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UW-Eau Claire to Hold Panel Discussion
for national Cover the Uninsured Week

RELEASED: April 27, 2005

Cover the Uninsured Week graphicEAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire College of Nursing and Health Sciences has planned an event to raise awareness about the challenges faced when so many Americans are without health insurance. This event is part of national Cover the Uninsured Week, May 1-8.

A panel discussion is planned from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, in the Potawatomi Room in Davies Center. A panel of healthcare providers from the Chippewa Valley will speak about topics facing the uninsured population, focusing on the importance of health insurance, issues related to the uninsured population and cost shifting to other areas of the organization. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

"As future health care administrators, we have a vested interest in helping raise awareness of this important issue," said junior Megan Fitzgerald, Hudson, and senior Morgan Peters, Hortonville, co-chairs of the event.

Panelists include Larry Bandoli, social worker at Sacred Heart Hospital's Emergency Medical and Trauma Center; Tom Thorsness, director of regional development and physician relations for Sacred Heart Hospital; and Jerry Barton, administrator of CVTC/UW Health Eau Claire Family Medicine Clinic Student Health Services.

"In addition to the obvious challenges faced by those who cannot afford insurance, this is a spiraling problem that impacts the entire public," said Dr. Jennifer Johs-Artisensi, assistant professor of allied health professions. "When individuals are unable to pay their health care bills, those costs get shifted to other consumers, resulting in even higher premiums for insurance coverage."

Throughout the week, students will be handing out informational fliers, bookmarks and stickers to inform students of the need for insurance.

Cover the Uninsured Week is the largest nonpartisan effort in history to raise awareness about the growing number of Americans who live without health insurance of any kind.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Fitzgerald at (651) 271-8132 or fitzgemm@uwec.edu.

-30-

AK/NW

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