Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Tue, Oct. 15

Locals to attend town hall on health

KINGMAN - Norene Kurtze has Mohave County Manager Ron Walker to thank for nominating her to attend the 90th Arizona Town Hall that begins Sunday at the Prescott Resort.

"I chose to attend because I've worked in the health care industry 20 years," Kurtze said. "There are some very complex issues on the agenda and I'm looking forward to working with a broad spectrum of people with a vision of finding solutions to rising health care costs."

Kurtze is vice president of Erin P. Collins & Associates, an employee benefits firm with offices in Kingman, Prescott and Phoenix.

Arizona Town Hall is held twice annually and brings together about 150 prominent Arizona residents for discussion on topics of major concern to the state's future. The non-profit civic organization has no lawmaking power but compiles a consensus report at the end of each session that is disseminated to all state legislators, other elected officials, public libraries and to the public.

Patty Mead is director of the Mohave County Department of Public Health.

"I'm honored to be selected," Mead said. "This will be my second Arizona Town Hall on health issues and they're timely and important. I look forward to the networking and interaction you get with people from all over Arizona on such an important topic."

This session of Arizona Town Hall deals with "Health Care in Arizona: Accessibility, Affordability and Accountability." It begins Sunday night with orientation and a videotaped message from Gov. Janet Napolitano containing her thoughts and ideas on health care.

All-day sessions with programs and panel discussions are planned Monday and Tuesday, and a final session of discussion Wednesday morning wraps up Arizona Town Hall.

Presenters scheduled to appear include: Emily Friedman, health policy and ethics analyst from Chicago; Dan Crippen, economist, health policy expert and former director of the Congressional Budget Office in Washington, D.C.; Shirley Agnos, president emeritus of Arizona Town Hall speaking about "Traditions and Track record"; and Tara Jackson, president of Arizona Town Hall speaking on "How It Happens and How It Makes Things Happen."

"Key issues to be addressed are underlying cost drivers that includes federal government involvement in health care, health care litigation issues (i.e. the rising price of malpractice insurance) driving defensive medicine where doctors order every test in the world to reduce the litigation potential, and monopolistic health care markets in which you have a single hospital in a given area and no competition to drive down rates at that hospital," Kurtze said.

She said she hopes the group can reach a consensus on priorities to improve health care in the state as related to accessibility, affordability and accountability.

"It's a pretty lofty goal for four days," Kurtze said.

"But we'll have some influential people who I think can make a difference."

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