ACA-CAREsIn 1751, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Bond founded the nation’s first public hospital to care for the "sick-poor and insane of Philadelphia.” The Pennsylvania Assembly told Franklin that if he could raise 2,000 pounds from private citizens, they would match the funding, expecting no chance of this money being raised. Franklin raised more than 2,000 pounds and went on to build Pennsylvania Hospital.

All these years later, health-care costs are still a concern in this country. The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, expands health-care coverage for many uninsured Americans, but navigating the nation’s new health law can be tough. Fortunately, this process is a little easier for some local residents, thanks to Johanne Louis, RN, MSN, CRNP, nurse practitioner in Geriatric Medicine, and her volunteer efforts with Better Health Network.

BHN assists residents in underserved areas obtain access to health care and wellness services. “We recognized a need to help these communities understand health-care changes and the new insurance options,” said Jermaine Bromell, president and CEO of BHN. “BHN seeks to support better integration of faith and community organizations with physicians and hospital networks to support the needs of underserved patients.” The organization partners with leaders from government and faith and community-based organizations to reach thousands of eligible uninsured residents of Philadelphia.

Louis recently received a Penn Medicine CAREs grant to help fund a community event at the Church of Christian Compassion in West Philadelphia. The event included a demonstration by a representative of the Department of Health and Human Services, federal health-care navigators, and a computer lab where individuals could sign up for coverage or determine if they’re eligible.

“As a nurse practitioner, I educate people on the need to manage their health,” said Louis. “Here’s an opportunity for more people to have access to a primary care provider who manages their care. People can now pursue the preventative care they need and avoid putting unnecessary strains on emergency rooms.”

Photo caption: Johanne Louis (r.) with Jermaine Bromell of Better Health Network and Julia Basak, who is shadowing her to prepare for medical school.

Apply for a Grant!

For more information on Penn Medicine CAREs and to apply for a CAREs grant, please visit www.Pennmedicine.org/community. The deadline for the next round of grants is June 1.

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