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Miller Lite Ride for the Arts benefits UPAF

The morning of June 5th began with a bright blue sky and temperatures in the low 60’s – the perfect scenario for the United Performing Arts Fund’s annual Miller Lite Ride for the Arts. Our group, “Power to the Pedal-Ride On” arrived at the Mid-Gate of the Summerfest grounds at 7:15am and were scheduled to begin the 25 mile route at 8:00am.

Due to some last minute adjustments and the fact that so many participants signed up for the course over the Hoan Bridge, (the first time ever riders were allowed on this thoroughfare), our ride actually begin at 8:15am.  It was slow going at first – we were literally were walking our bikes due to the crowd of cyclists – as we approached the on-ramp to the Hoan.

 We immediately rode up the incline of the aged yet famous span that links downtown Milwaukee to Bayview and the  Mitchell Airport. As we reached the top of the bridge, I paused to take a few photos of the city but was quickly informed to “move on.”

The route continued down Superior Street and our first rest stop was in St. Francis where we received fresh fruit and several musicians performed for the riders. We then rode down South Lake Drive, past Sheridan Park and Warnimont Golf Course. Out turn around point was Grand Park, where there was another rest stop, but we were doing well, so decided to continue without a pause.

We completed the ride at approximately 10:20am and joined the throng of riders on the Summerfest grounds for food, drink and entertainment. With the overall attendance exceeding 8,000 cyclists, the event’s total fund raising amount is likely to reach $350,000. Including on-line, cash and check donations, our group raised over $350, which will benefit various performing arts groups such as Next Act Theatre, the Milwaukee Ballet and the Skylight Opera. BIG Thank You to all the donors! And remember, “Life’s Better with the Arts.”

Article written by: Kathy A. Rafel, Program Coordinator

HCN of Racine County

The Health Care Network of Racine began after a group of community minded citizens met in 1982 to address a problem that occurred at the time of severe recession. That recession resulted in about 22%g unemployment in a formerly very actively employed factory town. The Racine Community sought and found a way to provide health care to a large number of patients who were uninsured and had no governmental plan to access for their health problems. A civic minded group was led by Sister Brenda Walsh; they agreed that one of the most important needs in Racine was to provide health care to people without funds. The hope was to distribute care amongst a large group of physician providers rather than those few that were privately providing most of the indigent care. The established a loose network of physicians in “A Caring Plan”. They would agree to see indigent patients in most of the Racine physician offices. In 1990 under the leadership of Drs. Elizabeth Steffan and William Little, Health Care Network became defined and a clinic opened its doors in the basement of a local church. They had received a grant from St. Mary’s Racine Health Care Foundation for $150,000 over a 5 year period. This evolved gradually into what is now a fully staffer medical and dental clinic of 60 members, with three hospitals; All Saints consisting of St. Mary’s and St. Lukes and in additional Burlington Memorial Hospital. These hospitals provide free diagnostic testing and in patient services including all treatments required for HCN patients. The expenses funded through these hospitals are substantial and increase significantly each year. We also have over 350 community professionals in Racine County willing to see uninsured patients referred to them from the HCN clinic.

Pharmaceuticals are provided without charge whenever possible and are obtained from donations, pharmaceutical company samples and “patient assistance funds” from pharmaceutical corporations for prescription of their products. Private pharmacies (about 16) in the area provide discounts. One pharmacy gives free generic antibiotics and there is a “voucher” program that obtains funds from a grant for prescriptions. The clinic itself obtains funds from many community donors, made up of individuals and businesses. Only about 16% of funds come from governmental sources.

A full time Director, Barb Tylenda O.T., stewards the clinic in coordination of health care appointments for 8,000-10,000 patients each year. This remarkable program has met goals set for health care with measurable improvements in emergency room visits, the management of hypertension, diabetes and for dental disease. Nationally it has been recognized with awards from the “Thousand Points of Light”, “All American City” finalist in 1994, 2000, and 2003, “The Golden Rule” J.C. Penney award in 1998, American Red Cross “Bravehearts” award in 1998 and others on local levels.

As one of HCN “physician providers”, I have been please to provide gastroenterology consultation and care to patients referred to me from HCN’s internists and family practice physicians. If they need radiology or endoscopic evaluation, the practicing community physicians have been extremely cooperative in performing the necessary testing.

The best motives to provide services to people of need are truly abounding in this group of physicians and dentists and supporting staff. As one of our physicians said, “we are here not just to make money but to help others”.

Article written by G. Kenneth Johnson, MD, Assistant Professor, Division of Gastroenterology
© 2015 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 04/20/2012