MAYWOOD, IL – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) visited Access to Care at the Loyola Center for Health on Roosevelt in Maywood on Wednesday to learn about the non-profit primary healthcare program for low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients living in suburban Cook County and Chicago's Northwest Side.
Sen. Durbin discussed the Affordable Care Act, prescription drug costs and Loyola's population health initiatives with Matthew Fitz, MD, director, Loyola Access to Care, Paul O'Keefe, MD, chair, department of medicine, Loyola University Medical Center, and founder of Loyola Access to Care, representatives from the Suburban Primary Health Care Council, as well as patients Onnie Arrington and Joe Polak.
Sen. Durbin said the Affordable Care Act has made great strides in ensuring that 20 million more Americans – one million Illinoisans – now have health insurance coverage, but challenges remain. There are still uninsured individuals and under-insured–those who have insurance but have trouble affording certain co-payments, deductibles or premiums.
"These vulnerable individuals are helped by places such as Access to Care, which bring affordable, reliable healthcare services into communities in need," Sen. Durbin said. "Access to Care and Loyola Medicine are stepping up to treat chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension and to bring everyday health services to people in need in Cook County."
Vivian Irizarry, MD, an internal medicine resident, and Nelly Gonzalez, a second-year medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, spoke with Sen. Durbin about how they are trained in high value care to be conscientious of the costs that patients incur with prescription medications, laboratory and radiographic studies.
Each year, Loyola's Access to Care program serves about 1,000 people who are not eligible for public health programs such as Medicaid and Medicare and have family incomes under 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. The program is a unique public/private partnership making primary healthcare and pharmacy, laboratory and radiology services available for a small co-payment per doctor visit, procedure or prescription.
Kathi Franklin, president and CEO of Suburban Primary Health Care Council, which governs Access to Care, said they serve about 6,000 total patients at 130 sites, but Loyola is by far the largest provider.