Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

April 16, 2012

Town hall meeting set to discuss affordable health care

Bart Doan

AVON — One of the most hotly debated national topics for the past four years will get a local feel as a town hall meeting is held for anyone and everyone to learn about and discuss potential issues related to affordable health care.

The dialogue will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 18 at the Avon-Washington Township Public Library, 468 S.R. 267, Avon.

Michael McDonald of the Minority Health Task Force was instrumental in creating the agenda, which stemmed from the recent Hendricks County Health Assessment that listed “affordable health care” as a chief issue facing county residents.

“The meeting is going to focus on the concept of health care, affordable options, who normally slips through the cracks, and maybe from the panelists get some answers to some of the challenges people are facing,” he said.

McDonald pointed out that the MHTF does not just include the traditionally thought of minorities. The group also works for the benefit of those in lower income brackets, often the people who struggle the most by accelerated health care costs.

“Cost of living has increased by 50 percent, he said. “People are living longer, and older people have a nest egg saved up for X amount of years and now their challenges have increased. We just want to have a community based dialogue about health care, its state, and how to make it affordable, along with the concept that people are using the emergency department as their primary care physician.”

Representatives from Hendricks Regional Health, Indiana University Health West, the Hendricks County Board of Health, and the Kingsway Community Care Center will be among the panelists to discuss the multitude of issues that relate to health care in today’s world.

Jennifer Hill from the Health Department will also give a presentation about why this has become such an issue, as the community health assessment showed.

“All demographics are effected by this,” Hill said. “We wanted to address this issue for the county so whenever we came up with the agenda, we wanted to not only have hospital reps but others who could provide feedback and answers to people that come. The public has said this is a priority in Hendricks County.

“One of the things these panelists will touch on are charity services that people aren’t aware of a lot of times, that they can get if they fit into a certain income bracket. They’re eligible possibly for lower cost medical care and payment plans and the health care reps can touch on why exactly affordable medical care is such an issue in the community.”

Hill also noted that there is an insufficient number of private practitioners in the county, causing residents to either seek out a doctor outside the county.

“Hendricks County does not have as many providers to offer services to Medicare patients,” Hill said. “How can that improve, or how can we find doctors in the community that take Medicare?”

For more information on this event, contact the Minority Health Task Force of Hendricks County by e-mailing to minorityhendricks@gmail.com or by calling 451-6041.