April 20, 2009
I'm writing today to ask you and your patients to join TMA's Patients' Right to Know campaign. Our patients and our practices need health insurance reform NOW.
Why Is It Important That You and Your Patients Join the Campaign?
Health insurance reform is the No. 1 issue on TMA's 2009 legislative agenda. It is imperative that lawmakers take important steps this session to bring greater transparency and accountability to health insurance business practices. The health plans' abusive business tactics confuse and frustrate our patients. Even worse, these schemes force patients to pay more money out of pocket for their care. Health insurers' business practices also hurt the patient-physician relationship and drive up the costs of running our practices.
TMA has legislation in play to address these issues. The Health Insurance Code of Conduct Act of 2009 would ensure greater transparency and accountability in the way health insurance companies conduct business. It also would better protect patients from questionable insurance tactics that result in loss of coverage and increased out-of-pocket costs.
However, this bill and many other health insurance reform measures are stuck in House and Senate committees. To get these bills moving, TMA has kicked off an aggressive, grassroots campaign - Patients' Right to Know. The goal of the campaign is to enlist our patients in the battle. Physicians and patients need to encourage legislators to pass these bills and stop the passage of dangerous, pro-insurance bills. The goal is to switch the paradigm among legislators and opinion leaders from being a doctor-vs.-insurance company problem to being a patient-vs.-insurance company problem.
TMA's extensive public opinion research indicates that the time is ripe for physicians to lead the charge for health insurance reform in Texas. Texas patients are looking for someone to take the lead on their behalf - TMA is stepping up to the plate. We can no longer remain complacent. Physicians and patients must take action and soon . It is becoming quite apparent that too many of our state legislators are aligned with big business - health insurance companies, hospitals, and trial lawyers - rather than with physicians and patients.
The Patients' Right to Know campaign is not a single-shot effort. It is a long-term campaign. TMA also will use this outreach effort to engage patients in the national health system reform debate and as we gear up for the next election cycle. There is no voice stronger than that of "physicians and patients."
Please Join TMA's Patients' Right to Know Campaign
How Can You and Your Patients Get Involved In the Campaign?
- Post the Patients' Right to Know poster (PDF) in your waiting or exam rooms. Research indicates that almost 80 percent of patients said they read and remembered the subject of a poster and educational materials in the physician waiting room. 1
- Use the tablet of prescription pads (PDF). Give each one of your patients a slip from the prescription pad. Encourage them to join the Patients' Right to Know campaign.
- Put the bumper sticker (PDF) on your car or give it to one of your patients to put on his or her vehicle.
- Ask your patients to go to www.MeAndMyDoctor.com to learn how they can help reform health insurance and share their own health insurance nightmare stories. Patients increasingly use the Internet to obtain medical information and may plan to change their health behavior based on that information. 2
- Tell your patients that their voice is important in the effort to reform health insurance business practices. Their state legislators need to hear directly from them today. Direct them to www.MeAndMyDoctor.com to ask their legislators to support the bills in the Patients' Right to Know campaign. Ask them to hold big insurance companies accountable for the promises they make.
- You and your patients can join the campaign on Facebook. Join the Patients' Right to Know cause. Invite your Facebook friends to join, as well.
Together, you and your patients can reform health insurance in Texas.
Thanks again for your help. Together, we are stronger. We must unite, and unite now, to fix our broken health care system.
Josie R. Williams, MD
Patients Right to Know Campaign Materials
1 Ward K, Hawthorne K. Do patients read health promotion posters in the waiting room? A study in one general practice. British Journal of General Practice . December 1994;44(389):583-585.
2 Helwig AL, Lovelle A, Guse CE, Gottlieb MS. An office-based internet patient education system: a pilot study. The Journal of Family Practice. 1998;48(2):123-127.