Rural & Public Health Policy Live Coverage

Updates by David Bui

8:40AM: Neil MacKinnon, director of the Center for Rural Health just finished up the opening remarks. Introduced the coordinating staff and students at the forum. Quite the turn out! 

8:47AM: Fred Hubbard, President of the Rural Health Association with welcoming remarks. Urges us to take advantage of this forum to engage legislators. 

8:54AM: Don Hughes, Policy Advisor for Health Care for the Office of the Governor, up first. Topic: Health Insurance Exchange 

9:00AM: Don Hughes- Arizona is moving forward with developing health insurance exchange. "Travelocity for health insurance."

Mr. Hughes: Big issue with the health insurance exchange...depends on adjusted gross income. IRS will need to provide this data up to date.

9:11AM: The requirements for the federal health insurance exchange are not yet complete, which is a major issue in  trying to move forward with building the exchange.

A packed house today!

Packed house


9:17AM: Sounds like we're ahead of others on implementing a health exchange--but the deadline seems tight.

9:25AM: Mr. Kaihe Akahane, Health Insurance Specialist, CMS  is next up, talking about pre-existing condition health insurance programs coming from the AHCA.

9:30AM: features of PCIP - 100% prevention coverage, no lifetime max, no waiting period, and ability to receive benefits from any able provider. Different plans available w/ reasonable premiums. for more info.

9:35AM: Almost 2,000 individuals enrolled in PCIP in Arizona today--thanks to a big outreach effort from the DHHS.

9:50AM: Next speakers up are Lorie Mayer, State HIT Coordinator, Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology and Melissa Rutala, CEO, Arizona Health-e Connection.

9:58AM: Ms. Mayer "Health information exchange has two major goals: connecting providers, and secure information they're collecting in a better way." ONC High Priority Items are: E-prescribing, Receipt of Structured Lab Results, and Patient Care Summaries.

10:18AM: AHCCS 5 Year Goals

  1. Health Information Exchange: AHCCCS represented on statewide HIE.
  2. Health information Tech for Hospitals: 90% of hospitals and IHS to qualify and meet meaningful use criteria.
  3. Health Information Tech for Eligible Professionals: 90% of eligible professionals
  4. E-Prescribing: increase percent of physicians routing e-RX from current (18%) to 40%.
  5. Program Integrity: adequate oversight of incentive programs.

 10:25AM: Melissa Rutala discussing policy priorities for Arizona Health-e Connections for 2012.

Introducing HB2369:

  1. Allowing e-RX for controlled substances
  2. Consistency in statutory language
  3. Clarification of Health Information Organization definition

10:30AM: - a new national consumer health IT website. A great consumer education site.

10:40AM: Behavioral health information will be an additional challenge in information exchange given the privacy and sensitivity issues.

10:53AM: Next up: "State of States" by Joshua Ewing, Policy Associate, NCSL Health Program, discussing how the Affordable Care Act and the Recession Have Impacted State Health Policy. Starts off talk w/ "The budget sucks" chant...quite fitting for his presentation.

11:00AM: Joshua Ewing suggests that state economy recovery lags behind federal economic recovery and Sates will likely continue to lag. Total estimated budget gap for all 50 states? $527.7 billion for 2008-2013.

11:10AM: Mr. Ewing showing some bleak budget projections for the near future with federal support reductions across the board, but "the worst may be behind us."

Health care reform is #2 in state legislature agendas. Over 500 health care reform bills proposed this year.

11:12AM: Meeting the demand for health workforce may be one of the biggest challenges facing health reform.

11:20AM: Josh going over quotes from legislatures with tips on how to communicate with them. "I don't need to know how to make a watch...I just need to know what time it is." Really points out that legislatures really need to be educated on rural health issues, but need to be directed.

11:26AM: Josh with some good tips on meeting with legislatures and staffers. Consider what other stakeholders think about your issue. Approaching legislatures with a stakeholder group is more effective than individual.

Tips for approaching legislatures. Your proposals should contain costs, create efficiencies and improve outcomes.

11:33AM: Some discontent being voiced by audience members on legislature budgetary actions. Crowd applause!

11:41AM: Lunch break

12:00PM: Legislators being introduced.

12:09PM: An address from House Speaker Andy Tobin.

1:00PM: Fred Hubbard now speaking on the Affordable Health Care Act and IHCIA. Starts off with a story about his father who will be turning 100 next week. 

