Contact CHC at 412-456-1877

Campaign for Better Care

Advocates Speak Out: Sue’s Story

Meet Sue Etters, a tremendous advocate and part of the PA Campaign for Better Care team. With a powerful story about her own journey through the health care system, Sue shares the need to ensure a coordinated and patient-centered process in the transition from hospital to home.


North Star News

Welcome to the e-newsletter created by the PA Campaign for Better Care, the North Star News. The title comes from our belief that the patient really is the North Star in every medical appointment, and our shared work to create patient-centered models of affordable, accessible, and quality health care.

Check back for the newest edition every month to keep up on members of our PA CBC team, opportunities to engage with the calender of events, and ways to join in advocacy and action.












Patients demanding better care

at the bedside + beyond

Statement of Reverend Sally Jo Snyder, Director of Advocacy and Consumer Engagement, Consumer Health Coalition

Contact:  The Reverend Sally Jo Snyder

April 12, 2011

Consumer Health Coalition Launches Healthy Hospital Initiative, Vows

Vigorous Work to Improve Hospital Care for Vulnerable Older Patients

“Hospitals should be places that help us heal, make us better, and put us on the road to recovery or to the very best health that is possible.  But in our country today – and here in Pittsburgh – too many hospitals are unhealthy places where patients are exposed to infection, endangered by poorly coordinated care, and discharged without adequate instructions or the follow-up services they need to get better and manage their condition at home.  For older patients with multiple health conditions, the risks associated with these problems are enormous.

Poor hospital care is a huge problem.  Nationwide, some 1.7 million health care associated infections occur each year in hospitals.  They lead to about 100,000 deaths.  That’s 100,000 people who go to a hospital to get well, and instead lose their lives because they picked up an infection at the place that should have helped them heal. In Pennsylvania, 23,287 patients contracted at least one health care associated infection in 2009; these patients received care that was 5.4 times more expensive and were six times more likely to die. For every patient who dies, many more get sicker, are readmitted to a hospital or admitted to a nursing home when that could have been avoided.  The family members and family caregivers of these patients suffer too.

I know.  I’m one of those caregivers.  My mother Dorothy Beale Snyder died from a hospital acquired infection. I can use no other phrase than “an absolute horror” to describe the experience. Conflicting prescriptions, lack of information, competing hospital systems, and an attempt to cover up by a quick discharge are aspects of her story.

For all of my mother and my family, and for every member of this community who may someday need hospital care, we are supporting the new federal ‘Partnership for Patients,’   unveiled in Washington, D.C. today.  This new federal initiative is a welcome first step.  But it is only a first step toward the hospital improvements we urgently need.  We are launching our own “Healthy Hospitals Initiative” to ensure that hospitals meet the goals of providing safer and better coordinated care.

First, we will organize patients and families in Pittsburgh to convince hospital leaders to sign onto these goals, and we will monitor their progress.

Second, we will be energetic partners in this effort and will ask hospital leaders to work together with patients and families to improve the care they deliver.  No hospital can truly achieve better care without directly involving patients and families in their efforts.

Finally, we will ask our elected leaders to help us with this work.  Pennsylvania is facing critical budget challenges.  We need to use our Medicaid and Medicare dollars wisely.  Paying for bad care costs all of us more.  We must use our health care dollars to ensure better, safer and more affordable care.

The Partnership for Patients’ pledge is a first step.  We will join the Campaign for Better Care in this work until our hospitals are not the problem, but rather the solution.

We are in this for the long haul.  Hospitals should be part of a continuum of comprehensive, coordinated, affordable care that meets the needs of patients, especially those who are most vulnerable, and improves health in their communities.

We will fight for a system that gives every patient the right medicine in the right dose at the right time – and that helps doctors and nurses talk to each other and really listen to patients and their families.

We will fight for a system where care is coordinated between doctors, specialists, labs, and pharmacies.

We will fight until no patient is sent home from the hospital confused about medications, and without the information and services that make recovery at home possible.

We will fight until patients and their families have a real voice as hospitals set policies and priorities.

We will fight until no lawmaker tries to reduce deficits by cutting Medicare and Medicaid in ways that harm patient care.

We will fight until doctors and nurses can provide the quality care they want their patients to have.

We will fight until every hospital is a healthy hospital.  That work begins today.”

 For the most current list of “Patient Safety Signers” in PA click here: Patient Safety Signers By State Update 4.12.11


To learn more about efforts to reduce hospital-acquired infections and readmissions in Pennsylvania and what is being done in Pittsburgh, click here PA HAIs and Readmissions

As we begin the important work of this vital initiative: to receive updates, current information, and campaign details please contact:

Sally Jo Snyder, (412) 456-1877 x 203.

