UPHAC recognizes eight heroes, by Nancy Mathews

Every year, generous individuals and institutions in the U.P. make a difference in opening doors to health care for thousands of uninsured residents—their family, friends and neighbors.
At the community level where need is crucial, these volunteers work with five local access-to-health-care coalitions of the U.P., enrolling and providing medical services and prescription drugs for low-income, uninsured residents.
“These ‘Heroes for the Uninsured’ provide exemplary assistance on a regular basis and, for the most part, their service goes unheralded,” said Bill Reid, president of the Upper Peninsula Health Access Coalition. “During national Cover the Uninsured Week 2007, we [were] pleased to honor contributions of eight exceptional ‘heroes’ as we recognize the work of hundreds of others who partner with our Local Access Coalitions to serve the uninsured.”
Honorees for 2007 included:
• Ruthann Davey of Calumet, a volunteer enrollment counselor and office assistant with the Western Upper Peninsula Healthcare Access Coalition (WUPHAC) in Hancock since 2005. She was honored as an “Above & Beyond Hero” for her enrollment work in three of the five western counties served by WUPHAC and for educating about the coalition’s services.
• Jeannette Hauver of Marquette, an enrollment and Pharmaceutical Assistance Program volunteer with the Medical Care Access Coalition (MCAC) of Marquette, Schoolcraft and Alger counties since 2002. A “Personal Touch Hero” awardee, she has drawn on her experience as a registered nurse and mental health professional, extending a caring, compassionate hand to residents she enrolls and matches to appropriate medical and community resources.
• OSF St. Francis Hospital and Medical Group of Escanaba whose multi-million-dollar charity care program benefiting area residents has supported the mission of the Medical Access Coalition of Delta and Menominee Counties (MAC-DMC) and allowed it to focus its efforts on meeting prescription needs of the uninsured. A founding member of MAC-DMC, OSF was one of four “Most Valuable Partner” Hero awardees for 2007.
• Kevin Piggott, MD, of Marquette, a family care physician instrumental in establishing MCAC as the first access-to-health-care program in the U.P. and an advocate for health care reform nationally. He is the MCAC volunteer medical director who oversees the MCAC volunteer clinic and sees patients in his own office. He was recognized as an “Above & Beyond Hero.”
• Portage Health System’s Financial Assistance Program of Hancock, honored as a “Most Valuable Partner” awardee for providing more than $1,202,000 in quality health care services free or at reduced cost to more than 500 low-income uninsured residents of four counties served by WUPHAC since the assistance program began in 2003.
• Steve Roell and TDS Pharmacies of Iron Mountain and Norway, partnering with the Dickinson-Iron Medical Care Access Coalition (DIMCAC), pioneered local effort to make prescription drugs affordable for the uninsured through a $4 co-pay plan at TDS Pharmacies. This arrangement has saved the coalition thousands in pharmacy program costs and rivals widely known programs of national retailers; it was recognized with an “Innovation Hero” award.
• Upper Peninsula Association of Rural Health Services, Inc. of Marquette, a “Most Valuable Partner” awardee, has been active in the access-to-care movement of the region through connections between local access coalitions and its six Federally Qualified Health Centers at Crystal Falls, Engadine, Ewen, Menominee, Sawyer and Spalding; its centers in Crystal Falls and Spalding serve as primary health care providers at no cost to DIMCAC enrollees under a model contract believed to be unique in the nation.
• War Memorial Hospital of Sault Ste. Marie, a “Most Valuable Partner” honoree for working closely with the Community Health Access Coalition (CHAC) of Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac counties to provide CHAC enrollees free or low-cost laboratory and X-ray, in-patient and clinic services through its charity care program.
“Hero for the Uninsured” awards are presented annually by the Upper Peninsula Health Access Coalition in conjunction with the five Local Access Coalitions to recognize excellence in service that advances their shared mission of achieving 100 percent access to quality health care with dignity for residents of the Upper Peninsula.
The five access coalitions work with local health care providers, pharmacies and prescription services, doctors, hospitals and clinics, and individual volunteers to give uninsured residents of the region opportunities to receive basic health care services, prescriptions and medical testing free of charge or at low cost.
Services are available to U.P. residents between the ages of nineteen and sixty-five who are uninsured, do not qualify for state or federal health care programs and whose household income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. For a single person, that annual income figure would be $20,420 or less; for a family of four, the annual figure would be $ 41,300 or less.
For more information or to apply, contact the local access coalition in your area:
• Community Health Access Coalition serving the eastern three counties, in Chippewa—635-7483; in Mackinac—643-7253; in Luce—293-8355.
• Dickinson-Iron Medical Care Access Coalition in Dickinson County—774-3980; in Iron County—265-4044
• Medical Access Coalition of Delta and Menominee Counties in Delta—789-1627, and in Menominee County—863-4051.
• Medical Care Access Coalition in Marquette/Alger counties—226-4400; in Schoolcraft County—341-1312
• Western Upper Peninsula Healthcare Access Coalition serving the five western counties of the region, at Hancock—482-7122; at L’Anse—(877)482-7122; at Bessemer—667-0200, ext. 126.
More about local health care access programs is available online at:
• www.upchac.org for residents of Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac counties.
• www.dimcac.org for residents of Dickinson and Iron counties
• www.phdm.org for Delta and Menominee residents.
• www.upmcac.org for residents of Marquette, Alger and Schoolcraft counties.
• www.wuphac.org for the western five counties of the Upper Peninsula (Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties).
—Nancy Mathews

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