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SEIU Janitors and Responsible Corporate Leaders Herald New Model for Making Health Care More Accessible and More Affordable

Thursday, December 18, 2008 General News J E 4
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HOUSTON, Dec. 17 SEIU janitors and corporate leaders joined together today to unveil the new Houston Service Workers' Clinic, a groundbreaking labor-business partnership that could provide a model for other cities also struggling with the crisis in health care.



The clinic is a joint project between janitors and responsible business and community leaders -- including Cigna Health and Baylor College of Medicine -- to make health care more accessible for low-wage workers. It will provide quality, affordable care to more than 5,300 commercial office janitors for only $205 a month per worker -- less than one-third of a penny per square foot of rental space in downtown buildings.



"This innovative program goes hand-in-hand with the mission of Baylor College of Medicine's Department of Family and Community Medicine to provide patient-centered medical care and serve as a force for promoting health in the community," said Dr. John C. Rogers, interim chair of the department. "This program offers a creative approach to bringing a new group into the ranks of the insured. Our physicians will offer the highest quality primary care and serve as a gateway for specialized care."



Its unveiling comes as thousands of Houston janitors celebrate the anniversary of a month-long strike that put a human face on the city's healthcare crisis.



"Two years ago I stood beside the Mayor and told the world 'Houston won big,'" said Mercedes Herrera, a Houston janitor who helped lead the workers' historic strike. "Today we celebrate another victory for Houston families as we open our health care clinic."



Nearly 46 million Americans don't have health coverage, including one in three Houstonians. As health costs rise year after year, many more Americans risk losing their coverage. Seeking a national solution, SEIU is engaging healthcare workers through Healthcare United, voters through Americans for Health Care, plus business leaders and stakeholders from all walks of life.



With 2 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America. Focused on uniting workers in three sectors to improve their lives and the services they provide, SEIU is the largest healthcare union, including hospitals, nursing homes, and home care; the largest property services union, including building cleaning and security; and the second largest public employee union.



SOURCE Service Employees International Union
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