The Need for Better Care in Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania has the second-oldest population in the country, with more than one in every seven residents over the age of 65.1 About one in ten of those over 65 belongs to a minority population, putting them at greater risk of developing certain chronic health conditions.2
  • Pennsylvanians over the age of 65 are twice as likely as others to rate their own health as “fair to poor.”  They have a much higher incidence of chronic disease than other residents of the state.  For example, older Pennsylvanians are twice as likely as others to have diabetes.  However, only about half of them check their blood sugar daily or take classes on diabetes management.3
  • National statistics indicate that older adults with multiple chronic conditions make 37 visits to 14 different doctors who prescribe 50 separate prescriptions in the course of a year.4
  • One in five Pennsylvanians on Medicare who visit the hospital will be back in the hospital within 30 days; in many cases, this is because patients and caregivers aren’t given the knowledge and resources to manage chronic health conditions.5

For a copy of the Four Focus Areas of the Campaign click hereCBC Major Areas of Focus_Handout_Final[1]

The Campaign is supported by many groups
in Pennsylvania including:

  • AARP – Pennsylvania
  • Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Pennsylvania Chapter
  • Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly
  • Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
  • LIFE Pittsburgh
  • Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Pennsylvania (LAMPa)
  • Mon Valley Unemployed Committee
  • Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI)
  • Peace of Mind Senior Care, Inc.
  • Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans
  • Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
  • Pennsylvania Chapter of the National MS Society
  • Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN)
  • Pennsylvania Health Law Project
  • Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council
  • Philadelphia Unemployed Project
  • Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee
  • Pittsburgh Caregiver Support Network
  • Program for Healthcare to Underserved Populations
  • SEIU Healthcare PA
  • United Cerebral Palsy/CLASS Pittsburgh
  • United Way of Beaver County

National Campaign Goals and Priorities


Generously funded by Atlantic Philanthropies with support from the National Partnership for Women and Families and Community Catalyst, Consumer Health Coalition is thrilled to be part of the Campaign for Better Care (CBC)!

The goal of the CBC is to ensure that the reformed health care system provides consumers – especially those older adults with multiple chronic illnesses – the comprehensive, coordinated, patient-centered health care they want and need.


The campaign will work to reach this goal
by concentrating on a few basic priorities:

Working towards New Models of Care that:
– Increase coordination and integration of services
– Make care more patient-centered, such as individualized assessment and care planning
– Are more responsive to patients needs and experiences

Support payment systems reforms that will:
– Pay doctors and hospitals for the quality of care, not the quantity of care

Increasing transparency and quality in health care so that:
– We can make the right improvements
– Health care providers can be held accountable


Strengthen and support the “Consumer Voice” by:
– Working to ensure patients and families have a seat at the table
– Fighting for reforms that will benefit seniors and their caregivers


Click here to visit the National Campaign for Better Care Website!

Download a fact sheet about the Campaign.

Get involved!


If you or your organization is interested in participating in CBC we would be glad to talk to you about how you can get involved!  You can call 412-456-1877 x203 or email Sally Jo Snyder at:
Email Sally Jo.

Share your health care story or sign up for the Pennsylvania Campaingn for Better Care!

Click to see examples of what both doctors and patients are saying.

There are many ways to contribute so if you feel like care coordination has impacted you personally, if you’ve ever been a caregiver yourself, or if your organization deals with these issues then get active.  It makes such a difference when people are willing to share their stories, come to events, or give us suggestions about topics we should look at.  If you want the health care system change for the better, then become an advocate and join us!

If you are a family caregiver and are looking for resources please refer to our partners:

Jewish Healthcare Foundation – Caregiver Champions Program
Pittsburgh Caregiver Support Network


1. Bureau of Health Statistics and Research, Pennsylvania Department of Health (2007). Older Pennsylvanians 2007,
2. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging (2008). Number of Persons Age 65+ by Race and Hispanic Origin –By State,
3. See 1.
4. Partnership for Solutions (2002). “Multiple Chronic Conditions: Complications in Care and Treatment,” and Berenson, R., & Horvath, J. (2002). “The Clinical Characteristics of Medicare Beneficiaries and Implications for Medicare Reform,” Applies to older adults with five or more chronic conditions.
5. McCarthy, How, Schoen, Cantor, and Belloff (2009). Aiming Higher: Results from a State Scorecard of Health System Performance,