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Media Contact: Tom Grant
tgrant@adventisthealthcare.com
301-315-3356

Published on March 20, 2009

Adventist Hospitals Host Events to Expand Access

Shady Grove Adventist and Washington Adventist Hospitals Provide Health Insurance Counseling and Registration Opportunities in Upper and Lower Montgomery County

Rockville, Md. - Montgomery County residents who do not have health insurance coverage will have an opportunity to enroll in county, state and federal assistance programs during registration events hosted by Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and Washington Adventist Hospital the week of March 23. The events are part of national Cover the Uninsured week.

It is estimated that in Maryland, 760,000 people, including 150,000 children, do not have health-care insurance. Many of these people are eligible for low-cost or free health-care coverage through medical assistance. During Cover the Uninsured week, events sponsored by Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and Washington Adventist Hospital will feature experts to provide counseling and registration for residents who lack health insurance coverage.

"We recognize that due to a number of factors, including economic circumstances, many people in our community currently lack health insurance. Research shows that health insurance can play an important role in ensuring access to care," said Marcos Pesquera, Executive Director of the Adventist HealthCare Center on Health Disparities. "Our goal is to help increase knowledge and understanding of available services among all local populations who lack insurance coverage and to assist with enrollment in appropriate programs."

A 2005 report from The Maryland Health Care Commission showed that uninsured rates among Latinos, which is the largest minority population in Montgomery, Prince George's and Frederick counties in Maryland, were nearly twice that of African Americans, three times that of Asian Americans and four times as high as Caucasians. At the same time, Latinos experience high rates of many health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

"We believe that these uninsured numbers are higher now given our economic downturn and increased unemployment," Pesquera said.

On Tuesday and Friday, March 24 and 27, registration events will take place at the MobileMed Upcounty Primary Care Clinic located in Germantown at 19731 Germantown Road. On Wednesday and Thursday, March 25 and 26, events will be held at the Mary's Center, located at 8709 Flower Ave. in Silver Spring. During the two events, insurance coverage specialists will be available to help navigate the registration process for public health insurance programs such as CHIP, Medicaid, Disability SSI and a variety of other financial assistance programs that are available at the county, state and federal levels. Assistance will be available in English and Spanish.

Helping local residents obtain health insurance coverage may also help them stay healthy. Findings from a recent survey by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, a nonpartisan independent research center, showed that people without insurance tend to delay seeing a doctor, often because of the cost. For some serious illnesses, such as cancer, early diagnosis and treatment can be important to long-term prognosis for patients.

"In fulfilling our mission of meeting the health-care needs of our community, we want to ensure continued access to health-care resources that will lead to good health for residents and their families," said Judy Lichty, Regional Director of Health and Wellness for Adventist HealthCare. "We encourage those in our community who need assistance with obtaining insurance coverage to come out and learn about the programs that are available to help them stay healthy."

A variety of free health screenings will also be offered by the two hospitals during the week's events. To learn more, visit the Adventist HealthCare Center on Health Disparities website.

Hospitals throughout Maryland are participating in this year's Cover the Uninsured week through a statewide effort coordinated by the Maryland Hospital Association.

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital , a not-for-profit, acute care facility with 293 licensed beds, will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2009. Shady Grove offers a broad range of excellent health services including emergency care; high-risk obstetrical and neonatal care; cardiac and vascular interventional care; oncology care; several surgical specialties; and a number of specialized services for children, including the first Pediatric Emergency Department in Montgomery County and the only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in the county. The Shady Grove Adventist Emergency Center in Germantown opened in 2006 and is providing increased access to emergency medical care for more than 30,000 residents each year. Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is part of Adventist HealthCare, an integrated health-care delivery system based in Rockville, Maryland.

Washington Adventist Hospital  is a 292-bed, state-of-the-art acute care facility located in Takoma Park, Maryland. Washington Adventist Hospital is Montgomery County's first complete cardiac center, performing more than 500 open-heart surgeries and more than 7,000 heart catheterizations each year. Washington Adventist Hospital is part of Adventist HealthCare, an integrated health-care delivery system based in Rockville, Maryland.

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