Annual health-policy forum Oct. 11 in Lexington will focus on health-care workforce shortage; discount hotel rate expires Mon.

A strong and robust health-care workforce is fundamental to ensuring access to high-quality care, but  many areas of Kentucky have a shortage of this vital resource. Kentucky’s health-care workforce shortage will be the focus of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky‘s 2023 Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum, to be held at the Griffin Gate Marriott in Lexington from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 11. Doors will open at 8:15.

The forum will highlight factors contributing to the health-workforce shortage and explore potential solutions. Presenters and panelists will discuss ways to better support health-care providers, optimize use of resources and explore ways to sustain the current workers.

The forum is free of charge. Register here. Hotel rooms are available at a discounted rate through Monday, Sept. 18, for the night before and after for those who are interested. Book here.

The forum will open with the presentation of the Gil Friedell Award, the annual winner of which is selected from among the foundation’s Healthy Kentucky Champion honorees.

The morning sessions will include a presentation from Kevin McAvey, director of Manatt Health Strategies, on “How States Are Investing in their Systems of Health to Meet the Needs of a Data-Driven Future.”

This will be followed by TED-talk-style presentation by Dr. Stephen Houghland, chief medical officer of the Kentucky Primary Care Association and Tiffany Taul Scruggs, patient-service outreach manager for Sterling Health and a certified community health worker.

The keynote address, “How Do You Fix an Irretrievably Broken Health-Care System,” will be given by state Sen. Stephen Meredith, a Republican from Leitchfield.
Meredith spent decades as a leader in health-care administration before being elected to the Senate in 2016. When he retired from Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center, the hospital was one of the four financially strongest hospitals with under 100 beds in Kentucky. He was also CEO of the Grayson County Hospital Foundation, which employed most of the local medical practitioners and managed their practices.
Meredith is chair of the Senate’s Health Services Committee, co-chair of the Government Contract Review Committee, and a member of other committees, including the recently formed Family and Children Committee.

Afternoon segments will offer choices of panel sessions.

“Finding Funding and Preparing the Pipeline” will address how rural health providers can pursue state funding to address the workforce shortage. It will also address how the next generation of providers is being strengthened. The panelists for this session are from area health education centers: David Gross, director of the northeast center; Michael Gayheart, the southeast director; Catherine Malin, south-central director; and Missy Stokes of Purchase AHEC.

The segment’s other session is “Streamlining the Process,” about licensing, accreditation and certification. This panel will focus on the importance of data sharing and making credentialing more manageable.

Panelists include Emily Beauregard, executive director of Kentucky Voices for Health; Rosmond Dolen, associate vice president for payer relations and health policy finance at the Kentucky Hospital Association; and Jeffrey Talbert, professor at the University of Kentucky and division chief of biomedical informatics in its College of Medicine. The moderator will be Angela Carman, associate professor in the Health, Behavior & Society Department of the UK College of Public Health.

The afternoon’s second segment also offers two options.

“Closing the Gaps: Meeting the Needs of the Underserved,” will discuss policies and programs to get providers to work where they are needed most.

Panelists will be Matt Coleman, director of the Kentucky Office of Rural Health; Frances Feltner, director of the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health; state Rep. Ken Fleming, R-Louisville; Dr. Donald Neel of Louisville, a leading pediatrician; and Pam Sparks Stein, dean of the dental college being created at the University of Pikeville. The moderator for this session will be Dr. Laura Hancock Jones, a Morganfield dentist.

“Helping Providers Survive and Thrive” will focus on how workplace and community support can help beat the burnout for the healthcare workforce.

Panelists will be Charles Aull, executive director of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Center for Policy & Research; Delanor Manson, CEO of the Kentucky Nurses Association; and Eric Russ,  executive director of the Kentucky Psychological Association. The moderator will be Tim Marcum, associate vice president of planning at Baptist Health.

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