Friday, April 17, 2009

Patient Safety Commitments

Now it’s Twitter. What the heck is Twitter you may wonder unless you already Twitter. It seems, in case you want everyone on the planet to know what you are thinking every minute of the day, you can now write about it. I don’t, who has the time? I have to make calls to the state trying to get our funding released. Our senator, who graciously promised us funding says it’s the governor holding back the funding. The grants department says it’s the NY State Department of Health. None of them, so far return calls. I have to try to get the people who make promises or verbal deals that they will support our work, to answer their phone, return messages or acknowledge that in public, they shouldn’t make commitments that they can’t keep. Words are cheap and free.

I still have to return calls of patients who have been injured and to the families who lost loved one’s from preventable medical errors that they can, in fact use the American health care system and feel safe (although I can never say that because in reality, they shouldn’t).

I am spending time helping patients research doctors and hospitals, combine all their medication lists and research why their bills won’t be paid from hospital acquired infections. I have heard in the last few months from people who have suffered bad outcomes recently, long ago and who just want to share their story or want some serious help – yes, sometimes financial.

Now my priority is - can we afford to buy ink for the printer? Can we pay someone to update our website. Where can we get the most inexpensive hand outs printed up and shall we use the fax for fear we may not be able to pay for the bills?

Running a grassroots organization is time consuming and usually very fulfilling. The part that is painful is that it takes money to do this. It’s not a lot. I am proud that our budget is so low, that once when I was at a training, and groups were splitting up by budget, they didn’t even get to under $100,000.00. I had to request that we are recognized. Donations are so welcome. It helps to buy the ink, pay the phone bills so calls can be returned and mail patient safety information to the many people who still do not have internet access.

I hate the thought that so much time is spent on looking for funding. It doesn’t seem important that the ink is low and the paper is empty. What bothers me is that people who make commitments to patient safety and the community’s participation don’t come through.

Soon I will start naming names.

No comments: