Last evening our Center participated in a community town-hall type forum on healthcare in the town of Marana. Our partners for the event were the Children’s Action Alliance, the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers and MHC Healthcare (the community health centerin Marana). While a detailed report about the event will appear on this website in the coming weeks, I thought I’d share a few thoughts now.
Going into the event I wasn’t quite sure was to expect. The format was simple. I spoke for a few minutes, outlining the key healthcare issues in our state, asking the audience for their input and then we turned the podium over to the audience. I didn’t do a head count but attendance was good, with many residents of the community in attendance, along with some key community leaders in Marana, some health care professionals in the community and some key healthcare leaders in the state.
We certainly didn’t have a problem getting folks to stand up and take the podium and tell us their stories. The event started at 5:30pm and wrapped up around 7:30pm. We heard countless stories of folks who had no insurance or who had recently lost their healthcare insurance. We heard from several healthcare professionals about how they are personally impacted by dealing with patients who lose their insurance. We heard from some community leaders and the challenges which small businesses face with increasing healthcare premiums. And we heard from some key healthcare leaders in the state and challenges facing community health centers,hospitals and the status of electronic health records and health information technology.
I was definitely personally touched by the stories we heard and we hope to replicate this type of event in other communities in Arizona in the coming weeks and months. It is clear that healthcare issue is a key concern for us all and the time for action is now.