UHH Honored as Partner of the Year by Safety-net Clinics

by Katherine Gaulke, WAFCC Executive Director 

MADISON, WI – At the Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinic’s Safety Net Gala this fall, two legislators and health systems were honored as supporters and champions of safety-net clinics.  Aurora Health System and Upland Hills Health were selected as partners of the year for free and charitable clinics, and Rep. Amy Loudenbeck and Rep. Debra Kolste were selected as legislative champions for free & charitable clinics. 

Katherine Gaulke, Executive Director for the Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, stated that all of these individuals’ work reflects their understanding that Wisconsin’s free and charitable clinics are the only way for the uninsured to obtain health care in many areas. “For example, both of the health systems that were honored have dedicated millions of dollars over the long-haul to support safety-net clinics—this investment is a testament to their understanding of how safety-net clinics are an integral part in closing healthcare gaps.” 

Both Rep. Amy Loudenbeck and Rep. Debra Kolste were nominated for these awards for their work in expanding the volunteer healthcare provider program, which provides malpractice insurance for volunteer providers who treat patients in free clinics. Furthermore, association members recognized both assembly members for their dedication to combatting human trafficking, expanding resources for communities to battle the opiate epidemic, and funding innovative solutions for improving mental health access. In her acceptance speech, Rep. Loudenbeck highlighted that the legislation expanding the  volunteer healthcare provider was a cost-effective, bipartisan solution in ensuring that the 325,000 uninsured Wisconsinites were able to receive healthcare.  “I was most proud that this was done in a bipartisanship fashion because we can all agree we care about low-income individuals receiving healthcare.” 

The Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics was founded in 2014 to support, strengthen, and advocate for the uniqueness of the Wisconsin free and charitable clinics, the patients they serve, and the communities with whom they partner. More information about the clinic can be found at www.wafcclinics.org. 

Pictured (left to right): Dr. Aaron Dunn (Medical Director, Community Connections Free Clinic), Sara Nichols (Executive Director, Open Arms Free Clinic), Rachel Roller (Senior VP of Government & Community Relations, Aurora Health Care), Lisa Schnedler (President & CEO, Upland Hills Health), Katherine Gaulke (Executive Director, WAFCC), Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, Rep. Debora Kolste, Ian Hedges (Executive Director, Health Net of Rock County), and Rebecca Steffes (Clinic Manager, Community Connections Free Clinic).   Photo taken by: Robbie Gleason Photography

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