ARCHIVE: Cover the Uninsured 2006
In 2006, the Sisters of Charity Health System and it sponsored ministries performed a number of activities to add our voice on behalf of the uninsured. Below are some of the many activities undertaken in 2006.
On May 3, 2006, Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA, President and CEO of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine Health System, was pleased to host a thought-provoking economic forum and panel discussion titled The Uninsured and the Economy: Costs and Consequences. Supported in part by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, it was attended by more than 120 people including those from the health care industry, business community, providers and caregivers, uninsured persons, labor, advocacy groups, philanthropies, universities, vowed religious, other Catholic ministries, and federal, state and local government personnel. Karen Davenport, Director of Health Policy at the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C., research and educational institute, served as the Forum’s keynote speaker. She was joined by Dr. John A. Bastulli, M.D., of the Academy of Medicine of Cleveland/ Northern Ohio Medical Association and panelists Steve Millard, Executive Director of the Council of Smaller Enterprises; former Congressman Dennis Eckart; St. Vincent Charity Hospital’s Dr. Gregory L. Hall; and Greg Moody, former senior health and human services advisor to the Governor of Ohio. Jacqueline Gerber of WCLV Classical FM served as moderator.
“Living without health coverage is a fact of life for nearly 1.3 million Ohio residents,” said Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA, “today we speak about the costs and consequences of health access, what it means for the economy both locally and nationally, and what it means for individuals, providers and employers.” The Forum participants noted that the health care crisis has become a competitiveness issue for Cleveland and the nation. Lack of coverage and the cost of care limits the state’s and nation’s ability to compete.
Held during an election year, the CSA Health System joined the Cover the Uninsured Week national effort to use this opportunity to encourage lawmakers to make covering the uninsured a priority. Postcards to U.S. House and Senate representatives were available during the Forum and throughout the week, with more than 650 postcards completed and scores of e-mails sent to elected officials. Additionally, Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA, encouraged attendees to share comments with the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group.
In addition to the Forum, several of CSA HS’ sponsored ministries held Cover the Uninsured Week events. In Canton, Ohio, Mercy Medical Center’s May 3rd Health Information Day was a big success! “For a century, Mercy Medical Center has been true to our mission and to the charism of our founders. We remain a haven of compassionate care for people in our community who are uninsured,” noted Thomas E. Cecconi, President and CEO, Mercy Medical Center. Low-income individuals, persons who were self-employed or employed by small firms with no insurance coverage, and those who needed information for elderly parents or young adult children were among the 200 attendees. “Many agencies told me it was a great opportunity to be present for people in need as well as to network with other community groups. This was our second annual event and we plan to hold another, perhaps expanded, event next year,” said Sr. Carolyn Capuano, HM, Mercy’s V.P. of Mission and Ministry. Also in Canton, Ohio, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, along with Mercy Medical, helped to sponsor a small business event. Over 70 small business owners, insurance brokers, community service representatives, and self-employed individuals attended a breakfast on May 2, 2006, to learn about health care coverage options and resources available locally for themselves and their employees.
St. Vincent Charity Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, and Voices for Children of Greater Cleveland, along with the CSA Health System, hosted a well-attended “Child Health Matters” Briefing at the hospital on Thursday, May 4, 2006. In addition, St. John West Shore Hospital, Westlake, Ohio, held its first Cover the Uninsured Week Health and Enrollment Fair, on Friday, May 5th.
Heartened by these activities, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine Health System will continue to work towards health care solutions for all and add its voice on behalf on the uninsured.