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LUTHERAN CHALLENGES NEW YORKERS TO EMBRACE THREE CRITICAL HEALTH CARE RESOLUTIONS FOR 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LUTHERAN CHALLENGES NEW YORKERS TO EMBRACE THREE CRITICAL
HEALTH CARE RESOLUTIONS FOR 2008 TO GET INVOLVED AND GET HEALTHY

December 13, 2007, Brooklyn, New York…Our nation is at a critical crossroad in health care. Studies show that more Americans are worried about their health care costs than about losing their job, paying their rent, losing money in the stock market, or being the victim of a terrorist attack. That's why Lutheran has developed three simple New Year's resolutions for everyone to use as guidelines to Get Involved and Get Healthy.

"Too many Americans are without health insurance, lack a family doctor, and even more are foregoing important health maintenance screenings," says Larry McReynolds, executive director of the Lutheran Family Health Centers. "It's a recipe for disaster that has left our nation's emergency rooms unnecessarily overcrowded and has exponentially added to spiraling health costs as nonprofit hospitals assume the role of their community's family physician."

As one of the country's first federally qualified health centers – and the largest in New York – with a direct working partnership with its neighboring hospital, Lutheran has been its community safety net for more than 125 years. "We know what works in health care," McReynolds adds. "Although there is no one magic solution, history has proven to us that most people do not take personal responsibility for their own health care; they need to get involved."

Get Involved and Get Insured: According to the State's Monthly (November, 07) Medicaid Managed Care Enrollment Report, more than 400,000 New Yorkers qualified for Medicaid but were not enrolled. As elected officials and future candidates debate universal coverage, we must not forget about programs currently in place. In 1984, Lutheran Medical Center created one of the area's first managed Medicaid plans, Health Plus, to provide coordinated quality health care and improve access to care for a diverse and growing number of uninsured Brooklynites. The program now serves all five boroughs of New York and Nassau County and covers nearly 270,000 members.

Get Involved and Get a Primary Care Physician: According to the N.Y.C Department of Health, one in five New Yorkers, including 600,000 people with health insurance, lacked a regular doctor in 2005 – they were medically homeless. Community health centers, like the Lutheran network, deliver primary and preventive care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. Start the New Year off right by finding a medical home and make sure each member of your family is getting a regular checkup. The Lutheran Family Health Centers provide a high-quality and convenient health care home for more than 90,000 active patients totaling more than 600,000 outpatient visits a year.

Get Involved and Get Tested: Early prevention is key to staying healthy. As expected, many of those without regular doctors miss out on essential screenings or immunizations. Preventive health screenings can help with early disease detection, increasing opportunities for interventions to prevent progression of the disease and emergence of symptoms. If you have any questions about exactly which tests are right for you, please discuss these concerns with your own doctor. There are specific, nationally recognized guidelines for each person in each age group.

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As Brooklyn's premier heath care network, Lutheran HealthCare (LHC) is a comprehensive medical and social support system committed to providing services for the whole person -- physically, emotionally and spiritually. The LHC system of community health providers includes Lutheran Medical Center, the Lutheran Family Health Centers, Lutheran Augustana Center for Extended Care and Rehabilitation, Community Care Organization, Inc, Health Plus, senior housing programs and more. Learn about LHC and its 125-year-old commitment to serving Brooklyn neighborhoods by visiting www.LutheranHealthCare.org.

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