn't mean I am just sitting back and waiting for the crash. I remain very involved in legislative activities in healthcare. Right now many states are developing universal healthcare systems in preparation for the total collapse of managed care. These systems (mostly single-payer) will be well studied and thought out and ready to be implemented when the time is right.

Uwe Reinhardt, Princeton University, on the patients' rights


"I think it was a ridiculous diversion of political energy that

distracts from the truly shocking problems of the American health care

system -- the uninsured, the elderly without drugs ..."



July 6, 2001


The Patients Bill of Rights debate in Washington fails to address the day-to-day fears and concerns of patients. The bill would force them to go through an internal appeal, an external appeal, find and pay for an attorney and then spend more time waiting to be heard in our overcrowded court system.

They could literally die in the process.

Having the right to sue an HMO is an attempt to seek justice after the HMO has inflicted the harm. We have to prevent the harm.

Even if the Democrats win this battle, it would be the equivalent of applying a Band-Aid to treat a cancer, and will still perpetuate a

system that allows patient care to be at the mercy of an industry that has a built-in incentive to deny care. Every dollar of care an HMO can deny to a patient increases the HMO's bottom line. It's time we faced up to this obvious anti-patient structural defect.

Why not use the mechanism that has worked successfully for the patient for 35 years, while performing with a mere 2-percent cost ratio for administration? Extend Medicare to the non-seniors.

Joe Kane

Editor's Note: The writer serves on the executive board of the Long Island Coalition for a National Health Plan

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