OU-HCOM Health Policy Day Promotes Civility

(February 22, 2016) Four state legislators discussed pending Ohio health care legislation and related policy issues with Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) student leaders and administrators as part of the college’s third annual Health Policy Day, February 15. 

Participants were members of the House Health and Aging Committee who had not yet visited OU-HCOM campus sites and/or have districts near the three campuses. They included Reps. Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township) and Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) in Cleveland, Rep. Heather Bishoff (D-Blacklick) in Columbus, and Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) on the Southeast Ohio Campus. After breakfast meetings, the student leaders joined nearly 400 other first and second year students on all three campuses to hear presentations by guest speakers originating from Athens and Columbus.

During the Cleveland breakfast, Dean Isaac Kirstein, DO, provided background about the college and its affiliation with the Cleveland Clinic. He noted that Ohio is facing a critical shortage in primary care physicians, and pointed out OU-HCOM has a track record of turning out primary care physicians who remain in Ohio. He said the partnership with the Cleveland Clinic gives students access to world-class medical facilities, physicians, scientists and clinical training opportunities.

Dean William J. Burke, DO, led discussions with Rep. Bishoff at the Dublin Campus. She talked about the legislative process, pending legislation and health policy issues in general. OOA Health Policy Chair Peter A. Bell, DO, and Wayne Carlsen, DO, led discussions with Rep. Debbie Phillips in Athens.

Nancy Cooper, OU-HCOM health policy coordinator, gave students a refresher course on health policy basics. She was followed by Ted Celeste, former state representative and founder of Next Generation, a project of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. Celeste is working with  legislatures in several states to create a more respectful and bipartisan working atmosphere. He explained the process he is using to bring elected officials together and urged students to use similar tactics as voters.

Andy Wapner, DO, director of the Ohio State University Center for Public Health Practice, discussed payment reform being implemented by Ohio Gov. John Kasich's administration. He explained  population health and how electronic medical records can be used as a tool to help physicians have quality outcomes and impact their communities. 

During the afternoon, guests from state agencies, physician associations and other health care organizations facilitated small group discussions centered on children at risk, maternal health, behavioral health, Medicaid expansion, Medicare and end of life, and pain management and addiction. Read the Health Policy Discussion Briefs.

In addition to OU-HCOM faculty, guest facilitators included: OOA President-Elect Geraldine N. Urse, DO; Elizabeth Lottes, DO; Cleanne Cass, DO; Ted Wymyslo, MD, CMO of the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers; Bobbie Celeste, PhD, government relations director of the Ohio Psychologists Association; Janet Shaw, executive director of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association; Susan Ackerman, executive director of the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee of the Ohio General Assembly; Ann Spicer, executive director of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians; Elayne Biddlestone, executive director of the Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northern Ohio (AMCNO); AMCNO President-Elect Robert Hobbs, MD, and John Corlett, president and executive director of the Center for Community Solutions.

Members of the planning committee included Peter A. Bell, DO; OU-HCOM Health Policy Professor Dan Skinner, PhD; OU-HCOM Curriculum Coordinator Laura Mitchell, and OOA Executive Director Jon Wills.

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