#ICareabouthealthcare Why healthcare matters in our community.


We want to know: why do YOU care about healthcare?

Healthcare isn't just about medicine or technology or policy - it's about people. Why is healthcare important to you? Is it your passion for caring for others? Is it a loved one who inspires you? Has an experience changed your life? How has access to healthcare been important for you and your family? Here's a chance to tell your story to the world.

Theresa Edelstein says, "Let's make our voices heard! #ICareAboutHealthcare" (@Tle723Theresa)


"I was born with a chronic illness, thanks to a roll of the cosmic dice (1/4 chance). If I hadn't been born to the parents I was, it is a certainty that I would have died before the age of 10 - there were more than a few close calls. I was extremely fortunate that my parents could afford decent health insurance to cover my needs.

Brandon M. says #ICareAboutHealthcare

Today, thanks to Obamacare, a kid born with the same condition doesn't need the same amount of luck. But if Congress passes the AHCA and President Trump makes it law, we go back to the bad old days where the lucky live and the unlucky die. This isn't a game, and if you've been complacent it's time for you to fight for your friends and family. We need to save healthcare for ourselves, our communities and our country."


Betsy Ryan says, "The future of healthcare is too important to get wrong. #ICareAboutHealthcare" (@NJHospitals)
Dr. Margaret Fernandes, Neonatalist/Perinatalist, Lourdes Health System

Dr. Margaret Fernandes has more than 40 years of experience practicing in the pediatric care world, and has seen the variety of challenges facing uninsured and underinsured families with sick children.

Fernandes, who specializes in neonatology, perinatology and pediatrics, said she selected pediatrics as her specialty because of the rapid advancements made in the field; now she sees a rapid deterioration of the access to care her patients in Camden need to remain healthy.

"The number of either underinsured or no insurance is still significant," Fernandes said of her patient population. "The newborns may have insurance for a month under the mother... and then when the child gets sick they cannot be seen in physicians' offices so they end up in the Emergency Room, or wait for care and come in really sick."

She said many of the families she sees have trouble filling prescriptions once they are discharged from the hospital. Families also have issues finding transportation to specialty appointments beyond their local community health centers. Fernandes said that her NJ FamilyCare patients covered under Medicaid can call a phone number to set up medical transportation through the state, but other patients that don't have FamilyCare may not be able to get to specialist appointments. "You talk to (families) and you find out what they're really going through."

Fernandes said these barriers to care can have lasting impact on families.

"We need to realize that anything that is delayed in a child is for the next 70 to 80 years of that child's life; it could affect late-onset diseases that may have been prevented if caught earlier," she said.

More people who say #ICareAboutHealthcare!

Clockwise from top left: Kennedy ICU, University Hospital Patient Experience Team, St. Michael's OR and the Valley Hospital Foundation.
Lee S. - Veteran, stroke survivor

Lee S. did everything right. He served our nation in the Navy and Navy Reserve for 10 years, worked a full-time job with health benefits, and took care of himself by exercising and eating right. But when his job went away -- and took his health insurance with it -- Lee said he was willing to “risk it” and forgo coverage instead of spending a large chunk of his income on a private plan.

Then the Affordable Care Act went into effect, and Lee faced the decision between getting coverage or paying a hefty fine because of the individual mandate. He chose to look into coverage through the Veterans Administration, and enrolled in care through the VA.

For several years, Lee received regular healthcare from the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, since he lives in South Jersey. He returned to work and took advantage of the regular check-ups afforded to him through his coverage.

Then, one day at work, Lee’s speech began to slur and his depth perception diminished. He got dizzy and tried to call his wife, Trish, who recognized the signs of a stroke. Emergency services took him to a civilian hospital a half-mile away instead of the VA hospital in Philadelphia, which was more than an hour away.

Time is of the essence in treating strokes, and if care had been postponed, Lee could have faced multiple complications, including death. But instead of being concerned about his condition, Lee was more concerned about his bills. He thought that, because he was enrolled in VA care but taken to a civilian hospital, he wouldn’t be covered. But his entire $87,000 bill was paid for by his VA healthcare.

“I would’ve been wiped out,” Lee said. “It could have haunted me for years… set back my retirement down to nothing.”

Lee now says that while he was willing to “risk it” before the Affordable Care Act, having healthcare coverage gives him piece of mind for the future.

@MCaliendo33: #ICareAboutHealthcare because Dr. Hannema and Cara keep me healthy! Thank you! #NursesWeek #HospitalWeek @HunterdonHealth

@UnivHospNewark: We care about healthcare because we understand the need to provide kind, quality care to everyone #icareabouthealthcare

@JackieCornell: #ICareAboutHealthcare because I wouldn't be where I am today w/o team of amazing docs when I was a very sick newborn #HospitalWeek

@CentraState: #ICareAboutHealthcare...because it matters!

Santiago G. - Father of six, Manalapan

Santiago G. of Manalapan views the debate over healthcare through a very personal lens. The father of six has suffered the worries of going without health insurance – as well as the peace of mind once he was able to secure insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Santiago, who works as a cook, receives dental coverage through his job, but he purchased his medical coverage through the Marketplace. His children receive coverage under NJ FamilyCare.

But that wasn’t the case two years ago, when one of his daughters became sick with what seemed like just a cold which gradually worsened and developed into a raging fever. This was before the children were enrolled in NJ FamilyCare. Santiago said he tried scheduling a doctor appointment first, but ultimately ended up in the hospital emergency room.

“The doctor said if she didn’t have insurance, she wouldn’t take her,” said Santiago.

His daughter received care in the emergency room, and Santiago was left with an $800 bill that he paid himself.

Now, with NJ FamilyCare coverage, his children have a family doctor and receive regular care.

“We need Obamacare, because it’s very important to have insurance. If you don’t have it, oh my God, you pay more,” said Santiago.

“I’m worried more for my children,” he added. “If we don’t have health insurance it is very difficult for us to see a regular doctor.”

More of the people in NJ who say #ICareAboutHealthcare! Clockwise from top left: Kennedy Health CEO Joe Devine; the pharmacy team from University Hospital ; Mary Ditri from NJHA; Public Relations Professionals from around the state; and Doug Struyk, CEO of Christian Health Care, and Sr. Pat Codey of Catholic HealthCare Partnership of NJ.

The New Jersey Hospital Association is a not-for-profit trade organization committed to delivering support and services to the state’s hospitals, health systems and other healthcare providers. We share a collective goal of providing quality, affordable and accessible healthcare to the people of the Garden State.


Created with images by HolgersFotografie - "baby sweet happy human papa hands hand"

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