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I don’t mean to brag, but our annual member meeting last night in Green Bay was simply amazing. I wish every one of our members could have been in the room to feel the energy and passion that came out of our open and honest discussion about what needs fixing in health care.

What really made the meeting great was the interest our members clearly have in taking an active role in seeing change happen. There was a palpable feeling in the room that as a cooperative of people, we can do more together than we can alone. Something special happens when you put passionate members together with compassionate staff, then add a whole lot of open discussion and a great keynote speaker in Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal of Kaiser Health News (KHN). Dr. Rosenthal wrote the book on what’s broken in health care and how we can fix it, and her message fit in perfectly with where we stand today as a non-profit cooperative fighting for what’s right for our members.

For those of you that could not be there, let me try to recreate the highlights for you:

    • There are way too many stories about people getting crushed financially by our health care system. Just one that Dr. Rosenthal covered was about a woman that she received a urine dip for which she was charged $17,850. This story is covered here, in the KHN and NPR Bill of the Month series.
    • Drug costs are also a huge problem. Dr. Rosenthal talked about a new drug that is a combination of ibuprofen and Famotidine – two over the counter medications that would cost $11 for a month’s supply if you purchased them separately. The combined drug is called Duexis, and the cost for it is well over $2,000… and that’s with a coupon.
    • We didn’t talk just about problems, we talked about solutions. These solutions ranged from asking the right questions of your doctor, checking hospital bills, being savvy consumers, talking with lawmakers about what we need and resisting the urge to “get something done” when you are at the doctor’s office.

If I were to summarize into one sentence what we hope the takeaway from the meeting was, I would say this: Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative is trying to start a movement to demand better treatment for consumers by our healthcare system. And I don’t mean health care treatment, I mean respect, honesty and compassion for patients. It’s time we take our healthcare system back to the days when caring for patients meant more than money.

Over the next several weeks, I will continue to post blogs here about this theme from our annual meeting. I will post information about actions you can take to be part of the solution. This blog is about empowering you with information, so sign up to get these delivered to your inbox (see right hand side of this page) and check back often. We can’t start a movement if you aren’t with us.

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