BLAZING NEW TRAILS
16th Annual Symposium Keynote Speakers
Offer Encouraging Messages on ACA
View the Speakers Presentations
David Reynolds, DrPh, held his audience captive with his engaging—and optimistic—take on health care reform. As one of the architects of Vermont’s single-payer health care system, Dr. Reynolds has been a major player for more than 35 years in the quest for better access and lower cost health care systems. He titled his talk “Vermont Health Reform: Lessons Learned for Other States“ but, as he wryly noted, it probably should be “lessons we are still learning.” He stressed that coverage alone does not equal access to health care. A surprise note: Dr. Reynolds is semi-retiring and will be leaving state government on Nov. 15; however,he has every intention of continuing to advocate for health care as a “public good, publically financed.”
For Federal Day, preceding the Symposium, keynote speaker Raymond “Ray” Hurd, Regional Administrator for the Boston and New York Regional Offices (Regions I & II) reviewed the health insurance marketplace in New England. Hurd noted the positive direction in recent years for the Region 1 agencies to work more cooperatively and to share information. Fortunately, the Federal government “reopened” in time for the contingent of federal speakers to be present at the conference!
- Hurd was joined by a federal panel presenting examples of collaboration: Kathryn Power, Regional Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) forcefully noted that “behavioral health services have to be at the table” in health care reform.
- Dr. Eric Shirley, VISN 1 (Veterans Integrated Service Network), spoke on the collaboration of the VA with ACA. There are 250,000 patients in the six NE states and 46 Community-Based Outpatient Clinics. “When you enroll in the VA, that makes you enrolled in ACA.”
- For our region’s elderly rural patients, Jennifer Throwe, Administration on Aging, offered ways in which her agency is helping with transportation, nutrition, prevention of elder abuse, and supporting new models of community care, a timely message given the demographic makeup of our NE states with their aging populations.
- Awards are always a highlight of the Symposium. This year three individuals were honored:
- Carol Causton, RN, Open Door Free Clinic, Middlebury, VT, received the Volunteer Award for her outreach to Addison County’s migrant agricultural workers. The Outreach Program provides health, vision, and dental screenings, and vaccination clinics for this under-served population. As a Spanish-speaking nurse Carol has been at the heart of these initiatives since the program's inception in 2009. She helped provide over 200 vaccines to farm workers in 2012 alone. She is also president of the Open Door Clinic’s Board of Directors.
- Steven W. Powell, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, New London Hospital, New London, NH, received The Rural Health Clinician Award. He was nominated by his colleague Dr. Adnan Khan, who wrote: “Dr. Powell is unique in that he spans six disciplines by himself (Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Preventive Medicine, Psychiatry, EMS, and Administration), all of which result in a unique, once in a lifetime individual, who provides incredible benefit to the rural healthcare environment.”
- Dr. Jeffrey Dodge, DMD, won the Leadership Award for his role in meeting the oral health needs of Rhode Islanders. Dr. Dodge has been at the forefront of providing care to rural Rhode Islanders through his activities as chair of the Department of Health Oral Health Committee and co-chair of the Mission of Mercy project, a two-day event that helps bring free dental care to some of the thousands of Rhode Islanders who have no dental insurance or cannot afford dental services. A past president of the Rhode Island Dental Association, Dr. Dodge’s efforts ensured that the critical issue of access to oral health care was brought front and center to the public and policy makers.
8th Annual New England Rural Oral Health Conference Hits a Nerve
This year’s conference on September 10 in Westford, MA brought together more than 120 participants, eager to hear about the impact on rural oral health in today’s changing health care climate. As Dr. Bob Russell said in his challenging keynote speech, we can’t continue to go along as we’ve always done. “Dental must become part of the national health transformation and action plan….and must be included in ALL aspects of the Affordable Care Act.” Dr. Russell heads the highly successful Iowa I-Smile program.
Read more of Dr. Russell’s challenge and see all conference presentations.