On Tuesday, September 13, the Wyoming Healthcare Access Network presented the 2011 Wyoming Health Care Symposium from 9 AM to 5:30 PM at the Ramada Plaza Riverside in Casper, WY. The symposium, “Just the Facts Please,” was an informational program about the newly adopted healthcare reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). About 120 people attended the day-long event, which provided opportunities for both those involved in various healthcare organizations and interested individuals to learn more about specific aspects of the new law and how other states and preparing for its implementation.
ONE HEALTH VOICE: Several groups came together to help with the event in various ways, serving on a steering committee called One Health Voice. We worked closely together over the past six months to share various organizational duties on the event. Those groups were the Wyoming Primary Care Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society CO-WY Chapter, AARP Wyoming, Wyoming Epilepsy Association, American Cancer Society Wyoming, Equality State Policy Center, Wyoming Healthcare Access Network (PhRMA) and the Wyoming Hospital Association.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORTING GROUPS: Other groups were involved with the symposium as a speaker or exhibitor. They were: Shiners Hospitals for Children, Consumer Advocates: Project Healthcare, Wyoming Center for Nursing and Health Care Partnerships, Wyoming Children’s Action Alliance, Wyoming Department of Family Services – Adult Protection Services, Wyoming Integrated Care Network, Area Health Education Center, mountain Pacific Quality Health, National Network of Libraries of Medicines, Wyoming Behavior Institute, Wyoming Department of Health Emergency Preparedness, Community Health Association of Mountain/Plains States, and Wyoming Department of Health-Immunization Section.
STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS: State and Local elected officials in the Wyoming that attended the conference were Wyoming Representative Elaine Harvey (R-Lovell), chairman of the House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee (as well as members of the Department of Health Advisory Council, Wyoming Health Insurance Exchange Steering Committee, and NCSL-Health and NCSL – Human Services and Welfare member), Senator Bill Landen (R-Casper), chairman of the Wyoming Health Insurance Exchange Steering Committee Chairman, and Senator Jim Anderson (R-Glenrock), president of the Senate. Former legislators attending were State Sen. Pete Jorgensen and Rep. Mary Hales from Casper. Also attending was Dr. Brent Sherard, former director of the WY Department of Health.
NATIONAL OFFICIALS AND LEADERS: Representatives of national elected officials attending the conference were Mandi Mosher, office of Senator John Barrasso and Sandy Tinsley, office of Senator Mike Enzi.
PROGRAM: The first presentation on the Affordable Care Act included an overview of what’s changing regarding new programs, insurance rules, and Medicaid and Medicare. Speakers on the panel included Nona Bear, former CEO of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance and PhRMA consultant, and Doyle Forrestal and Marguerite Salazar of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Denver regional office.
Next, there was a presentation on insurance exchanges by Elisabeth Arenales of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy with Lynn Quincy of Consumers Union. TR Reid, bestselling author of “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Healthcare” and correspondent for the Washington Post and National Public Radio, gave the keynote address during lunch.
Next, a panel spoke to ACA changes in the states. Panelists were Elisabeth Arenales, health care program director, Colorado Center on Law and Policy; Nona Bear, PhRMA consultant; Judi Hilman, executive director, Utah Health Policy Project; Anne Ladd, executive director, Wyoming Business Coalition on Health; Lynn Quincy, senior policy analyst, Consumers Union; and Dr. Eric Wedell, governor, American College of Physicians.
Next, Phyllis Sherard and MaryLynne Shickich of the Wyoming Integrated Care Network spoke on their hospital and clinic organization and their strategies for improving cost and quality.
Lastly, Elizabeth Hoy, health policy advisory to Governor Matt Mead, spoke on a Wyoming strategy for health reform. Her goals were to improve the value of care for people in Wyoming – improve population health outcomes, improve the processes and outcomes of care for individuals, and maintain or reduce per capital costs of care. She gave specific strategy items that she would be pursuing over the next few years, including improving health care information technology throughout the state, supporting the development of appropriate healthcare infrastructure and integration, and using the state’s purchasing power to leverage health care value (pay for value, not volume).
MEDIA: While substantial media outreach was not the main focus of our event and we didn’t issue a press release, several media attended the event and stayed through most of the day’s speakers and discussions. Press converage included: KTWO TV (ABC) in Casper: http://www.k2tv.com/news.php?id=812, The Casper Tribune: http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/article_df5f1892-d6cd-5f03-9f50-c6f7dcd414c6.html and KOWB 1290 (News Talk) in Laramie: http://kowb1290.com/one-health-voice-and-t-r-reid/.