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Friday, September 04, 2009

Congressman Mike Michaud Health Care Forum in Bangor Maine

In the absence of Town Hall screamers, the health care forum hosted by Maine's Second District Congressman Mike Michaud was a thoughtful presentation from multiple health care providers about the current issue of health care reform.

Thank you Congressman Michaud for hosting this civilized and informative forum in Bangor. Too bad there weren't any big network news anchors attending to cover the issues. Following is the report of the forum by the Maine Medical Association and a copy of my own testimony on behalf of mental health parity:

Report From the Maine Medical Association Newsletter:
Congressman Michaud Hosts Forum on Health Care Reform

Congressman Mike Michaud (D-2nd District) held a forum on the national health care reform debate from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, August 28, 2009 at the Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor. For more than 3 1/2 hours Congressman Michaud and members of his staff listened to members of Maine's health care provider community express their views about the national health care reform debate generally and H.R. 3200, the one bill voted out of committee in the House so far, specifically. Most speakers seemed supportive of health care reform in concept, but many expressed concern that Congress not act hastily and mentioned concerns specific to a particular provider type. Physicians were well represented in the list of 25 or so witnesses and the following testified:

Gary Palman, D.O., Maine Society of Anesthesiologists
Stephanie Lash, M.D., MMA
Jon Fanburg, M.D., Maine Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Julie Balaban, M.D., Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians/Maine Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Joel Kase, D.O., Maine Osteopathic Association
Larry Piazza, M.D., Maine Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons
Larry Mutty, M.D., M.P.H.
Charles Pattavina, M.D., St. Joseph Hospital
Congressman Michaud and his Health Legislative Assistant, Jill Brimmer, also heard testimony from representatives of hospitals, community health centers, nursing homes, pharmacists, nurses, psychologists, physical therapists, dental hygienists, ambulance companies, community mental health centers, chiropractors, and hospice providers.

Physicians who wish to communicate with Congressman Michaud's office about the national health care reform debate may reach out to Jill Brimmer at

Testimony of Maine Association of Mental Health Services
Memorandum: Friday August 28, 2009

From: Juliana L’Heureux, BS, RN, MHSA
To: Congressman Mike Michaud

Ref: Testimony on Health Care Reform – Public Hearing in Bangor

Good morning. My name is Juliana L’Heureux. I am a registered nurse and the Executive Director of the Maine Association of Mental Health in Services (MAMHS) in Augusta.

MAMHS represents 27 Community Behavioral Health Centers throughout Maine.

Thank you for including mental health care to participate in this forum. Mental health providers truly appreciate your remarkable support for quality mental health care, especially for Veterans.

I also want to acknowledge the eloquent remarks from the psychiatrists who spoke before me, about the need to improve access to mental health care.

Our MAMHS members understand the complexities involved in health care reform. We are here to be a clear voice for mental health parity to be included in whatever public policy is ultimately passed. As you know, health care policy specialists worked hard for many years to achieve mental health insurance parity. Therefore, I speak for all health care providers and the clients and families we care for when we speak in support of providing mental health parity in health care reform, especially, providing for covering the cost of providing quality care. Moreover, I support the testimony from Eastern Maine Medical Center about the importance of providers being able to negotiate rates with payers. Negotiating rates is, likewise, important for community behavioral health care providers, as well.

We also seek your support for funding Community Behavioral Health Care to obtain electronic medical records.

Mental health care predisposes many physical health issues, which we know is the concept put forth in integrated care and medical home models. Certainly, we support all models of care where people are cared for out of institutions and as close to home as possible, whenever possible.

Therefore, please continue to be our advocate for protecting mental health parity in any health care reform regardless of where care is provided, including the appropriate use of tele health services.

Thank you again for your generous allocation of time to host this forum.

Juliana L'Heureux BS, RN, MHSA, Executive Director
Maine Association of Mental Health Services
45 Memorial Circle Suite 103 Augusta, Maine 04330
Telephone - (207) 621-4111 Fax - (207) 621-4999



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