RHD leading the fight for access to health care: Donna Torrisi, director of RHD’s Family Practice & Counseling Network, profiled on philly.com
August 14, 2017
Donna Torrisi, director of RHD’s Family Practice & Counseling Network, was profiled on philly.com for her career fighting for access to health care for people in need. Founded by RHD in 1992, FPCN is the largest nurse-managed health care network in the country and serves more than 22,000 patients each year. Read the story here
“It’s abhorrent to me for people not having access to health,” she said. “My mother said to me once, `Why do they need health insurance? Can’t they just use your centers?’ But, Torrisi said, “That’s not health insurance. That’s access to primary care, but what about everything else? What about if you have some kind of neurological symptoms and need to see a neurologist? Too bad.
“How do you look at someone and say, `I’m sorry, I can’t get you a colonoscopy, even though it’s recommended at your age, or even though you’re having blood in your stool,” which could be a sign of cancer?
“It’s absurd. It’s painful,” said Torrisi who still practices a half-day a week to stay in touch with patients. “The whole thing is unethical. When we first started the health center, we had this letterhead, and at the very bottom it said: `Health care is a right, not a privilege.’ How poignant is that today?”
FPCN is a network of health centers providing primary care, behavioral health education, prenatal care, family planning services, dental care, community outreach, and advocacy. The nurse-managed centers are primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to serve public housing residents and surrounding communities. Primary care Certified Nurse Practitioners and licensed behavioral health professionals provide high quality care aimed at improving the health status of the underserved, uninsured and vulnerable people.
RHD's Donna Torrisi honored with Loretta C. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award
Donna Torrisi, director of RHD’s Family Practice and Counseling Network, has been honored with the 2017 Loretta C. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Nurse Practitioner Symposium. The award recognizes the accomplishments of an individual who has demonstrated longevity, integrity, professional achievement and advocacy in advanced practice nursing on a national level.
Torrisi was also featured in NBC-10’s coverage of the health care debate and the possible consequences of repeal. Medicaid expansions in the Affordable Card Act reduced the uninsured rate of FPCN’s patients from 25 percent to 8 percent — and repealing the ACA and cutting Medicaid would have disastrous consequences. Watch the video here
This year FPCN celebrates 25 years of providing quality health care to people in need. Former Philadelphia mayor, Pennsylvania governor and chair of the national governor’s association Ed Rendell was on hand to honor Torrisi for a career of providing health care to people in need.