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Hinsdale, Illinois |

Published Nov. 5, 2009                                                         

Health network seeks to help the uninsured

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 month.
   “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 manner.”
   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 smaller.”
   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 said.
   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
and Community Memorial Foundation, whose mission is to measurably improve
the health of people work live and work in the western suburbs.




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