Mississippi College

Experts Discuss Healthcare Reform at Mississippi College

October 8, 2013

America’s Affordable Care Act continues to spark debate among political leaders in Congress and millions of people in communities across the nation.

Healthcare was also a timely topic at the 4th annual Mississippi Health Care Reform Summit on the Clinton campus Tuesday. The program at Mississippi College attracted national experts and key leaders in government and business. They looked at successful disease management, quality healthcare in changing times, and managing employees’ health.

“With everything going on with the Affordable Care Act, this conference was informative and very timely,” said Rich Flores, chief operating officer with United Healthcare based in Ridgeland. “I felt it was worthwhile.”

Returning for a second year to the Mississippi College School of Business event, Flores commended the outstanding lineup of speakers.

“It got me thinking about things I considered in the past,” said Troy Daniels, vice president and chief officer for human resources at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. “I’m leaving with food for thought.”

While Gov. Phil Bryant was unable to speak to the group due to a scheduling conflict, the 230 professionals attending the Mississippi College conference were energized by the discussions on one of the nation’s most pressing issues.

“I come every year and it was nice to hear from an employer’s perspective,” said Shawn Rossi, vice president for marketing and public relations with the Mississippi Hospital Association. “Usually we hear from the patient’s perspective.”

Based in Madison, the Mississippi Hospital Association offers a wellness program, but picked up some good ideas at the Mississippi College summit to make it better, Rossi said.

Created in 1931, the MHA serves all types of hospitals and health care networks and other providers of health with more than 50,000 employees.

At a panel discussion following a luncheon at Anderson Hall, speakers said companies are interested in wellness programs because they lead to improved productivity and reduce costly future claims. It’s important to get people healthy at early stages in their careers.

Encouraging workers to make regular visits to their physicians and check blood sugar levels are all important steps to take, said Jim Brown, vice president for benefits at Trustmark National Bank.

Presenters included Kristena Gaylor, a professor of economics and management at MC’s School of Business, Pepper Crutcher, an advocate for businesses and entrepreneurs in the Southeast, Al Stubblefield, president of the Baptist Leadership Group, and Dr. Thomas Prewitt, Jr., director of the Healthcare Delivery Institute at HORNE LLP. Dr. Marshall Bouldin, chief medical officer with the Diabetes Care Group, William Ray, president and CEO of BankPlus, and Jeffery Drozda, chief executive officer with the Mississippi Association of Health Plans, were among the other speakers.

“It was a very well done program,” said Dwayne Blaylock, CEO of River Oaks Hospital in Flowood.

In future years, MC School of Business Dean Marcelo Eduardo said, “this forum will become an integral part of keeping Mississippi business and community leaders informed and equipped to best manage health and wellness programs.’’

The summit’s partners with the School of Business were the Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, the Mississippi Business Group on Health, the Capital Area Human Resource Association and the Mississippi Society for Human Resource Management.

Photo: Jim Brown, vice president for benefits at Trustmark National Bank, makes a point at a panel discussion Tuesday at Mississippi College's 4th annual summit on healthcare reform. Looking on at the podium is Murray Harber of the Mississippi Business Group on Health. Mississippi Public Broadcasting and the Mississippi Business Journal were among local media covering the event.

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