West Virginians for Affordable Health CareWVAHC logo
Committed to affordable health care for all West Virginians... and doing something about it!

Perry Bryant Is Retiring
Search for a New Executive Director Has Begun

Perry Bryant 
            Perry Bryant, founder and Executive Director of WVAHC, is retiring at the end of the year. “It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with a talented staff, a dedicated Board and wonderful members over the last nine years. During this time West Virginia has move forward on our goal of ensuring that everyone in West Virginia has access to quality, affordable health care. There is still plenty of work to be done. Not everyone has health insurance coverage. Our health care system is too costly and inefficient, and it does not provide the quality of care that we deserve and should expect. So, I leave with the task not yet completed. But it’s time for someone who is younger and with more energy to take over the WVAHC Executive Director’s job,” Perry said.
 
            The WVAHC Board has established a Search Committee headed by Sam Hickman, WVAHC’s Vice-President. Anyone interested in applying for the position should send a resume, cover letter with three references, and a writing sample to perrybryant@suddenlink.net. The complete job description can be found by clicking here.
 
Summary job description:
 
            WVAHC is seeking a dynamic and knowledgeable leader to be the Executive Director. WVAHC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan health care organization that represents the interests of consumers on health care issues, including promoting enrollment through the Affordable Care Act and quality improvement initiatives such as the Choosing Wisely campaign. The Executive Director would supervise a staff of three and be responsible for fundraising including grant writing, membership and board development, and public education including media outreach. Strong communication skills are essential. Understanding health care policy issues is a significant plus. Salary is negotiable, but there are no fringe benefits at this time.
 
Perry Bryant
WVAHC
304-344-1673 (o)
304-533-7941 (c)

Challenging and Rewarding Report

 
Challenging and Rewarding ReportEarlier this year, WVAHC hosted ten regional “debriefing” meeting across the state to get input from people who were involved in the enrollment process for Medicaid and qualified health plans in the marketplace. There were a variety of “enrollment assisters” involved in the enrollment process funded by both public and private sources. In-person assisters were hired through a contract with the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner and stationed at DHHR offices and other state agencies. The federal government awarded grants for navigators and to community health centers to hire certified application counselors. Hospitals also hired certified application counselors. And WVAHC was able to provide mini grants to 31 nonprofit organizations throughout the state to strengthen their role in enrollment.
 
No matter what they were called, or how they were funded, we wanted to know what their experience was: what worked with enrolling West Virginians, and what didn’t. Almost universally, the enrollment assisters said their job was both challenging and very rewarding. They were frustrated by how politicized health care has become and how difficult it was to access the federal website, healthcare.gov, last fall. It was, however, very rewarding to finally sign people up for Medicaid and the private insurance policies in the marketplace. 
 
As a result of these meetings, Renate Pore and Perry Bryant have written a report on the enrollment assisters’ experiences. Challenging and Rewarding. You can read the full report by clicking here.
 
One of the recommendations made during the ten debriefing meetings was to schedule a statewide meeting for all enrollment assisters prior to the next open enrollment period for qualified health plans in the marketplace which begins on November 15, 2914. WVAHC, along with the West Virginia Primary Care Association, TSG Consulting and the West Virginia Hospital Association, is convening the statewide meeting for enrollment assisters on October 23 at the Columbia Gas Building from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. This meeting is being co-sponsored by.
 
If you, or if you know of someone who was involved in the enrollment process, want to attend, please register at the website www.enrollwv.org. The meeting, including a box lunch, is free, although registration is required.

West Virginians for Affordable Health Care (WVAHC) has developed a DVD with West Virginians telling their own stories about how the Affordable Care Act has impacted them and their small businesses. Faces of Reform in West Virginia was used in WVAHC’s successful training initiative. Over 200 people across the state were trained on the details of the Affordable Care Act. They in turn are educating 50 of their friends, neighbors and colleagues. WVAHC’s goal is to reach 10,000 West Virginians will solid, objective information on the Affordable Care Act. The more people know about the Affordable Care Act, the more they are supportive of it. WVAHC is interested in providing additional training sessions. If you know an organization that would bring together 20 people to be trained on the Affordable Care Act, contact Perry Bryant at perrybryant@suddenlink.org, and we will schedule a session.

Historic National Health Care Reforms Adopted

PPACA logoOn March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This historic piece of legislation has three basic goals: reduce the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million; strengthen regulation of the insurance industry; and begin the difficult task of controlling health care costs, particularly for Medicare.

With the passage of the ACA almost all Americans will now enjoy the same fundamental rights to health care that citizens of every other developed nation enjoy.

As part of an extensive public education campaign, WVAHC has developed The Affordable Care Act: Moving Forward in West Virginia. This booklet providing consumers with details of the ACA and outlines recent regulations being adopted by the Obama Administration. The guide is an objective review of the major provision of the Act and its impact on West Virginia’s families and businesses. The foreword is written by Senator Jay Rockefeller.

Additionally, WVAHC has developed a series of other materials, including:

and a series of PowerPoint presentations that include:

In addition to these materials, WVAHC held a series of town meeting across West Virginia. These town meetings have allowed us to explain the provisions of the ACA and answer questions that people have about the reforms. It is that dialogue that is so important to helping people understand this complex public policy initiative. There have already been several town meetings -- in Parkersburg, Wheeling, Morgantown, Elkins, Shepherdstown, Beckley, Charleston and Huntington. WVAHC is working to schedule additional town meetings in Fairmont, Lewisburg, Clarksburg and Logan.

Help for Small Businesses

WVAHC recognizes the unique challenges that small businesses, both for-profit and nonprofit, face. They struggle to provide their employees health insurance coverage. Small businesses pay almost 20 percent more than larger employers for the same health insurance plan. And insurance companies charge small businesses more for administrative costs than they do for larger employers. The Affordable Care Act provides both short- and long-term assistance to small businesses. Small businesses, particularly very small businesses with one or fewer employees that are paid low salaries, qualify for tax credits this year. There are efforts to control the administrative costs that insurance companies charge small businesses. Beginning in 2014, small businesses will be able to purchase health insurance coverage through the health exchanges. These market places for selling health insurance should allow small businesses to purchase health insurance in a simpler manner. The exchanges will promote competition and lower costs. Finally, small businesses will have new protection against huge premium increases because one or more of their employees gets sick and uses their health insurance coverage.

Families USA, a national health care research and consumer advocate organization, published
Good Business Sense: The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit in the Affordable Care Act
.
This report found that more than 16,000 small businesses qualified for the small business health care tax credits in 2011. Over 7,000 very small businesses, those employing ten or fewer employees with average wages of less than $25,000, qualified for the maximum tax credits. If all the businesses in West Virginia that qualified for the tax credit had taken advantage of the tax credits to help provide health insurance to their employees, small businesses in West Virginia would have received $80 million in tax credits in 2011.

To help small businesses, including nonprofit organizations, WVAHC has developed a series of materials:

WVAHC Director Perry Bryant is available to make presentations on the ACA and its impact on small businesses. Contact him at 304-344-1673 or perrybryant@suddenlink.net

 

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1544 Lee Street, Charleston, WV 25311 ● 304-344-1673 ● perrybryant@suddenlink.net