Wellmont Health System, Appalachian School Of Law
 Teaming To Hold Forum On Healthcare Reform Law

Some of the brightest minds in health care, the law and insurance will empower the public with a thoughtful discussion about federal healthcare reform Monday, April 9, at Bristol Regional Medical Center.

Wellmont Health System and the Appalachian School of Law will sponsor an educational forum on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The event will take place two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on the law, which was enacted in 2010, and as the nation’s highest court contemplates a ruling.

 “As a regional state and national leader in high-quality patient care, Bristol Regional is honored to host such a high-caliber examination of the law and its effect on the delivery of health care and the communities we serve,” said Bart Hove, the hospital’s president. “This event represents an excellent opportunity for people to become more informed about the law so they can express their views and help shape the future of health care in this country.”

The forum will be held in Bristol Regional’s Monarch Auditorium from 6-7:30 p.m., with questions and answers to follow. It will feature presentations about the law from seven highly respected panelists.

Panelists will be:

  • Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general
  • Stephen McCullough, Virginia Court of Appeals judge
  • Denny DeNarvaez, Wellmont’s president and CEO
  • Dr. Jerry Blackwell, president of the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute
  • Diane Boyle, vice president of federal government relations, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors
  • Stewart Harris, constitutional law professor, Appalachian School of Law
  • Doug McKechnie, constitutional law professor, Appalachian School of Law

David Bailey, host of “This Week in Richmond,” a public affairs program about state issues on Blue Ridge PBS, will serve as the forum’s moderator. He said the audience will hear varied perspectives on the healthcare reform law during the forum.

“The new healthcare statute is one of the most significant pieces of federal legislation in years,” Bailey said. “The legal challenges are serious, and a closely divided Supreme Court could rule either way on the statute’s constitutionality.

“The court’s ultimate decision will likely have a wide-ranging impact on the delivery and cost of health care in the United States for decades to come.”

Wes Shinn, the law school’s dean, said the school welcomes the chance to participate in this forum.

“The Appalachian School of Law is proud to continue a tradition of partnering with regional institutions on matters of legal significance,” Shinn said. “We look forward to facilitating a civil debate on healthcare reform and its far-reaching implications, legal and otherwise.”

Hove said Wellmont has been proactive and prudent in meeting provisions of the reform law. He said the health system’s leaders have rigorously reviewed the law and responded appropriately to ensure patients continue to receive superior care with compassion. This expertise has enabled Wellmont to enhance its leadership in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

Continuing the partnership between Wellmont and the law school, Bristol Regional will broadcast the forum to the Grundy campus for those students who cannot attend in person. Other organizations who might be interested in having the event transmitted can contact Ron Carrier at Bristol Regional at (423) 844-3945. The hospital will also stream the event on UStream.tv.

Anyone who wants to discuss this forum and healthcare reform overall can join the conversation on Twitter at #ACAtalk or by following @wellmonthealth.

For those who attend the forum, a reception with refreshments will be held afterward in the Bristol Regional Medical Center Conference Center.

Application for continuing medical education credit has been filed with the American Academy of Family Physicians. Determination of credit is pending. Application for continuing legal education course approval has been filed with the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board of the Virginia State Bar. Determination of that credit is also pending.