This guest post is written by Siobahn Kinney
When the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut first heard about the Health Justice CT Challenge, we knew it was right up our alley. As the primary care association for Connecticut’s community health centers, one of our main concerns is reducing health disparities and increasing health justice for our state’s most underserved residents. The Challenge called for us to propose a unique, innovative idea that would address a health issue within our community.
We chose to address health care reform as an issue in and of itself. Reform is necessary (and happening!) in today’s health care landscape, but we wanted to ensure that consumers’ voices would be heard throughout the reform process. We especially wanted to make sure that CT’s underserved residents, such as the uninsured or consumers in health provider shortage areas, could share their input as well.
With that, we proposed a text messaging campaign that would encourage consumers to text us their thoughts and opinions about their care. Our goal was to use these responses to compile a report which would be shared with legislators and policymakers at all levels of Connecticut government.
Our project was selected as a finalist in the Health Justice CT Challenge, but unfortunately we did not make it out of the voting phase. All was not lost, however, the visibility from the HJCT Challenge open doors for other funding opportunities. Not long after, the Connecticut Health Foundation invited us to apply for funding for the same project, and on October 1, 2012, Txt 2B Heard was born!
Txt 2B Heard encourages health care consumers, particularly those in underserved communities, to weigh in on what they want from their health care. Consumers can text, mail and submit their responses via the web.
We are leveraging our relationships with community health centers in order to ensure we get input from patients living in underserved communities, including the uninsured and underinsured. We are also reaching out to folks who contribute particularly compelling or insightful responses, asking them to participate in video interviews. Finally, we are creating a final report of responses to be shared with legislators and policy makers, complete with the data collected as well as suggestions and recommendations moving forward.
We’re so excited about this opportunity and we look forward to learning what Connecticut’s health care consumers—especially those who are underserved—want and need from their health care. It’s a hugely important time to get input from these individuals to ensure that health care reform actually addresses their needs.
Image credit(s) the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut
Siobahn Kinney is the Program Coordinator for Social Media at the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut. Connect with her via Twitter @CTHealthCenters