On Jan. 10 and 11, Local 1991 members Vilma Bates, R.N. (Labor and Delivery), Marlene Bachrach, ARNP (Emergency Department and Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center) and Kathleen McGrath, R.N. (MICU) along with Political Coordinator Matthew Land, participated in the Florida Healthcare Affordability Summit that was put on by the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) in Orlando.
The summit – touted by AIF President Tom Feeney as the first of its kind in the country – brought together some of the biggest players in the world of healthcare, including the top healthcare legislators in the state. More than 350 attendees from a wide range of healthcare interests in Florida came together to engage in discussions on how keep Florida healthy, while ensuring that healthcare is affordable to its residents.
Members from both the House of Representatives and the Senate moderated discussions with a wide range of panelists from the healthcare industry, from health insurers, hospital executives and health care providers, to some of Florida’s biggest employers. The summit provided the front line healthcare professionals of Local 1991 a unique opportunity to insert themselves into conversations with key stakeholders of an industry that came together to discuss how the healthcare industry of Florida can provide greater access to quality care for patients all while remaining affordable.
Local 1991 members listened to panelists discussing such important issues such as the state of Florida’s healthcare system today, how to provide care and coverage to all Floridians, innovation and technology initiatives, increasing accountability through working to get rid of fraud and waste in the healthcare system, increasing access, choice and competition in the state and many others.
While the panelists ranged from industry professionals, business leaders and healthcare providers, what was missing from the equation was perspective from front line healthcare providers such as the nurses, doctors and healthcare professionals at Jackson Health System. The members that participated in the summit are committed to taking back to their own units and fellow healthcare workers at Jackson some of the ideas and topics that were discussed at the summit, and working to gather valuable feedback.
Another great opportunity our members had was being able to engage in conversations with these industry experts and attendees of the summit throughout the two-day conference. Valuable conversations were had as we provided a perspective to them that was not well represented at the summit. Coming out of the summit will likely be proposed legislation dealing with many issues such as allowing healthcare professionals to practice to the full extent of their scope of practice, ways to manage fraud and abuse in the system and innovative efficiencies with technology such as TeleMedicine and utilizing smartphones.
We look forward to continued discussion with these stakeholders to ensure that the voices of the healthcare providers on the ground are heard and taken into account as legislation moves forward.