Published Nov. 5, 2009
Health network seeks to help
By Christine Cuthbert
Some might find it hard to
believe that among the well-manicured estates and flashy
cars in Hinsdale, there are hundreds of residents living
without health insurance.
In the Cook County portion of
the village alone, 278 uninsured residents ages 18 to 64
are living below the poverty line.
They’re part of roughly 3,000
residents in the western suburbs without coverage, and
the Community Memorial Foundation, along with several
other community organizations, is doing something to
make sure everyone gets the care they need.
In collaboration with Access
DuPage, Community Nurse Health Association, Adventist La
Grange Memorial Hospital and Pillars, CMF helped launch
the Community Health Care Network of the Western Suburbs
“Last year our board of
directors renewed its commitment to provide quality
health care to the uninsured,” said Nanette Silva,
program officer for CMF. “We’re trying to create an
infrastructure that can be incorporated into any health
care reform that may come about.”
The goal of the network is to
“deliver primary health care services to low-income,
medically uninsured people in a systematic and efficient
Those who qualify for the
network begin by enrolling at Community Nurse Health
Association in La Grange. They’re given a network card,
which acts like an insurance care within the network and
also allows them to get generic prescription drugs for
less than $10. Participants will contribute a $5 co-pay
for each lab and office visit and are able to receive
mental health services, primary medical care, specialist
physician care, diagnostic services and inpatient
hospital care, including surgery.
More than 60 local
specialists and 14 primary care doctors, some who have
been volunteering to take care of the uninsured for
years, have agreed to participate in the network.
Residents without insurance
living in DuPage County can obtain medical services
through Access DuPage, which is the program the new
network has modeled itself after.
“Access DuPage is a
countywide model,” Silva said. “We used their model to
base ours, but clearly it’s a different set of
circumstances. We’re more of a regional area, covering
the western suburbs of Cook County, so we’re much
Having just launched the
program, which took more than 18 months to organize, the
foundation’s goal is to serve 1,350 individuals by the
end of 2009 and help all 3,000 uninsured by 2015, Silva
And as the network grows, CMF
hopes to add additional partners to the list.
“This has been the initial
roll out,” Silva said. “We hope to add both service and
funding partners as time goes on.”
The network currently serves
uninsured residents living in Brookfield, Countryside,
Hodgkins, Indian Head Park, La Grange, LaGrange
Highlands, LaGrange Park, Lyons, McCook, Willow Springs,
Western Springs, Westchester and the Cook County
portions of Hinsdale and Burr Ridge.
— Making a difference is a
yearlong partnership between The Hinsdalean
Community Memorial Foundation, whose mission is to
the health of people work live and
work in the western suburbs.