At last count as of January 11, 2017, more than 6,200 providers had added their name to a letter to patients, promising to uphold specific fundamental beliefs during the Trump Administration. In the letter, originally written by eight physicians from the Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School, the writers promise patients that they will stand by eight core beliefs they share regarding delivering care, regardless of the healthcare policies proposed by the new Administration.
Upholding Fundamental Beliefs
Signed by thousands of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, and other healthcare personnel, the letter reads, “The presidential administration may be changing, but our values and priorities as America’s healers will not.” Among others, the beliefs these individuals have vowed to uphold include:
Health is a human right. The providers believe healthcare should be accessible to all and “vow to fight for the provisions” of the Affordable Care Act that have made gains in this area.
Trust should be placed in evidence-based medicine and public health policy. Reaffirming their commitment to the principles of science, the writers stated they would “use facts to fight feelings when elected leaders raise doubts about long-settled debates, from vaccines to climate change.”
There is no health without mental health. Citing the way individuals with mental illness and substance abuse disorders are sometimes stigmatized and prevented from accessing essential care, the writers stated, “As healers, we understand addiction as a chronic and debilitating disease that requires compassion and treatment, not judgment and punishment.”
Women’s health must be protected. Beyond stressing to fight for women’s rights to access comprehensive health services, the letter also addressed rejecting violence against women in all forms and demanded a political culture that did the same.
Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Racism, xenophobia, prejudices regarding gender identity or sexual orientation, and other oppressive structures adversely affect patient health. They can create disparities in access to healthcare and even increase risk factors for morbidity and mortality. The writers vow to combat bias and prejudice in interactions with patients, as well as in clinics, hospitals, and communities.
What Will You Fight For?
With the start of a new year, individuals usually make resolutions to change bad habits. But it’s also a great time to resolve to keep good ones. How will you improve the patient experience in 2017? What things are you doing right that you vow to continue? What areas could use improvement that you vow to adjust? What core beliefs will you adhere to based on principle rather than politics?