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Wakulla Health Care Task Force Minutes
March 20, 2007

Members Present:  Lynn Artz, Regina Compton, Howard Kessler, Rob Moss, Annette Phelps, Cathy Price, Nell Rozar, Mary Westbrook, Kris Whitten

I.    Welcome & Introductions

II.    Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the Feb 20th meeting were reviewed and approved.

III.    Visitor’s Brochure

The group reviewed the second draft of a brochure intended for visitors who need medical services while in Wakulla County.  The goal is to make this brochure available through local hotels and visitor destinations.

IV.    Responses to Emailed Questions

The group reviewed the responses received from numerous members to 2 questions that had been circulated via email.

“What would most help to improve care for the medically indigent in Wakulla County?”

Of the suggestions offered, there was greatest interest in increasing employer-sponsored health insurance coverage and “a volunteer clinic.”

Rob Moss mentioned that Capital Health Plan (CHP) is offering small businesses a 2-year reduction in premiums if they enroll their employees in CHP.  Annette mentioned that many years ago she knew of a Chamber of Commerce in another state that was able to offer group health insurance for the employees of member businesses.  Lynn Artz recalled a conversation she had with Ross Tucker (who sells group and individual health insurance) when the Task Force first formed.  Tucker had said that small businesses in Franklin County thought they could band together to purchase group insurance at lower cost – and found out they couldn’t do it.

Wal-Mart was identified as one large local employer who may not be providing any or adequate health insurance coverage (though it’s unclear how much autonomy local stores have with respect to health insurance offerings for their employees).

Kris Whitten said she was willing to work at a volunteer clinic.  Mention was made of a similar clinic offered in Tallahassee.  Kris Whitten agreed to further explore this possibility with help from Mary Westbrook.  Annette Phelps and Howard Kessler promised to provide them with helpful information.

Lynn Artz volunteered to pursue the health insurance issue.  Pat Ashley said she was willing to accompany Lynn to a meeting with the manager of Wal-Mart.

“Should the Task Force focus on medical care issues -- or also address broader health issues (e.g., tobacco)?”

There was general agreement that the group should maintain a broad focus and not focus exclusively on medical care.  However, given greater immediate interest in the preceding topics – and a shortage of personnel, the group agreed to back burner their tobacco reduction efforts for now.

V.    Update on Congressional District Healthcare Committee

Group members had requested information about Congressman Boyd’s District Healthcare Committee and its priorities.  Lynn Artz read the list of proposals recently submitted to the District Healthcare Committee by 14 other counties for possible earmark funding.  Almost all were “bricks and mortar” projects focused on medical care services.

Commissioner Brimner has indicated to Lynn Artz that he may be interested in stepping down as the BOCC’s representative to the District Committee.  Commissioner Kessler attended tonight’s meeting to learn more about the group and to consider filling Commissioner Brimner’s position on the District Committee.

VI.    Future of Health Care Task Force & Summer Meetings

The future of the Health Care Task Force was discussed.  It has been difficult to recruit a full slate of officers, let alone future officers.  Attempts to establish working committees have not been fruitful.  There has been little support from the County Commission.  We’ve had good participation from many of the county’s service providers, however, variable attendance makes it difficult to sustain momentum – or even consensus on decisions – from meeting to meeting.

Rob Moss said he felt that while the group had accomplished much, it was unrealistic to expect continued achievement without more support.  Discussion ensued as to the various ways this support might be garnered.

Cathy Price will be going on extended family medical leave.  Lynn Artz indicated that she would prefer not to meet during the summer.  It was agreed that the Task Force would meet in April and May, then take a break until September. Regina Compton agreed to serve as Secretary for the April and May meetings in Cathy’s absence.

VII.    Provider Updates

VIII.    Adjournment

These minutes originally published on April 17, 2007.

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