June 2005

Local Events Mark Cover the Uninsured Week

Facilities throughout Catholic Health Initiatives participated in activities that drew public attention to the plight of the uninsured during Cover the Uninsured Week, May 1–8, 2005.

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“There are nearly 45 million Americans living without health coverage, including 8.5 million children,” said Colleen Scanlon, RN, JD, senior vice president of advocacy for Catholic Health Initiatives. “Coverage of the uninsured is one of Catholic Health Initiatives’ highest advocacy priorities.”

Many Catholic Health Initiatives facilities collaborated with community partners during Cover the Uninsured Week. “Our facilities address the needs of the uninsured every day,” said Richelle Webb, director of advocacy and community health for Catholic Health Initiatives. “Cover the Uninsured Week provided an opportunity to show their commitment to a wider audience, and we’re very excited about how they used that opportunity.”

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Following are some examples of how Catholic Health Initiatives’ facilities actively observed Cover the Uninsured Week. Central Kansas Medical Center Great Bend, Kan. The medical center provided education and services to the Hispanic community during a Cinco de Mayo celebration on May 7, focusing on summer precautions, cancer warning signs and the importance of advance directives. St. Anthony Hospitals Denver, Colo. The hospitals participated in a news conference at the Inner City Health Center in downtown Denver; St. Anthony North received a proclamation from the City of Westminster. St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center Pueblo, Colo. The medical center partnered with local social services and the Pueblo Coalition for the Medically Underserved to host a fair that enrolled adults and families in free and low-cost health care coverage. CARITAS Health Services Louisville, Ky. CARITAS is part of a coalition that placed two “Cover the Uninsured” banners in highly visible downtown locations during the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby. St. Joseph’s Area Health Services Park Rapids, Minn. St. Joseph’s held a Health and Enrollment Fair on May 3 to provide information about MinnesotaCare, the state’s health program, and other health insurance providers. Franciscan Health System Tacoma, Wash. Franciscan Health System sponsored a Health Fair on May 7; Diana Kielian, vice president of mission, was interviewed for local cable news. St. Vincent Health System Little Rock, Ark. St. Vincent sent information to the community about the plight of the uninsured; the mayor of Little Rock signed a proclamation recognizing Cover the Uninsured Week. St. Joseph Community Health Services Albuquerque, N.M. This community health services organization participated in a news conference that raised awareness and served as the kickoff for a number of events, including a seminar for small businesses that want to offer health care coverage to employees. St. Joseph Medical Center Reading, Pa. St. Joseph distributed a free guide to finding health insurance coverage. Michael O’Pake, majority leader of the State Senate, toured St. Joseph’s Emergency Department and discussed issues surrounding the uninsured. Alegent Health Omaha, Neb. Alegent Health distributed “letters to the editor” from Wayne Sensor, president and chief executive officer, which appeared in local news media. For more information about Cover the Uninsured Week and information about activities in 2006, contact Richelle Webb at richellewebb@catholichealth.net.