The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date: August 15, 2003
Dynamic outreach refuses to yield to barriers
Serving health cares needy is both exciting and depressing, said Dr. Doug Edema, president/CEO of Advantage Health and ambulatory services vice president for St. Marys Mercy Medical Center in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Edema (pronounced, Ee-deema) was one of three speakers at the Catholic Health Assembly tackling issues of providing access to care for the uninsured and underinsured while the coverage debate lingers.
His main points: Collaborate, go to the philanthropists and foundations to beg funds, and dont be put off by any barriers, including the mountain of work and the fact you just kind of scratch the surface of the communitys needs.
St. Marys has been at it for a while. Edema described the imagination and outreach brought to bear in a half-dozen examples:
We tend to do things with trailers, said Edema. The Browning Claytor Center, a neighborhood ministerial alliance, began its outreach that way in the black community.
Another neighborhood project, created by St. Marys Medical, St. Alphonsus Catholic Parish and the Crestwood Neighborhood Association, is Catherines Care. What began as a neighborhood outreach now has volunteer time from some retired physicians.
The point Edema made in his opening, about St. Marys work only scratching the surface, leads to a wider observation. It is that Catholic and other nonprofit health care systems alone cannot meet the demands of the uninsured population. Nonetheless, there is a dynamism to Catholic outreach that refuses to yield in the face of the barriers Edema described.
-- Arthur Jones
National Catholic Reporter, August 15, 2003
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