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Help support “no wrong door” to health care with an End of Year Contribution!

Dear Friends,

Earlier this month, I sat in a Carle physician’s office having an experience I thought might never happen.

I want to share this experience with you, and ask you to consider making an End of Year Contribution to Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) to help support our ongoing efforts to create a community where there is “no wrong door” for getting the health care that people need.

You can make a contribution by visiting our website at: Donate

I was with a client of mine who several years ago had been “no serviced” by Carle because of medical debt. Now, my client, who is low-income and uninsured, was in need of a consultation with a specialist, following an Emergency Room visit.

Three or more years ago, this client could never have been able to visit a Carle Clinic specialist on an outpatient basis, and receive financial assistance to cover the cost of that visit.

But now, here we sat in the Carle specialist’s office — my client receiving a thorough evaluation from an amazing physician who was not only competent, but also very kind.

From a medical perspective, the situation was stressful for my client — my client had experienced a very painful and potentially serious problem. However, thanks to Carle’s financial assistance program, my client did not have to stress about the financial aspects of the care — CCHCC had helped this client apply for Carle’s financial assistance program and receive a 100% discount on the cost of care at Carle.

The visit went well and my client is doing well.

On the surface, the situation and the experience was rather routine and unremarkable.

And yet, it wasn’t.

To me, it was monumental because I realized that this visit (and the thousands like it that have taken place in the last couple of years) took years and years of work to lead up to it. And it took struggle and collaboration, and leadership within Carle and CCHCC fueled by a shared vision of what we are trying to build in Champaign County.

What we are trying to build is a healthy community — a community that provides and assures access to health care for all who need it.

We are trying to build a community that has “no wrong door” through which people can enter to get the health care that they need — whether that be medical, dental, or mental health care, or prescription drugs. Imagine a community where a low-income, uninsured patient with multiple health care needs can go to the ER, to a doctor, or to a dentist to get all the referrals and care that they need — all without financial and insurance barriers to overcome.

If we do this — if we build a “no wrong door” to health care in our community — we remove suffering and we create a healthier and more capable community.

CCHCC knows that we cannot do this alone. And we know that Carle cannot do it alone either. It takes all of us — health care providers and community-based organizations — contributing what we each have to contribute, building on our community’s assets and resources, and creating new resources.

For years, CCHCC has participated in, nurtured and helped to develop collaborations among health care providers and local organizations to expand access to care in our community. By working directly with affected consumers, we have helped to identify problems and worked collaboratively with health care providers and other non-profits to develop solutions.

Many health care providers and non-profit organizations have stepped up, showing leadership and vision, providing resources, and collaborating. And we have a lot to show for it now.

There is unprecedented affordable access to care at Carle, both hospital and outpatient care. Provena also has a generous financial assistance program for uninsured patients. Carle, the United Way of Champaign County, Smile Healthy, CCHCC and others have joined together to create an new non-profit to operate the Frances Nelson Health Center for the purpose of expanding access to care in our community. There are now more new dentists participating in CCHCC’s Dental Referral Program than ever before, providing discounted dental care for low-income adults.

And I could go on with many more examples of small or nascent programs and resources that have the potential for tremendous growth to help meet the health care needs of our community members. Over time, these efforts will grow, new resources will be created, and the current network of care will be expanded so that there will be “no wrong door” to enter for community members to get the care that they need.

The key is collaboration, leadership, vision and commitment. That is how we will get there!

Thank you for letting me share this reflection with you at this year’s end. What has been accomplished in 2012 in our community actually took years to build and create, each effort setting the stage for the next. It requires that we be here, and that we continue to work and never give up.

I hope you will consider making a year-end contribution to CCHCC to support our ongoing work and our vision to collaborate with others in order to build a community where there is “no wrong door” to enter to get the health care one needs.

You can make a contribution by visiting our website at: Donate

Thank you for all your support!

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year in 2013.


Claudia Lennhoff, Executive Director

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