Cornell University

Programs for Economic Transitions

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Healthcare Forum for Unions

This educational forum was started in 2008 to encourage healthcare unions to play an active role in improving patient care and controlling healthcare costs. Another goal of these activities was to help building stronger local unions.

In June of 2008, the first working conference was held for many of the major unions representing healthcare workers in the United States and the nurse's union in Ireland (INO). The focus of this exchange was to look at what's working and what is not in terms of mobilizing front-line staff to improve patient care and build stronger unions.

A follow-up working conference took place in January of 2009. At our second working conference, participants shared the results of recent activities and explored issues related to building capacity and measuring results of union driven healthcare improvement activities. The conference was a great success with many ideas proposed and a consensus for follow up work and areas of further discussion agreed upon.

In 2009, a new push for comprehensive healthcare reform has emerged with the election of President Obama and the subsequent legislative process underway to overhaul the United States healthcare system. We are currently planning a third "Working Conference on Mobilizing Front-Line Staff to Improve Patient Care and Build Stronger Unions." At this 3rd conference we plan to examine the following topics: how to implement needed integrated team-based delivery systems (e.g. Medical Home Model), how to effectively employ new technologies such as electronic medical records, and methods to develop unit-based work teams (e.g. Microsystems) to ensure that clinical and cost savings outcomes are achieved. This third conference is planned for early 2010.

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