September 2015 Newsletter

Our latest story on hospital infections, which rated more than 3,000 hospitals, caught the attention of Florida Governor Rick Scott. He cited our new hospital ratings in his call to create a commission to review the state's hospital system. The story attracted significant coverage in digital, radio, TV, and print media. The attention, which has continued through the month since its release, includes dozens of interviews with Doris Peter, Director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. Early highlights included reports in the Seattle Times, Las Vegas Sun, Louisville Courier-Journal, Buffalo News, Detroit News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, New York Post and Politico.

The story also resonated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which sent an alert to almost 113,000 people linking to our health editor Teresa Carr's guest post on the CDC's Safe Healthcare blog. Our outreach coordination with CDC also led to the agency linking to our full article and ratings. The story also received praise from the American Nurses Association, which "commends Consumer Reports for evaluating hospitals' effectiveness in preventing potentially deadly infections that can be transmitted in a hospital, such as MRSA and C. diff." Our related bilingual Twitter chats using #AdiosSuperBacterias were very successful. The one-hour chats had more than 900 participants with 4,200 tweets reaching 4.8 million people.

In August, we have reached millions of consumers with important information and messages about hospital safety and the crisis of antibiotic resistance. We thank our partners and friends for continuing to work with us to raise awareness of these issues, and we urge you to keep the conversation going in your communities and in social media (with hashtag #SlamSuperbugs).
Tara Montgomery
Senior Director, Health Impact

Rising drug prices take alarming toll
One-third of Americans were hit with surprise prescription drug price increases in the past year, according to a new Consumer Reports poll. On average consumers paid $39 above the usual cost for their prescription. One in 10 consumers paid a whopping $100 or more out-of-pocket. Equally troubling are the potentially dangerous risks 40 percent of patients took to save money, including skipping doses, splitting pills without a doctor's permission, and even taking expired drugs. To help address the problem of rising drug costs, Consumer Reports suggests a savings checklist that consumers can use to lower their spending on medications. If you've experienced higher prices on your medications, we encourage you to Share Your Story. You can also check out the free Best Drugs for Less guide. It's available as a PDF and as a mobile-friendly site in English and Spanish.

Making Healthy Choices assists employees
Consumer Reports announces the launch of Making Healthy Choices, a toolset that helps employees ask the right questions and better understand their healthcare choices. The website, video series and mobile app were developed in collaboration with IBM and have been piloted with several other employers. Making Healthy Choices will be rolled out nationally on September 15. Here is a preview. To learn more, and hear from IBM and other pilot employers about their experiences, join us for a webinar on September 15th, at 1 pm ET.
Contest seeks stories about health costs
Costs of Care, a clinician-led non-profit organization, has launched a national story contest -- The Best Care, The Lowest Cost: One Idea at a Time. It invites patients, clinicians and hospital administrators to share real stories of successes and failures in pursuit of affordable healthcare. Supported by leading organizations representing patients, clinicians, administrators and technology, the contest will collect stories from individuals or small teams, in writing or via video. The entry deadline is Sept. 28, 2015. Tara Montgomery of Consumer Reports is among the judges.

New Health Impact partner
After observing the need for cost-effective benefit solutions for the local business community, the Chamber Insurance Trust was founded in 1992. Created to combine the buying power of thousands of chamber members, CIT's complete range of insurance options is designed with input from local Chamber of Commerce executives and members to offer small, mid-sized and large businesses competitively priced benefit packages. Currently, Chamber Insurance Trust is a voluntary alliance of all participating Chambers of Commerce across Connecticut.

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In the news
NBC Nightly News:  Rising Prescription Drug Costs Stir Consumer Anger

AARP Health: 7 Ways to Make the Most of your Doctor Visit 

Boston Globe: Diagnostic Testing Carries its Own Health Risks


LiveWell Nebraska: Doctors' Campaign Promotes a New Normal