Prairie du Chien Healthcare Forum



Prairie du Chien 

Healthcare Forum July 13

By Ted Pennekamp


Is there a better way? That will be the focus of a Healthcare Forum to be held in Prairie du Chien at 7 p.m. in the Crawford County Administration Building, 225 N. Beaumont Road.

“Nothing will change without the real facts,” said one of the forum’s organizers Joe Atkins of Prairie du Chien, who noted that the forum will have three panelists who will each give about a 20-minute presentation about the state of our healthcare system. Following each presentation, attendees can ask questions of the panelists.

Atkins said a healthcare forum was held in Gays Mills on May 25 which was attended by 45 to 50 people and a lively discussion ensued. “We’re looking for about 100 people at the Prairie du Chien Forum,” said Atkins. 

The three panelists at the Prairie du Chien Healthcare Forum will be Dr. Laurel Mark, Dr. Michael Garrity and Dr. Nike Mourikes.

Dr. Laurel Mark is a physician and a clinical assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He is from Wisconsin’s Physicians for a National Health Program who support single-payer national health insurance.

Dr. Nike Mourikes is an internist and pediatrician working in the Madison area. Before coming to Wisconsin, she practiced for many years at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and her experiences there inspired her to become active in health care reform. She has been an active member of Physicians for a National Health Program for more than 20 years.

Dr. Michael Garrity is a retired physician who practiced for many years in Prairie du Chien. After Dr. Garrity retired, he helped to set up clinics in the former Soviet Union. He also spends one day a week working in a free clinic in La Crosse.

The discussion will bring up real situations that happened to people seeking healthcare, and what people can do to become wiser consumers regarding doctors, hospitals, health insurance companies and drug companies, said Atkins. The discussion will also involve what people can do to try to make healthcare less expensive and better, and how best to establish a relationship with their state and national legislators.

“We need to become pro-active consumers of healthcare,” said Atkins. “It is a quality healthcare issue, a cost issue and a political issue. We will discuss real life situations and stories.” Asking questions of your doctor, and how to find the lowest cost for a particular medical procedure was one of the many topics discussed in the Gays Mills Forum. Another topic was how to prevent unnecessary procedures from being done, rather than blindly accepting what the doctors say. Atkins noted that a person at the Gays Mills Forum had needed an MRI, for example, and checked the cost at various hospitals. At one area hospital, the cost was $2,000. At another hospital, the cost was $400. 

Some of the general questions to be addressed at the forum may include: 

•Is the present system meeting your needs?

•Is it affordable, why are costs so high?

•Is everybody included?

•Is single payer/universal coverage the solution?

•How do we get from what we have to what we need?

•What can the consumer do?

A similar healthcare forum focusing specifically on senior healthcare will be held in Prairie du Chien on Aug. 24.

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Prairie du Chien Healthcare Forum

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