- A Consumer’s Guide to Evaluating Medical Technology
- Book: Medical Technology, Health Care and the Consumer
- Consumer Health Perspectives
- Documents, Drafts, Papers
- Fund Reporter
- Health Perspectives
- Letters & Memos
COMMENTS ABOUT CCAHS MISSION AND PUBLICATIONS
The publications initially addressed the control of hospitals, the biggest cost center for payers. Later, the analysis of more complex issues was undertaken. CCAHS grew organically. The priorities set down by the Board and Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) kept shifting from one priority to another. This was understandable as there were so many areas not previously explored, discussed, reported and analyzed for consumers. As examples, by commission and omission, CCAHS and its publications and services initially reported abundantly about the organization and financing of care but did not initially offer much commentary about primary prevention, wellness or the inherent dangers associated with medical care received. Later, as CCAHS became more sophisticated it did expand its scope of reporting to include the quality of care, safety of medical care received, patients’ rights, the need to reorganize its delivery and financing, the role of physicians, and patient-provider outcomes.
What became ironically revealed was that the information CCAHS provided for the use and empowerment of consumers was information that many providers did not have or were denied. Many subscribed to the CCAHS publications to become smarter providers. But, CCAHS’s most important and continuing large support came from concerned union health and welfare funds. The second source of income came from provider subscriptions.
As consumers tried to absorb the value and use of the CCAHS provided information, providers were fighting within the medical delivery provider and medical and hospital insurance communities over the information disclosed by CCAHS. Providers and insurers almost always closed ranks when faced by demands by consumers to produce information. But as these communities realized that information once considered proprietary and confidential was now in the public domain and could no longer be withheld, the wall of mystery providers and insurers sought to hide behind whenever challenged would end. During their internecine war, the wall of secrecy crumbled.
Examples of these disclosure wars can be easily located by using the Search box or by the description summary of each publication. But the overall background noise of the various social movements of greater scope and publicity makes it difficult to adequately describe how revolutionary the health consumer movement was considered to be then or to describe the role played by CCAHS, then and even now. The concerns of many individuals, organizations and agencies literally considered themselves under attack.
In the end, portions of the key social revolutions were corrupted, compromised, co-opted and marginalized as the political landscape shifted towards the right, market orientation, capitalization and profit. It would take over thirty (30) years for the fruit to ripen, but CCAHS can be proud of its record of being one of the major organizations which started the integration of consumers into the processes of organizing and financing care and that impact filtered down into the consumer movement to be equally involved with their providers in the care they received. Our successes were overwhelmed by other considerations as the nation at first slowly and then more rapidly moved to the right.
Yet, despite that march to the right, after the quietude at home set in and the wars abroad continued almost unabated, a swing slightly back to the mainstream occurred. An unknown African-American man whose mother was white won the presidency. That shift could be interpreted in many ways but the fact is Barack Obama became President and his main effort during his first two years was to change America’s medical delivery and financing. In March 2010, he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) which garnered support and attacks from both the right and left. The right saw it as unnecessary federal government intrusion while those critics on the left saw it as a way to put off a universal, one payer health system. This Act incorporated many ideas addressed by CCAHS in its voluminous publications from 1973 through the early 1990s but it also ignored many.
For those who participated, supported or contributed to CCAHS, we dedicate this Website. We also acknowledge the role of many others, especially Health/PAC, who influenced CCAHS’s creation and work over some twenty years.