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ABC Joins the Eugene Healthcare Coalition (EHC)


by Eric Dziura, ABC Board Member and representative to EHC

Introduction

Last March 30, ABC was invited to become a member of the EHC. The coalition is seeking to expand and include more stakeholders in our region. After a robust discussion during the April ABC Board meeting, the Board voted unanimously to accept the invitation. Our participation in the coalition will be managed by our Civic Engagement Committee. ABC Board member Eric Dziura will represent ABC at EHC meetings (every two weeks).

What is the EHC?

The EHC is a new organization “… dedicated to advocating for the medical needs of our community, with a focus on acute mental and physical care needs.” The coalition was formed because of the closure of the University District Hospital and the loss of Eugene's only emergency room. Its ultimate goal is to reduce our reliance on the private sector for dependable, quality healthcare in Eugene in particular and Lane County in general, possibly through the establishment of a public hospital.

The coalition is chaired by former Eugene City Council member Claire Syrett (currently a labor representative for the Oregon Nurses Association). The founding organizations in the coalition are ONA, Health Care For All Oregon, SEIU 49, ESN/ JWJ, GTFF, Democratic Socialists of America, and Teamsters local 223.

Why did ABC join the EHC?

Every neighborhood requires readily available, equitable health care. ABC’s Civic Engagement Committee advocates for the needs of our neighborhood and joining the EHC provides an additional channel for such advocacy. ABC is joining the EHC on a trial basis.

What is the EHC working on currently?

1. The Oregon legislature recently passed HB4039 intended to partially address closure of the University District Hospital. One result is that Lane County Health and Human Services will be receiving $3.2 million for an Innovation Fund they will manage. The purpose of this fund is to improve access and decrease the cost of same-day health care in the greater Eugene area, per the legislation. A member of the EHC will be part of the Lane County committee organized to oversee this initiative.

2. EHC has drafted a mission statement and is seeking approval from all members of the coalition.

3. EHC is considering submitting to the Eugene City Council a resolution for their approval entitled Resolution in Support of State and Federal Legislative Action to Achieve a Publicly Financed Universal Healthcare System.

If you have questions or comments, please send an email to bethelneighbors@gmail.com.

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