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Experts to discuss health care reform at Brenau forum
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Health of Your Health: The
Impact of Health Reform
What: Brenau University’s College of Business and Mass Communication hosts a forum to address changes in health care and the impact on patients.
When: 6:30 tonight
Where: John W. Jacobs Jr. Business & Mass Communications Building, corner of Academy and Green streets, Gainesville
How much: Free

These days it's pretty hard to miss the politically charged debate going on about health care reform.

That's especially true now as the Supreme Court is slated to hear arguments on national health care legislation later this month and Republican presidential candidates make the repeal of the legislation a centerpiece of their campaigns.

However, tracking down reliable information on why this debate started is a little trickier.

Tonight, three health care professionals will try to offer a more restrained and informative analysis about the state of the health care industry - with its rising costs - and the expected changes coming down the pipe to address it.

Brenau University's College of Business & Mass Communication is hosting the health care forum that's free and open to the public on campus at 6:30 p.m.

The event aims to give attendees a better understanding on what's driving the call for reform, said Suzanne Erickson, associate dean of the College of Business.

Erickson said the current system is unsustainable as costs rise without necessarily creating better
patient outcomes.

"Health care is going to be delivered differently in the future," she said, and the forum could prepare the public on how those changes might affect them.

Three health care professionals, who also are Brenau MBA candidates, will give presentations on their areas of expertise. There will be perspectives from the insurance industry, hospital management and providers.

The program, titled "The Health of Your Health: The Impact of Health Reform," is an academic forum - not a debate on the politics of the health care system.

"I'm going to try not to get bogged down by what's the Democratic or Republican perspective," said Steve McNeilly, who'll offer a 15-minute crash course presentation on the state of the current system, what's driving up health care costs and what changes patients and businesses who provide insurance for employees can expect.

McNeilly is director of the Northeast Georgia Health Partners, a preferred provider organization, and is about two courses away from completing his MBA this spring.

Of course none of the panelists have a crystal ball to reveal how the Supreme Court will rule on the case and who will win the upcoming elections.

Still, whether government mandated or changes from within the industry, McNeilly said it's clear that the industry is changing in a way that will put the onus of reducing costs on health care providers.

Erickson said the forum's timing with the impending Supreme Court case wasn't intentional when the date was set in the fall.

"It's just fortuitous that it came up that way," she said.
The event is the first in a speaker series being put on by the College of Business aimed at engaging the public and business community.

McNeilly said it's an interesting time for the health care system since change is imminent, but "we're kind of in a weird state where we can talk about everything," said McNeilly, "but not about what's going to happen at the end of the day."

 

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