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Hospice seeks health-care views for Obama

December 29, 2008|By CHRIS COPLEY

Ever had a problem with health insurance?

Do you think the United States should have a national health-care system?

How do you find a good, local doctor?

The incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama is soliciting input on these and other issues as it considers how to improve health-care delivery in the United States. To get comments from citizens, Obama's transition team has asked health-related agencies to host public meetings across the nation.

Hospice of Washington County scheduled two such meetings on Tuesday, Dec. 30, at Hospice's offices at 747 Northern Avenue in Hagerstown. Marie Thompson, nursing services director at Hospice of Washington County will moderate a session at 2 p.m. Dr. Cynthia Kuttner-Sands, a local physician and associate medical director at Hospice of Washington County, will lead a session at 7 p.m.

Shelley Steiner, director of marketing and community relations for Hospice, said the format of both discussions will involve small group discussions led by facilitators.

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The Obama transition team is looking for input on various health care topics, such as costs, health insurance, preventative care and other aspects of health care, Steiner said. The public is invited to come with questions, concerns and personal stories of good or bad care.

"We all participate in the national health care system as it is. Here's an opportunity to have some input," Steiner said.

Hospice is serving as a host, Steiner said, to give members of the local community an opportunity to contribute ideas and solutions as new policies and plans are developed for the health-care system. People of all ages, all walks of life, and all viewpoints are encouraged to attend, she said.

Although Hospice is hosting the meetings, Steiner said the discussion will not be limited to Hospice-related issues.

"There's a strict guide we were sent by the transition team," she said. "We'll all get together and take a short survey of three questions. We're going to get into groups of 20 to 30 people, so everyone has a chance to talk. We'll be asked a series of questions sent by the transition team."

Steiner said the meetings will take about an hour and a half. She said there would be opportunity for all participants to give their viewpoints. Comments from the meetings will be forwarded to the transition team the day after the meetings.

For more information on the discussions, call Hospice of Washington County at 301-791-6360.

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