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2009 Media Releases

December 10, 2009
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Lori Seibel, Community Health Endowment, 436-5516
Su Eells, Task Force Coordinator, 499-5543

Health Care Task Force Releases Report

A task force is recommending a strategic plan for the People's Health Center, the coordination of paperwork and a system of patient advocates as steps to strengthen Lincoln's health care safety net. Those are the priority recommendations of the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Health Care Safety Net, which released its final report today.

Mayor Chris Beutler charged the Task Force with addressing the increasing number of uninsured individuals in Lincoln who rely on "safety net" providers, such as community health centers, free clinics, hospitals, other nonprofit organizations, private physicians and local government.

Our goal is to make sure the uninsured and low-income families in our community have access to quality health care," Beutler said. "It's important for the health of the entire community that these services be provided in a coordinated and cost-efficient manner so that the system is sustainable. I want to thank the members of the task force for taking the first step in this difficult challenge.

The Mayor released the report at a news conference accompanied by Kim Russel, President/CEO of BryanLGH Health System, who served as Chair of the Task Force, and Dr. Bob Rauner, MD, a member of the Task Force and incoming President of the Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians.

Since April, the Task Force has diligently examined our community's safety net," said Russel. "We have looked to other communities for 'lessons learned,' heard from national safety net experts, and had intense, sometimes difficult, conversations about the strengths, shortcomings and opportunities for Lincoln's existing safety net system. I am proud of the work of the task force, and sincerely thank the members for their hard work.

The final report, available on the City Web site at, details 23 recommendations to improve Lincoln's healthcare safety net. The task force said the development of a strategic plan for the People's Health Center would look at increasing its capacity by relocating and/or expanding to satellite clinics. The second priority is to explore ways to integrate eligibility assessment, form preparation, and the collection of supporting documentation. The development of a hub of patient advocates would help uninsured individuals navigate the health and human services system.

Other recommendations involve strategies related to medical homes; safety net efficiencies and enhancements; volunteers; information technology; prevention, wellness, and health education; resource development; and implementation.

A second phase of the study focused on implementing the task force recommendations is under way. "We will again be calling on the people of Lincoln to work together to make these recommendations a reality for our community," Beutler said.

For further information on the report or the work of the task force, contact Su Eells at 499-5543 or

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