Grassroots E-mail Campaign Calls on Congress to "Pass a Real Patients' Bill of Rights"


October 5, 1999

Nancey McCann (703) 591-2220
Camille Sorosiak (301) 897-2620
Robert B. Raible (202) 789-5166

With only hours to go before the House takes up the issue of managed care reform, thousands of electronic messages from constituents across the country are streaming into congressional offices demanding that Congress take action to protect patients from abuses by managed health care plans.

Visitors to the Patient Access Coalition's grassroots action Web site ( are e-mailing their members of Congress to demand the option of choosing out-of-network health professionals, timely access to care from specialists and a fair, timely and independent appeals process. Many visitors to the site are appending personal stories that underscore the need for congressional patients' rights legislation.

The following are samples of the messages that are flowing into Congress at the rate of more than 500 per day:

"I have a son who was denied care, I have employees who have had to fight for their care, and I think we have one of the best HMO-PPO programs around. I cannot imagine what a nightmare others face."
-- small business owner from Grand Rapids, Mich.

"My son, three years old, has febrile seizures when his fevers spike too high, too fast. There has been two separate times we have rushed to the ER with my son after a seizure. Neither time would our medical insurance company cover the bill simply because, they claim, it wasn't a life or death situation!"
-- Woman from Lancaster, Ohio

"Sometimes I find my employees very frustrated with the run around they get from these HMOs…Something is not right with a system that permits profit from other people's suffering."
-- Employee relations manager of a medium-sized company in Doylestown, Pa.

"My father (54 years old) died while under the care of a health plan. He had an undiagnosed abscess that was not discovered until the autopsy. He was in and out of the hospital for a month prior to his death, since the HMO did not want to assume the cost of the hospital stay until a definitive diagnosis was made…We cannot continue to have the bean counters control access to health care."
-- Woman from Mar Vista, Calif.

The e-mail system, set up by Merrifield, Va.-based E-Advocates, automatically guides the user's e-mail to the correct congressional office.

The Patient Access Coalition represents more than 130 patient advocacy and provider groups fighting for comprehensive and meaningful patient protection legislation.


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