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Health Care that Works for All Americans

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National Health Care Commission Holds Hearing in Houston


Jessica Federer
(301) 443-1521
(240) 676-3655


July 25, 2005 – Houston, Texas – The Citizens’ Health Care Working Group will hold its third regional hearing, July 26, at Christus St. Joseph Hospital, to learn about Hispanic/Latino and rural heath issues and state and local initiatives. The Working Group is a nonpartisan group of 14 citizens from diverse backgrounds across the country that was authorized by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. They are charged with developing recommendations for the President and Congress to provide U.S. citizens with “health care that works for all Americans.” The Working Group will develop these recommendations by holding hearings, developing and issuing the Health Report to the American People, and using the report to engage the American people in a dialogue on health care coverage and cost issues.

“We are a group of citizens concerned about health care,” said Rosario Perez, Houston resident and Working Group Member. “We are here to listen and learn about health care concerns that are important to our fellow Americans. Here in Houston, we will focus on Hispanic and rural health, long-term care and home health and retiree health care.”

This regional hearing is the fourth of five hearings to address innovative state strategies to expand health care coverage and lower health care costs; local community solutions to accessing health care coverage; the role of evidence-based medical practices and the use of technology, and strategies to assist purchasers of health care, including consumers, to be more cost conscious.

“This summer we have been visiting different regions of the country to learn about the challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. health care system, including access, quality and efficiency. The result of what we learn will be published in our Health Report to the American People,” said Randall L. Johnson, chair of the Citizens’ Health Care Working Group and Director, Human Resources Strategic Initiatives, Motorola. “When this report is released in the upcoming months, we invite the American public to engage in an educated dialogue with us about how to address the situations that we are facing.”

Working Group Member Rosario Perez, a Houston resident, was instrumental in bringing the Working Group to Texas. Chosen as one of Houston’s top 10 nurses by the Houston Chronicle in 2004, Perez is the Director of community outreach at Christus St. Joseph Hospital, where she runs a mobile health clinic that serves undocumented workers, the elderly and the indigent. She serves on the Houston Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council and was a founding member of the Hispanic Health Coalition of Houston. She has worked with the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas to increase community participation in clinical studies. She also works as a diabetes educator for the blind.

Editor’s note: The Citizens’ Health Care Working Group is an independent body whose members were selected by the Comptroller General of the United States. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides administrative support as directed by the Medicare Modernization Act.

For more information, contact the Working Group at (301) 443-1502.