CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital believes health care coverage and wellness matter

Lake Charles, LA 2010- CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, Calcasieu Community Clinic, Family and Youth Counseling Agency, DHH LaCHIP, W.O. Moss Regional Medical Center and the SWLA Center for Health Services have joined together to participate in two national campaigns focused on building a healthier community in Lake Charles, Louisiana: Cover the Uninsured and National Public Health Week.

Cover the Uninsured Week

The observance of these efforts encourages individuals and communities to adopt public healthy policies that keep us all healthy.

"The residents of Southwest Louisiana can make a real difference if they commit to healthy behaviors for themselves, their children and families. says Bernard Leger, Administrator of CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital. "We will find real change when we shift from a health system of sick care to one focused on the prevention of disease and injury."

The Centers for Disease control and Prevention has stated several of the top causes of death in the United States such as heart disease and stroke, can be prevented by personal lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, improving diet and exercising.

Dianna Ross with the Southwest Louisiana Center for Health Services says that today nearly 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese, 46 million people don't have health insurance and almost 900,000 people die deaths that can be prevented each year.

"For the first time, American children may live shorter lives than their parents," Ross says. "Even though statistics are bleak, every day is a chance to improve the health of our nation.

Another roadblock in the health of our nation is the plight of the uninsured. Forty-seven million Americans are uninsured. Nearly nine million of them are children. More than eight out of 10 are in working families. They are our friends, neighbors and colleagues--forced to gamble every day that they won't get sick or injured, says Kayla Rigney, Director of the Calcasieu Community Clinic.

"An estimated 18,000 – 22,000 Americans die each year because they don't have health coverage," Rigney says. "That is why it is so important for our communities to come together to demand solutions and ensure that American families are covered. Our nation can find solutions to this tragic problem that work for everyone."

There are a number of community events planned for Cover the Uninsured in conjunction with National Public Health Week 2010, including LaCHIP registrations at St. Patrick Hospital School Based Health Center sites, and a community breakfast on April 6. For a complete list of community events, visit CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital's website at for the calendar of events for the entire week.

is a nonpartisan, nationwide effort seeks to raise awareness about the need for putting care within reach. National Public Health Week is a nationwide effort to make America the healthiest nation in one generation. This year, the focus is the role that communities play in building a healthier America.

The following is a press release from Christus Health: