(Extensions of Remarks - November 22, 1999)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E2528]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                          HEALTH CARE FOR ALL


                          HON. KAREN McCARTHY

                              of missouri

                    in the house of representatives

                       Monday, November 22, 1999

  Ms. McCARTHY of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to underscore the 
importance of addressing the multi-faceted issues involved in providing 
access to health care for all Americans. In a country of unsurpassed 
material resources, healthcare should be a right, not a privilege; yet, 
the number of uninsured and disenfranchised populations that have to 
limit their exposure even to basic primary health services, has reached 
staggering proportions. If we are to successfully turn-around this 
untenable situation, we must develop comprehensive, coordinated, 
targeted approaches that proactively address systemic health-related 
issues in our communities.
  I have recently become aware of the efforts of the Carondelet Health 
System (CHS) to develop a ``Community Outreach Network'' that would 
serve as a model for universal access to health services in multi-
cultural communities. CHS, comprised of more than 50 hospitals, skilled 
nursing facilities, home care agencies and physician groups across the 
United States, has a strong presence in the State of Missouri with its 
national headquarters located in St. Louis, and a number of 
institutions in my own district. Since its inception, CHS has focused 
on its commitment to the uninsured, disenfranchised and medically 
underserved members of the community. One-third of the population 
reached by CHS members is Hispanic, and there are a growing number of 
ethnic minorities who come to CHS institutions to find a home in an 
increasingly complex health care delivery system.
  Given the multicultural community that CHS serves, CHS has launched a 
national collaborative initiative to increase community health access; 
provide a comprehensive continuum of care for the uninsured; and focus 
on minority health status improvements. Breaking down barriers to 
health care by enrolling uninsured children and families in available 
programs; coordination and integration of community health resources on 
the local level, and cultural competency training for medical staff who 
serve diverse, multicultural communities will be key elements of the 
CHS Community Outreach Network.
  National health systems such as Carondelet, with unique expertise in 
reaching out to the uninsured and under-served, can play a highly 
beneficial role as collaborative partners with the federal government 
in developing models for community health access that can be replicated 
by others in health care community. As the Department of Health and 
Human Services develops its budget and Congress sets its spending 
priorities for Fiscal Year 2001, I would hope that attention will be 
paid and resources will be allocated to pilots and demonstrations that 
support current Administration goals to increase access to community 
health services. This is imperative in multi-cultural communities where 
language and other cultural differences present barriers to achieving 
community health objectives.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Chairman of the Labor, HHS, 
Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Mr. Porter, and the Ranking 
Minority Member, Mr. Obey, for their commitment to insuring that access 
to health care for all Americans is a fundamental and basic right.
  I look forward to working with the Subcommittee in the upcoming 
session of Congress to find ways to increase support for critically 
needed minority health initiatives.