50 years ago on July 1, 1966, Lillian Grace Avery became the nation’s first Medicare beneficiary while she was a patient at Edward Hospital.
Recently staff gathered to commemorate the anniversary and recognize how far the hospital has come since then.
Pam Davis, Edward-Elmhurst Health’s CEO, and Congressman Bill Foster were on hand, as well as Duane Carlson, the staff member at the National Blue Cross association who was responsible for selecting Lillian as the first Medicare beneficiary.
“I gave the hospital the parameters that we wanted and then worked with them and Lillian Grace Avery was, the odds of her being the first Medicare patient were 19 million to one, in the beginning because that’s how many people were qualified for Medicare, but at the end she beat the odds and she was number one,” said Carlson.
A plaque was unveiled honoring the anniversary and will be on display at the hospital.
Over 55 million people are Medicare beneficiaries today.
Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.
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