Health Care Forum Takes Place Tomorrow
BY KEVIN SMITH
Special to The Pilot
The Congregational Church of Pinehurst UCC, as part of its Mission for Peace and Justice, will present a round table on Health Care Reform on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. Discussions will focus on the current status of the health-care reform effort, the pros and cons of the bills that have been put before Congress and on how our faith might inform and empower us as we consider this issue.
Dr. Lori Heim will keynote the event. > In her capacity as president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Heim leads some 94,000 practicing physicians and medical students who advocate for and who seek to emphasize the critical need for general practitioners to improve the quality of health care in this country. > A practicing family physician for 20 years, she currently serves as hospitalist for Scotland Memorial Hospital in Laurinburg, where she manages the inpatient care of adult patients referred by primary care physicians in the community.
The round table will feature a distinguished panel comprised of Dr. Teresa Sue Bratton, Kenneth J. Lewis and Mark Wethington. >
Dr. Teresa Sue Bratton served as a pediatric allergist in the Piedmont region of the state for more than 25 years. Since her retirement in 2006, she has continued to help at local allergy/asthma clinics for indigent children. It was Bratton's concern for health care, and in particular children's health care, that moved her to run for North Carolina's 6th Congressional District in 2008. > Bratton is a distinguished member of numerous medical and professional associations. >She also continues to train doctors for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina.
Kenneth J. Lewis is president of FirstCarolinaCare Insurance Company Inc., a nonprofit health plan wholly owned by FirstHealth of the Carolinas. > This health plan is the only provider-sponsored one in North Carolina. As president, Lewis manages FirstCarolinaCare's business activities in carrying out the organization's mission of reducing the growth of premiums to the businesses it serves, improving the health status of its membership and, ultimately, reducing the number of uninsured in its service area. > In addition, Lewis is a member of the American Academy of Medical Administrators and president of the North Carolina Association of Health Plans. He serves on the board of directors of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce and as vice chair of the Moore County Chamber Legislative Affairs Committee, and is a member of the North Carolina Prevention Partners Board of Directors.
Mark Wethington, Ph.D., is interim executive director of the Moore Free Care Clinic, which cares for the medical needs of low income and uninsured citizens in Moore County. Wethington, an ordained minister, received both a M.Div. >and Ph.D. from Duke University. He has served 27 years as a United Methodist pastor in North Carolina, including six years at Durham Memorial and eight years at Southern Pines Methodist Church. While currently interim director at the clinic, his primary >position is as president of the Wesley Heritage Foundation, a 22-year-old nonprofit that is involved in assisting with theological education development and compassion ministries in Latin America. > For the past 15 years, Wethington has been an adjunct faculty member at Duke University. >
The event will begin with a health-care reform status update from Heim followed by a panel discussion about relative merits of proposed options and ending with questions from the audience. > Congregational Church Pastor Brent Bissette will moderate. > All members of the public, and in particular the faith-based community, are invited.
Congregational Church of Pinehurst UCC is located at 895 Linden Road, across from Elliott's restaurant. For more information, call (910) 295-2243.
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