Islanders invited to forum to learn about Affordable Care Act

A community forum on The Affordable Care Act, health care reform signed by Pres. Obama in 2010, will meet next week and include a panel with expertise in a variety of health issues.

This gathering, hosted by the Vashon Social Services Network (VSSN), is intended to be informative for families, individuals and businesses, according to Ava Apple the director at Vashon Senior Center, a member of VSSN and one of the organizers of the event. It is the fourth annual forum the group has held since forming in 2009.

The topic seemed an important one, Apple said, and she and other organizers expect the event to be well attended.

"The Affordable Care Act affects all of us. "I expect a large crowd, she said. "This is a fundamental change that is going to come." She noted that the gathering will not be political, but will focus on what the act means for Islanders.

The format of the gathering had not been set at press time, but Apple said she expected that the heart of the evening would be given over to questions and answers, many of which have already been compiled by organizers.

Audience members will be able to ask questions as well. Panelists will include the following:

Rick Skillman: Skillman is an Islander and former CEO of several hospitals and medical groups. He is also one of the founders of the Vashon Health Care Council, a group that formed in 2011 with the goal of learning about Vashon’s unmet health care needs and taking steps to meet them. His area of expertise, he said, is in how the law will affect Islanders as well as how it will affect hospitals and doctors.

Terry Cumpton: Cumpton is the Regional Rural Health Coordinator in the regional office of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, based in Seattle. She will be able to talk about the act's effect on Medicare benefits and to some extent, the new Health Insurance Marketplaces coming in 2014 where people will be able purchase insurance.

David Loud: Loud works as community liaison for U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott in the congressman's district office on health care issues and works closely with the legislative staff in McDermott's Washington, D.C., office.

Amber Lewis: Lewis is the Director of Government Relations for Providence Health & Services and works with the state legislature and various state entities that are implementing the laws and innovations contained within the Affordable Care Act. Most of her time is spent in Olympia working on health care matters.


The forum will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in McMurray Middle School's multipurpose room.


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