Campus hosts health care conference

By Meghan Smith
March 27, 2008

Cabrini College hosted “Health Care, Human Rights and Social Work Practice,” a day-long conference on health care in Pennsylvania on Friday, Feb. 29.

Dr. Laura Groves, assistant professor of social work, and Kristen Smith Nicely, visiting assistant professor of social work, put the all-day event together.

“All you need to do is say ‘health care’ to spark a debate,” President Antoinette Iadarola said during her opening speech. As the nation continues to debate health care in America, state legislators, clinical social workers and scholars and members of economic human rights grassroots organizations will partake in panel discussions and workshops on health care and economic human rights.

Panelists and moderators included keynote speaker State Representative Barbara McIllvaine Smith, associate professor of social work at West Chester University Dr. Nadine Bean, Pennsylvania clinical social worker and board member of Health Care 4 All Pa. Bob Mason; founder of the Northeastern Organizing Center and board member of Media Mobilizing Project and Health Care 4 All PA Frank Sindaco and scholar-in-residence at Union Theological Seminary Willie Baptist.

Smith spoke about her experience with the American health care system when her husband fell ill in 2006 and they did not receive much help. After experiencing severe pain in his hip, Smith’s husband went from specialist to specialist searching for an answer. A few doctors later they discovered it was cancer.

Smith’s healthcare denied her husband a PETscan-which would enable them to determine where the cancer was coming from-four times.

Five months later, Smith’s husband was dead.

“Our health care should be the best in the world, but we know it is not,” Smith said.

Throughout her speech, Smith kept emphasizing the idea of “patients before profits” and expressed her support for a single-payer universal health care plan. A single-payer system is an approach to health care financing with only one source of money for paying health care providers. If this plan were to go through, advantages would include administrative ease for patients and providers and result in considerable savings in overhead costs. Of the presidential candidates, only Dennis Kucinich proposed a single-payer health care plan.

Smith stated that on March 19, HB 1660 for health care reform will be going in front of Pennsylvania legislature and urged everyone in attendance to contact their legislators in to voice their opinion in favor of a single-payer health care plan.

“This conference gave me an overall better understanding of America’s health care system and how it is going to affect us in the future,” junior social work major Andrew Pillar said.

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Meghan Smith

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