DC COALITION/RESCUE HEALTH CARE DAY LOBBYING ON CAPITOL HILL

Many organizations have signed on to support Rescue Health Care Day. Here is your chance to do something concrete. This is one of two  Emails about lobbying Congress for the Patients' Bill of Rights. This one is for people who live in the Baltimore-Washington area who might be able to lobby their congress people on Capitol Hill. The other one is for people who live far away or  will not be able to go to Capitol Hill. Please contact your legislators one way or another--either in person or by phone/FAX.

Please pass this on to people who you think would like to work on getting the best possible Patients' Bill of Rights--health care professionals and consumers (patients).

If you have questions about this, please contact Peggy Ives, LCSW at PIves@aol.com, Linda Klein, LCSW at TheDCCoalition@aol.com,  or me.

Molly Perkins Hauck, Ph.D.

-----Original Message-----
From: TheDCCoalition@aol.com <TheDCCoalition@aol.com>
To: undisclosed-recipients:; <undisclosed-recipients:;>
Date: Friday, March 10, 2000 5:32 PM
Subject: DC COALITION/RESCUE HEALTH CARE DAY
 

--RESCUE HEALTH CARE LOBBY DAY  -  MARCH 31-  WASHINGTON D.C.!!

JOIN THE GREATER WASHINGTON COALITION OF MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AND CONSUMERS TO LOBBY ON CAPITOL HILL FOR THE RIGHT TO AS THE CRUCIAL COMPONENT IN THE UP-COMING PATIENTS BILL OF RIGHTS.

WHERE:  American Psychological Association, 750 First St. SE ,  First floor, Room  #1003.  At the Union Sta. Metro exit, turn right and go 1 and   blocks on First St.

WHEN:  8:45 to 9:45 am, after which we will attend appointments on the hill between 10:30 am and 3:00 pm.  D.C. members should be out by noon because  they have only one delegate.

HOW:  We will be briefed by David Nelson and Peter Newbould of APA during which time we will receive an update on facts, see a videotape of questions and  opposition statements we can expect from congress persons together with 30 second answers we can give, and learn lobbying etiquette.

WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU NOW:  If you can join us, call or e-mail with your address.  GWC members will then set up appointments with the appropriate Senators and Representatives.  We will be assigned to groups of 2-4, each of which will include a constituent of the congress person.

Call or e-mail:  VA residents:  Elizabeth Reynolds,  MD,  703-803-7971, asyoon@worldnet.att.net
        MD residents:  Diana Seasonwein, LCSW,  301-652-2096, Seasonwein@msn.com
        DC residents:  Elizabeth Buchanek, LCSW,  202-244-8103, JackB91334@aol.com
        Residents from other states:  Peggy Ives, LCSW,  202-362-4993, PIves@aol.com

WHAT: Following our stunning win in the House on patients rights last October, this legislation is now in House-Senate conference committee.  The Republican leadership wants a final bill by mid-April, so a Rescue Health Care Lobby Day  is perfect timing.  Were narrowing our focus to the RIGHT TO SUE in order to win in the final bill. The following is the one page position sheet we will take to our  appointments.

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RESCUE  HEALTH  CARE  DAY - APRIL 1, 2000  

March 31, 2000: To our elected Senators and Representatives: We, as members of the Greater Washington Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and Consumers, together with hundreds of other health professional and advocacy groups participating in Rescue Health Care Day, support a Patients Rights Bill which includes a strong RIGHT TO SUE component.  We ask you to persuade the House-Senate Conference Committee to report out a bill which ensures Health Plan Legal Accountability.  We ask you to urge the Conferees to:  

  Adopt the House- passed accountability provision  as contained in the Norwood-Dingell bill, H.R. 2990.  This provision affords injured patients a right of recourse, while protecting employers from inappropriate actions. It closes the ERISA loophole which at present removes an important incentive to provide high quality health care by allowing MCOs to avoid accountability for their negligence. The courts alone cannot fix the ERISA loophole. They have been calling on Congress to act since 1992.

-According to CBO, the Norwood-Dingell provision will increase insurance  premiums by only 1% (CBO, 2-19-00).
- 70% of the American public supports the right to sue. (Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health, 2/00).

Broaden the definition of "substantial harm?  to include "mental or cognitive injury substantial harm? standard that requires only "physical injury bars from recourse patients with mental health diagnoses. Compromise is possible to protect employers from frivolous claims, but compromise should not be reached at patient expense.

Remove the cap on non-economic damages.  Under a cap children and stay-at-home parents, who have no or very low economic damages, may not be afforded adequate relief for potentially devastating injuries.

Thank you for your consideration.

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IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO JOIN US, PLEASE CALL, WRITE OR FAX your Senators and Representatives (were told that e-mail is not effective), using the bulleted points in our position paper.  Do this before March 31st.  Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at  202-224-3121 to find out the names of your Senators and Representatives, their office addresses,  fax and phone numbers. Correspondence:

    To a Senator:
        The Honorable (full name)
        United States Senate
        Washington,  DC  20510

To a Representative:
The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington,  DC  20515  

! TOGETHER WE CAN WIN !