Patients Losing Patience: An Anne Arundel County Healthcare Forum

Everyone Invited to Attend August 14 Forum to Learn about Local Healthcare Policy

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AAMC and CareFirst Are Using Our Healthcare as Bargaining Chips.

On Monday, August 14, from 7 to 9pm, the Anne Arundel Indivisible Healthcare Coalition will host Patients Losing Patience. The forum will be held at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center, 1101 Smithville Drive, Annapolis. All citizens are invited to attend to learn about critical local and national healthcare issues, as well as to ask questions and voice their opinions.

On July 14, Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC), the county’s largest healthcare provider, sent a letter notifying the health insurance provider CareFirst of its intent to terminate their contract on September 30, 2017. CareFirst is the largest provider of health insurance in Anne Arundel County. Some 30,000 county employees and their dependents rely on CareFirst for health insurance and on AAMC for their healthcare. In addition, thousands of other county residents, including many federal employees, depend on the two organizations. If a deal isn’t reached, everyone with CareFirst insurance will have to pay higher out-of-pocket medical expenses for all AAMC services, which they may not be able to afford. Patients may also be forced to find new doctors and medical services, which may not be available in our area. The health and financial security of tens of thousands of Marylanders is therefore at stake.

Most importantly, the stalemate between AAMC and CareFirst underscores the need for citizens to come together and advocate for a healthcare system that puts the needs of patients first.

As part of the healthcare forum Patients Losing Patience, speakers will not only discuss the current dispute between AAMC and CareFirst, they will also explore how healthcare systems work in Anne Arundel County, the state of Maryland, and the United States. Next, speakers will present alternatives to our current healthcare system that might better serve citizens’ needs. The Anne Arundel Indivisible Healthcare Coalition has also engaged citizens to present their own personal experiences in navigating the local healthcare system. In addition, everyone in attendance will be encouraged to ask questions and make comments.

Executives from both AAMC and CareFirst have been invited to attend, as well as county and state representatives. This will enable all stakeholders—including citizens—to engage in productive conversation.

According to Monica Lindsey, who brought together a team of volunteers to organize the Patients Losing Patience forum, “We at Anne Arundel Indivisible Healthcare Coalition do not have a position on who is right or wrong in the current dispute between AAMC and CareFirst. Our core concern is that citizens’ lives and financial security will be jeopardized if a settlement is not reached by September 30. We must let AAMC, CareFirst, and our representatives know that we cannot allow that to happen, now or ever again. We hope the forum will empower citizens to speak out and demand a solution that meets the needs of AAMC and CareFirst and, most importantly, the needs of the patients they have made a commitment to serve.”

For more information on Patients Losing Patience, visit Anne Arundel Indivisible Healthcare Coalition’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AAIndHCC/.

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