Confronting corporate care

Healthcare leaders begin work on national campaign
to put patients before profits

THIS PAST SUMMER, delegates to the AFT convention passed a resolution to improve the quality and safety of patient care in the U.S. healthcare system by calling for an effort to reshape the industry to put patients before corporate profits.

The patients-before-profits resolution calls for the union to join with patient advocates, community groups and other providers to create a national education and advocacy campaign that will focus on reshaping the nation’s healthcare system “to serve the needs of communities and to truly put patients first.”

In October, the AFT Nurses and Health Professionals division’s program and policy council met to focus on finding a way to address the corporate agenda of profitization, privatization and deprofessionalization of health services. “We have the opportunity to put together a brilliant attack on corporate takeover of healthcare,” said Candice Owley, president of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals and an AFT vice president. “We can be the leader in addressing this—at the top and at the grass-roots level.”

The division and its PPC leaders have been working with the AFT research and strategic initiatives department as well as the AFT organizing department to create a national campaign to shift the focus in healthcare from profits to patients. Last year, they created the Cashing in on Kids campaign, which conducts research and public education programs to ensure that public schools put the students’ interest above the corporate interests that are increasingly taking control of public education policy and institutions. Healthcare leaders hope to create something similar in an effort to fight corporatization in healthcare. In the coming year, the PPC will begin to address the issue by developing resources, focusing on member engagement and community outreach, as well as coordinating activities with partners and allies.

Healthwire, Winter 2014
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