National and state leaders representing an array of sectors across Florida, including Donna E. Shalala, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and current president of the University of Miami, and Richard J. Umbdenstock, president and chief executive officer of the American Hospital Association (AHA), came together today to discuss steps they can take to push for comprehensive health reform at the national and state level.
Hosted by the AHA, the Florida Hospital Association, the South Florida Hospital & Healthcare Association, UHealth – University of Miami Health System, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Jackson Health System, the community forum highlighted successful steps that have been taken in Florida to lower health care costs, and improve quality of care, as well as the challenges that remain in efforts to provide access to health care for the uninsured.
At the top of the agenda were discussions about the growing number of uninsured and underinsured Americans and the skyrocketing health care costs amidst an economic downturn. A recent survey by the Commonwealth Fund found that eight in 10 respondents agreed that the health system needs either fundamental change or complete rebuilding. With public support for health reform at an all-time high and with health care a top issue in the presidential campaign debate, forum participants sought to build consensus around potential solutions.
With the uninsured rate in Florida hovering around 21 percent, and 29 percent in Miami-Dade County alone, state leaders discussed the challenges ahead, but also reaffirmed their commitment to working toward comprehensive health reform.
Donna E. Shalala, President, University of Miami
Richard J. Umbdenstock, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Hospital Association
Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Chief Executive Officer, UHealth – University of Miami Health System
Pedro José "Joe" Greer, Jr., M.D., Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, Florida International University
Ken Hetlage, Board Chair, South Florida Hospital & Healthcare Association; Administrator, Memorial Hospital West
David Lawrence, Jr., Board Chair, The Children’s Trust; Former Publisher, The Miami Herald (Moderator)
Marvin O’Quinn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jackson Health System
Carolina Rendeiro, President and Chief Executive Officer, Business Centers International
Julieta Romano, Community Liaison, Human Services Coalition
Bruce Rueben, President, Florida Hospital Association
Mark Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Florida Chamber of Commerce
AHA News Now, "Fifth 'Health for Life' forum convenes in Miami," October 22, 2008
Miami Herald, "Panel shares healthcare goals at University of Miami forum," October 22, 2008, John Dorschner