1:07PM: Mr. Hubbard going through specific provisions in the Affordable Healthcare Act. Sec 409, 405(c), 301 and 1402(d). 

1:12PM: IHS, tribal and urban Indian health program sites are eligible for National Health Service Corp Loan Repayment. Good for growing the workforce in these sites. 

Mr. Hubbard citing some poor health statistics for Native American communities. Suggests low community engagement on public health's part as a result of poor outcomes and failed outreach. 

1:17PM:Mr. Hubbard--"healthcare today is a vicious circle...dollars wasted."  On poor patient follow up and healthcare inefficiency. 

1:20PM: IHS allocates about 50% less resources per individual than medicaid. Social justice?

1:30PM: Dr. Bob England up next. Director of Maricopa County Department of Health. Discussing innovations, vulnerabilities, and future of public health. "Public health is not healthcare..." Legislators will hear about healthcare issues--but public health is not an oft discussed topic. 

1:39PM: Given the size of Maricopa county, it receives a fraction of federal public health funding. AZ lagging behind the national average in gaining grants. Dr. England suggests it due to AZ struggle with demonstrating active public health initiatives and innovations on grant applications. 

1:49PM: Apparently it costs more to helmet all those heads than it would to treat head injuries? That's news...but I'll keep my helmet on. 

1:46PM: Dr. England pointing out other barriers to vaccinations beyond just opting out...basically paying for vaccinations is an issue despite the cost savings we could get. 

1:55PM: Dr. England makes a strong case for advocating policy over direct services on a limited budget for maximum impact. Given Maricopa County's limited public health budget--policy may be the best deal. Some even have zero costs--keeping school grounds open after hours so kids can play and be active!

Smoking is bad for me? Who knew?!

2:03PM: Next up is Matt Jewett, Director of Health Policy, Children's Action Alliance, discussing access to care for children.

2:11PM: 62% of bankruptcies are due to health related costs!

2:16PM: is a prototype for how a health insurance exchange can be very efficient. 

2:20PM: Next up, Tara Plese, Director of Gov and Media Relations, AZ Association of Community Health Centers. 

Tara Plese

2:33PM: - educating AHCCCS members about coverage and keeping them enrolled. Coverage is really another level of prevention. Website has a lot of educational and promotional materials to download!

2:44PM: Pete Wetheim, VP of Strategic Communications to talk about

2:46PM: Mr. Wetheim urges the group to help promote "Don't Get Dropped" campaign. Definitely need to spread the word until 2014. 

3:00PM: Next up, a panel presentation with Dave Cieslak, Co-founder/President of Scutari and Ceislak Public Relations, Jon Ford, Communications Director of St. Luke's Health Initiatives, and Trisha Hendricks, Report for 12 News, on "Community Voices in Mass Media." How to get the rural community stories into the media. 

3:16PM: Ms. Hendricks opens with an introduction and sneak peek at a rural health news story that will be released today!

3:25PM: Ms. Hendricks giving us a great overview of story types and timelines for on air media. One tip: talk off camera to build rapport, but definitely use a camera to tell stories. 

Trisha Hendricks

3:30PM: Images and video are poweful mediums to get your point across. Just telling a story falls shortin capturing attention. 

Just as important is getting people and persons attached to stories. Emotional appeal definitely stronger than statistics. 

3:34PM: When pitching stories to media it as soon as possible. 

3:41PM: Typical news stories should be held to 1 minute--definitely be sure to construct short and impactful stories.

Interviews are often cut in news story reports, so if there is something important you want to drive home--repeat it and repeat it. 

3:45PM: How do you do an interview or tell a news story? "Tell it like you would tell your mom." Keep it simple and add a personal tie in. What matters should be the sound byte.

3:48PM: "that will burn" :)

3:50PM: Jon Ford, talks about the need to repeat important points.

3:55PM: Dave Cieslak - "always say yes" when media reporters call you up and get to know your local reporters. 

3:56PM: Sin of interviewing:

  1. Breaking into Jail: Getting off topic and talking about the wrong issues. Make sure you stick to the same ideas and stick to the same points. Come into every interview with two ideas you want to get through. 
3:59PM: Get folks to talk about media and talk about constructing messages. Using a coalition model with stakeholders helps with building consistent messages.

4:01PM: Arlie's story: Example of getting a human story in front of the issue. 

4:08PM: Closing remarks from Neil...reminder about the challenges of challenging the status quo. 

4:15PM: And flowers for Rebecca!

Flowers for Rebecca

And that's a wrap!

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