Earlier this month, three Pittsburgh health care leaders invited their colleagues, friends, and other interested parties to join them in launching the Pittsburgh chapter of the Right Care Alliance. Thuy Bui, Stuart Fisk, and Jonathan Weinkle were at the helm of the local movement.
Like many health care professionals in Pittsburgh, they have been frustrated with the rivalry between the two health giants that control the city, and the lack of attention paid to community health. They knew many clinicians and patients feel the same, and have been working for months find like-minded people and create a space to organize.
What is Right Care Pittsburgh?
A group of 14 doctors, nurses, and community members met at Repair the World Community Center, where they introduced themselves and told their stories of what brought them to the Right Care Alliance.
One couple came determined to honor the memory of a brother whose terminal illness was marked by poor communication. A physician, highly placed in academia, came to further work he has done with residents on recognizing the costs of what they do “for completeness sake.” One gentleman drove from an hour away motivated by a passion for grassroots healthcare driven by a relationship between a person and a personal physician. And several clinicians spoke of their determination to make things better for their own patients who have been shut out of parts of the system when they most needed help.
The group then moved on to a tougher discussion – what kind of organization does Right Care Pittsburgh want to be? There are a lot of health care organizations in Pittsburgh, and many of the Right Care Pittsburgh members are involved in other health care organizations. The group agreed that Right Care Pittsburgh should work to form partnerships with other organizations, and make sure not to duplicate efforts unnecessarily.
Prepping for RCAW
The focus of this year’s Right Care Action Week is going to be exposing and protesting the high cost of medical care, with citizen hearings, listening booths, and more.
The Right Care Pittsburgh chapter discussed creating a “Health StoryCorps” for RCAW, which would be a series of interviews to capture people’s stories about health care in their own voices. In the upcoming months, chapter members will partner with local media and gather technical resources to conduct and publicize these interviews in time for RCAW.