“Episode 86: The New Patient Advocacy Super Group You Should Know About with Mary Richards from Partners For Better Care”
by Stacey Richter

Listen to the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

Mary RichardsPartners for Better Care is proud to introduce its Executive Director, Mary Richards. Mary joins the team with nearly twenty years of patient advocacy, policy, lobbying, and Congressional experience.

For five years, Mary led the Alzheimer’s Association’s federal policy agenda on Capitol Hill and with the Administration, which included efforts on medical innovation, aging, care delivery, and long-term care. Kicking off a period of intense activity and successes for the Alzheimer’s community, Mary worked to draft and enact the National Alzheimer’s Project Act – the first Alzheimer’s-specific bill to be enacted in 18 years. Research funding remained a top-priority for the Association and Mary secured more than $500 million in additional Alzheimer’s-specific funds at NIH and created a new program at the Department of Defense for Alzheimer’s research.

During this time, Mary was the founding Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), an independent political organization working in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association. Under Mary’s leadership, AIM was the first patient advocacy 501c4 organization to launch an affiliated Political Action Committee (PAC), which grew to be a mid-sized PAC within its first political cycle.

Prior to joining the Alzheimer’s Association, Mary served as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN). At PAN, she directed the government relations’ activities of the Parkinson’s community, primarily focused on public policy efforts to hasten research and development of breakthrough therapies. In addition to enactment of legislation and regulatory decisions specifically helpful to the Parkinson’s community, Mary led several efforts with widespread patient-centered research implications, including a policy development effort that began in 2009 and made specific recommendations for a new translational science center at NIH. Additionally, she was one of four Legislative Team Leaders for the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR).

Mary began her career in Washington by working on Capitol Hill for more than 6 years for two Members of the House of Representatives. As a senior legislative aide, she focused on health policy and worked on the Patient’s Bill of Rights and creation of Medicare Part D, among other issues, with the Congressional Democratic Health Care Task-force.

Mary graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. She has served as a board member of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA and the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, as well as holding leadership positions with the National Health Council.


00:00 What Partners for Better Care (PBC) is.
02:00 Looking at healthcare from a patient-advocacy perspective.
03:20 PBC aims to be on the front lines of making sure patients’ needs are being met.
04:00 Patient-Centered Care, and what this truly means for people living with chronic conditions.
05:50 What being a patient means to PBC.
08:30 “Cost…is a both fundamentally large and tricky issue.”
10:20 “And that’s not the goal of anyone – to avoid cost of care.”
12:15 The lack of voter education, and how this translates into the reality of cost of care.
13:30 Healthcare language, and its lack of translation to the general population.
17:20 Ensuring patient understanding.
21:30 The complexities in attempting transparency.
25:00 PBC and technology.
29:00 You can find out more at partnersforbettercare.org, or by emailing mrichards@partnersforbettercare.org.

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