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Stephanie Armstrong-Helton

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow Visits St. Joseph Mercy Hospital to Discuss Health Information Technology & National Health Care Reform
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Port Huron, MI…U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow paid a visit to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital on Tuesday, August 18, 2009, to attend a round table discussion with the hospital’s physicians, executives and board of trustee members on health information technology (HIT), take a virtual tour of St. Joseph Mercy’s extensive electronic health record, learn how local physicians are adapting to the need for HIT in their offices, discuss the work of the Peoples’ Clinic for Better Health and participate in conversation regarding the objectives of national health care reform.

Attending the event was Joe Swedish, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Trinity Health. St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron (SJMPH) is a member of Trinity Health, the eleventh largest health care system in the United States and a national leader in HIT advancement throughout its community-based hospitals across seven states. In 2003, St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron served as the first or “alpha” site for the launch of Trinity Health’s expansive “Genesis” electronic health record across the entire health system.

(Left to Right): Peter Karadjoff, President and CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron shares a moment with United States Senator Debbie Stabenow and Joe Swedish, President and CEO of Trinity Health, during a visit Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron is a member of Trinity Health, of Novi, MI, the eleventh largest health care system in the United States and a national leader in health information technology advancement. For her outstanding dedication and national leadership in the advancement of health information technology, the senator was also presented with a Trinity Health Certificate of Excellence.

“We are pleased that Senator Stabenow took time out of her extremely busy schedule to give us an opportunity to share our views on the issues facing health care,” stated Peter Karadjoff, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SJMPH. “As the community’s health care leader in providing the most advanced and comprehensive electronic health record system, we felt it was significant to our community that Senator Stabenow chose to visit St. Joseph Mercy to discuss the importance of HIT and overall health care reform.”

John Jarad, MD, a local internal medicine physician/hospitalist, who has served as physician champion of the Genesis project since 2003, along with Sridhar Reddy, MD, a local internal medicine physician specializing in pulmonary medicine, provided Senator Stabenow with a virtual tour of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital’s extensive electronic health record as well as private practice office software systems.

As part of the HIT presentation, Joe Swedish recognized Senator Stabenow as a member of the Senate Finance Committee for her leadership role in HIT. “Your commitment to health care reform and HIT has been long standing,” stated Joe Swedish, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Trinity Health. “We know that you stand out as one of the U.S. Senators particularly attentive to finance committee deliberations on reform. We support a reformed system that includes the right incentives to accelerate adoption of electronic health records, integrate comparative effectiveness and care delivery, and enact payment reform. It is only then that we will transform our inefficient and ineffective system into one that advances health care as a national treasure.”

Robert Camara, DO, a family practice physician with Mercy Family Care – Marysville discussed the work of the Peoples’ Clinic for Better Health, the only free medical health care clinic in Port Huron. As a committed physician volunteer at the clinic, Dr. Camara shared a unique perspective on the increasing demand of programs and services in our community. Dr. Camara also introduced Todd Dingman, of Marysville, who has been a Peoples’ Clinic patient for nearly one year.

Not unlike many in our community, Dingman first experienced unemployment and loss of health insurance 18 months ago when his construction business closed. Recently diagnosed with diabetes, Dingman relies on the Peoples’ Clinic to provide care and diabetes management supports as he continues through the care of his chronic condition.

“As cosponsor of the Peoples’ Clinic for Better Health with the St. Clair County Medical Society,” comments Karadjoff, “we are uniquely qualified to provide a first-hand understanding of the needs of the uninsured in our community. Unfortunately, this population continues to grow. Health care reform is one of the few rays of hope our friends, neighbors and family members who are uninsured have as they continue to struggle to meet their health care needs.

“We have been very blessed with the support of our community physicians, staff, volunteers and supporters,” concludes Karadjoff. “Being able to share our views and perspectives with Senator Stabenow provides us with a distinct opportunity to continue to influence health care delivery of the future. We thank Senator Stabenow for her visit and look forward to our continued work together.”

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St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron | 2601 Electric Avenue, Port Huron, Michigan 48060 | 810-985-1500