PANEL TO TALK OF SAFETY NET IN HEALTH CARE.
LANCASTER - With nearly 56,000 Antelope Valley residents - 17 percent of the population - uninsured for health care, the effect on local resources will be addressed at a free communitywide forum.
To be held Wednesday at the Larry Chimbole Cultural Center in Palmdale, the forum will also commemorate Care-A-Van mobile clinics' 10th anniversary of bringing services to local low-income and uninsured adults and children as a health-care safety net.
Television personality Mitchell Chase will introduce the evening's featured speakers: Deborah Rice, California commissioner on health care work-force policy; Gloria Rodriguez, chief executive officer of the Community Clinics Association of Los Angeles County; and Dr. Benjamin Paz, medical director of City of Hope Breast Center.
Panelists will outline the impact of the lack of insurance on area residents, hospitals and medical services, discuss unmet needs and forecast the future of health care in the Antelope Valley.
As a highlight of the forum, Diane Grooms, regional vice president of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, will present the first Rae Yoshida Care-A-Van Caring Spirit Award in memory of Care-A-Van's founder.
Care-A-Van will sponsor the forum as a public-education service. Forum supporters include Lancaster Community Hospital, Antelope Valley Hospital and High Desert Medical Group.
Now a program of the Partners in Care Foundation, Care-A-Van was founded by the Visiting Nurse Association of Los Angeles in partnership with United Way 10 years ago.
For the past eight years, Partners in Care has covered Care-A-Van's annual shortfall to maintain services by securing grants and conducting fund-raising efforts.
The forum, free and open to the public, will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Chimbole Cultural Center, Manzanita Ballroom, 38350 Sierra Highway, Palmdale. A light dinner will be served. Reservations are advised and can be made by calling (661) 942-2391.