Abbott and HealthReach Increase Access to Health Care for Lake County’s Uninsured With Newly Expanded Free Clinic
$1 Million Partnership Doubles the Capacity of HealthReach Clinic to Serve the Area’s Uninsured and Under-insured, Estimated at More Than 30 Percent of Lake County Population
Mundelein, Illinois.— Despite its status as one of the wealthiest counties in the country, more than 30 percent of the population of Lake County, or 180,000 people, are uninsured or under-insured, according to the Lake County Health Department. One of the people behind these numbers is Gary Welch, a 49-year-old resident of Zion Township. Gary did not have adequate health insurance, preventing him from visiting a doctor despite his poor health. Then Gary found HealthReach, a not-for-profit organization that operates Lake County’s only free health clinics. A volunteer doctor at HealthReach found the cause of his health problems: undiagnosed prostate cancer. Now, Gary is receiving proper medical attention, and his health has improved.
“I’m so thankful for the staff at HealthReach for taking a personal interest in my health,” said Gary. “Now for the first time I feel like I’m receiving the care I need.”
Welch’s story is just one of many examples of how HealthReach, with the support of Abbott and Abbott Fund, has increased access to health care. Today, representatives from Abbott and HealthReach will gather with local government officials and community leaders to dedicate the newly expanded HealthReach Mundelein Clinic at 109 N. Seymour in Mundelein.
Abbott and Abbott Fund Provide $1 Million in Grants and Volunteer Support
The HealthReach Mundelein Clinic, formerly known as the Open Door/La Puerta Abierta clinic, was completely renovated as part of a $1 million partnership between HealthReach and Abbott. All renovations were coordinated by Abbott volunteers, including engineering, design and hands-on construction project management. The renovations have doubled the clinic’s capacity to serve patients, with new patient exam rooms, dental exam rooms, a clinical laboratory, and additional space for medical records and office support.
Abbott Fund contributed $750,000 in grants to fund the renovation work, support ongoing operations at the Mundelein clinic and HealthReach’s other free clinic in Waukegan, Illinois, and support a new full-service, licensed pharmacy in Libertyville, Illinois Abbott contributed more than $250,000 in volunteer support and medical products, including a year’s supply of a number of critical medications, such as antibiotics and products to help manage thyroid and heart disease.
“No one should go without health care because they lack health insurance or can’t afford to pay,” said Jim Zimmerman, executive director of HealthReach. “We’re thankful for the funding and volunteer support of Abbott and others, which has allowed us to expand our services for Lake County residents in need. We welcome support from other community leaders as we try to provide care for the many uninsured and under-insured people in the area.”
“We’ve seen first-hand the vital services that HealthReach provides to our neighbors in the community,” said Mike Warmuth, vice president, Global Engineering Services, Abbott, who worked on the renovations at the Open Door clinic. “Abbott and its employee volunteers are proud to help HealthReach. Through partnership, we can all work together to expand access to health care.”
Area Leaders Call for More Support for HealthReach
When the renovation project was announced in April 2007, Abbott Fund designated $250,000 of its $750,000 in funding support as a “challenge grant” to encourage other companies and donors to support HealthReach. Since April, several area organizations, companies and civic leaders have stepped forward to match Abbott’s challenge grant. But with up to 100 new patients every month and continued challenges in funding ongoing operations, additional support is needed for HealthReach to continue providing access to health care for the area’s uninsured population.
“Health care is important to us all, and I applaud Abbott and HealthReach for their leadership in expanding access to care in Lake County,” said Illinois State Senator Susan Garrett, Chair of the State’s Public Health Committee. “HealthReach provides an important safety net for the many uninsured residents of the north suburbs, and I encourage other area leaders to step forward to help meet this important community need.”
HealthReach Incorporated is a not-for-profit enterprise committed to improving the physical health of Lake County’s low income, medically underserved individuals and families by providing access to quality medical care regardless of age, race or origin.
Now in its 15th year of operation, HealthReach operates two free medical clinics (in Waukegan and Mundelein) and a licensed pharmacy (in Libertyville). Working with a dedicated group of 54 local volunteer physicians, pharmacists and nurses, HealthReach serves more than 4,500 individuals by providing a broad range of medical, dental and pharmaceutical services as well as health education. With current community trends continuing and new services being brought on line, HealthReach will implement more than 14,000 patient visits and fill over 24,000 prescriptions in 2007. Operational support is provided through external funding sources and in-kind donations of products and services. For more information, please visit: www.healthreachcares.org.
About Abbott and Abbott Fund
Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. With global headquarters in north suburban Chicago, Abbott is the largest non-government employer in Lake County, Illinois.
Through the company’s patient assistance programs, Abbott provides free medicines, medical devices and nutritional products to thousands of financially disadvantaged patients in the United States. Last year, Abbott’s patient assistance programs provided more than $171 million worth of medications to patients in need.
Abbott Fund is a philanthropic foundation established by Abbott in 1951.
Abbott Fund’s mission is to create healthier global communities by investing in creative ideas that promote science, expand access to health care and strengthen communities worldwide. For more information on Abbott Fund, visit www.abbottfund.org.
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