On August 28th, Urban League of Greater Atlanta and Morehouse School of Medicine – Community Voices sponsored a roundtable luncheon for elected officials and members of democratic and republican parties. This forum including a discussion of the role of medical education and the need to create a culturally competent and accessible health care workforce, an overview of the affordable care act, discussions of the ACA and new benefits which will be made available to Georgians, the health care navigation process and the impact of not expanding Medicaid on low income residents and safety-net hospitals. This forum sought to achieve three key goals for this event were to
1) Discuss the challenges and opportunities involved with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Georgia
2) Identify community challenges related to healthcare navigation
3) Discuss policy opportunities for improving access to care. Representatives from US Department of Health and Human Services, Georgians for a Healthy Future, and Georgia Watch served as panel members for this event.
The format was the same as previous events; however, we wanted to get the elected officials and political organizations’ buy-in on ACA. Key participants included:
State Representative Mable Thomas – Georgia House of Representatives, State Representative Pat Gardner – Georgia House of Representatives, Monique Eppinger, Assistant to Fulton County Commissioner Joan P. Garner, Sara Henderson, Georgia House Democratic Caucus, Leticia Jones, Legislative Aide, House of Representatives, Dawn Mabra, Democratic Party Chairperson – Fayette County, Melissa Pike, Democratic Party Chairperson – Cobb County, Erica Pines, Democratic Party Chairperson – Atlanta/Fulton County, Ashley Robinson, Chief of Staff –Georgia House Democratic Caucus, Leo Smith, Republican Party Member; as well as medical professionals, hospital leaders, health policy fellows, community based organization leaders, students and academic professionals. Speakers for this event included: Dr. Kisha Holden- Deputy Director, Satcher Health Leadership Institute; Daniel Dawes, JD- Governmental Relations Coordinator, Morehouse School of Medicine; Starla Hairston-Blanks, MBA – Director, Health Promotion and Policy, Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved; Nancy Flake-Johnson – President, Urban League of Greater Atlanta; Helen Butler – Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda; April Washington, MPA – Public Affairs Specialist, The US. Department of Health & Human Services; Amanda Ptashkin, JD -Outreach & Advocacy Director, Georgians for a Healthy Future; and Bill Rencher, JD, MPH – Director of Health Access, Georgia Watch.