The Realities of Health Care Reform

Published 07-21-2010 8:56 AM | Mark D. Birdwhistell  

On Monday, I was in Washington, D.C. where I was able to connect with colleagues from other Kentucky hospitals at the headquarters of the American Hospital Association (AHA) to discuss Health Care Reform. I was excited to visit the AHA headquarters because surprisingly, this was my first time there even with all my numerous trips to DC. I have to admit that I was impressed with the "nice digs" at the AHA offices.  I even had to snap a picture of the sign in front of the AHA offices.  In contrast, what is not visible in the photo, is the view of the homeless lady who was sitting to the immediate right of this sign with a shopping cart full of her belongings.  I couldn't help but sense the irony of the timing of our discussion to focus on covering the uninsured and the presence of this lady who is obviously dealing with a homeless situation and lack of health care options. The Kentucky hospital systems represented included Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH), Highlands Regional Medical Center, Norton Health Care, St. Elizabeth Medical Centers and Manchester Memorial Hospital. The leadership from the Kentucky Hospital Association, Mike Rust, President and CEO and Sarah Nicholson, VP of Government Relations was present, as well as representatives from the American Hospital Association (AHA).

The agenda for the meeting was focused on the realities associated with the implementation of health care reform passed by Congress. At times the discussion was somewhat "impassioned" as each of us shared our concerns from the perspectives of our respective hospitals systems.  I was very proud to be the representative of UK HealthCare in these discussions.

The overall conclusion of the meeting was that we all need to be very vigilant in reviewing the thousands of regulations which will be drafted as the realities of health care reform are rolled out in the weeks and months ahead.  As we do this it will be very important to keep in mind the vision of the lady next to the AHA office and the many others dealing with homelessness and a lack of health care coverage.


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