Health-care reformer to speak in Rochester May 8 - Catholic Courier

Health-care reformer to speak in Rochester May 8

A Catholic Health Association official who is charged with leading a health-care reform effort will make the case for change during appearances in Rochester and Elmira.

Jeff Tieman, director of the CHA’s "Covering a Nation" initiative, will suggest a series of values to be used for reform of the U.S. health-care system during a Downtown Community Forum presentation at 7 p.m. May 8 at St. Mary Church’s Dugan Center, 15 St. Mary’s Place, Rochester. There is no charge for this program, and there is free parking for the event in front of the church and in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield garage. For details, visit www.dcfrochester.org.

Tieman also will speak to the board and management of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira earlier in the day. Tieman’s visits to Rochester and Elmira were organized by Sister of St. Joseph Beth LeValley, a community and health-care advocate, said Monica Mattioli, executive director of the Downtown Community Forum.

Sister LeValley is a board member of the national group HealthCare Now, which is advocating for a guaranteed national health-insurance program. HealthCare Now is supporting the U.S. House of Representatives bill No. 676, which would expand Medicare to cover all. She said when questions came up about what health-care values the Catholic Church would support, she turned to the Catholic Health Association and learned it was putting together a draft of the "Covering a Nation" initiative. Though the association has not taken a position on bill No. 676, many of the values it is promoting through "Covering a Nation" coincide with those of HealthCare Now, Sister LeValley said.

"He will talk about building a health-care system that is fairer," she said of Tieman’s presentations.

Speaking in Washington, D.C., March 13 to editors of U.S. and Canadian Catholic publications, Tieman said CHA’s efforts to reform the health-care system in the United States are defined in its newly released reform initiative, "Our Vision for U.S. Health Care."

He said reformers must battle for Congress’ attention to keep the health-care needs of Americans in the forefront. Citing statistics from the new document, Tieman said 47 million people in the U.S. do not have basic health-insurance coverage, more than 9 million children are uninsured, and each year 18,000 people in the U.S. die because they did not have health coverage and did not receive necessary medical treatment.

"Our Vision for U.S. Health Care," which was compiled with input from medical personnel, ethicists and leaders in Catholic health care, proposes that a reformed system should:

— Be "available and accessible to everyone" and pay "special attention to the poor and vulnerable."

— Be oriented toward health and prevention "with the goal of enhancing the health status of communities."

— Be "sufficiently and fairly financed."

— Allocate resources in ways that are "transparent and consensus-driven."

— Put patients at the center of care, addressing "health needs at all stages of life from conception to natural death."

— Deliver care safely and effectively and with the "greatest possible quality."

Tieman said the document includes elements from Catholic social teaching, such as that all people have God-given dignity; the poor and vulnerable need special concern; health care is a basic human right along with food and shelter; and the health and well-being of each person is intertwined with the well-being of the broader community.

The document also notes health-care services should stem from both the public and private sector and should "respect the religious and ethical values of patients and health care providers alike."

Contains reporting by Catholic News Service.

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