From Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink, MD, FACEP

Welcome to the second State of Alaska Chief Medical Officer (CMO) newsletter! Our goal with this newsletter is to provide Alaska’s health care providers with clinically-relevant and concise news from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). If you’re a provider, we encourage you to subscribe via this link and share this publication with other providers you know.

State of Reform Highlights

The Alaska State of Reform Health Policy Conference was held last week in Anchorage. State of Reform travels around the country, providing states with forums in which health care providers and policy experts can examine ideas, discuss what’s has gone well and what has not, and look ahead to the coming year and legislative session.

I would describe the overall tone of this year’s conference as optimistic and realistic. We have much work ahead of us – one speaker compared health care reform to a never-ending marathon – but we’re united in wanting efficient health systems that result in better health outcomes for Alaskans. Participants agreed that serious reform is needed, and although our current fiscal situation creates unique challenges, consensus is beginning to coalesce around the direction we need to go. Fortunately, Alaska has many strengths, including our health care providers, our Tribal health care system, our tight-knit communities, recent successes with the 1115 Medicaid Behavioral Health Waiver, and much more.

I want to especially thank all the health care providers who took time out of their busy week to attend the conference and lead panel discussions. I think there were more providers this year than ever before!

Our commissioner, Adam Crum, shared recent successes, lessons learned from the past year, and our future vision. He was followed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who shared a national perspective on health care reform. The key takeaway was that partnerships are key to successful reform. Thank you for continuing to partner with the state on these important discussions.

CMO Office Hours and Medicaid Meetings

I’ve started holding office hours at health care facilities around Alaska so I can hear concerns directly from the health care community. The next one of these will be Monday, Oct. 21, from 5-6 p.m. atProvidence Alaska Medical Center.

In these meetings and other forums, I’ve heard many of you ask how physicians can have their voices heard on Medicaid issues. DHSS invites interested providers to participate in upcoming meetings to discuss Medicaid.If you are interested in finding out more, please contact the Administrative Assistant Abi Baines, (907) 465-8229, abagale.baines@alaska.gov.

Another way you can get involved in Medicaid discussions is to participate on the Medical Care Advisory Committee (MCAC). This is a public advisory group charged with advising the State of Alaska on Medicaid policy and program changes. MCAC members meet quarterly via teleconference or face–to–face. If you are interested in attending these meetings or receiving an e-mail alert regarding upcoming MCAC meetings, please sign-up at mcac.hss@alaska.gov

This newsletter is a work in progress. We look forward to your feedback and collaboration. Please feel free to contact me, anne.zink@alaska.gov, or Abi Baines, (907) 465-8229, abagale.baines@alaska.gov, with any feedback, comments, or questions you may have.

Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

Anne Zink, MD, FACEP | Chief Medical Officer
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
3601 C Street, Suite 756 | Anchorage, AK 99503

 

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