FORT MOHAVE — Valley View Medical Center in Fort Mohave hosted the quarterly meeting of the Arizona Healthcare Accountability Committee earlier this month.

Committee members met with Shelli Silver, deputy director of health plan operations for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. She explained the expansion of telemedicine to assist with the physician shortage. The new telemed rules will expand the types of specialties available to use the technology and ideally will make health care more accessible to patients. 

Specialties such as neurology and endocrinology are needed desperately in rural areas and it is hoped a combination of telemedicine and monthly or quarterly in-person rotations of physicians into the area will provide better care to locals. 

The committee, composed of local and state elected officials, AHCCCS representatives, CEOs of Steward Health Choice and Care1st, Valley View Medical Center, Lake Havasu Regional Medical Center and Kingman Regional Medical Center financial officials, provider representatives, citizen at-large health care advocates and a healthcare attorney, discussed options to help recruit new providers to Mohave County. Possible incentives discussed included student loan repayment and rural health medical grants to help hospitals and local practices hire new providers. These would be implemented with the assistance of local and federal legislators and officials. 

Efforts are ongoing to expand the number of providers on the plans to ensure members have local care. The committee also explored bringing commercial payers to the table as they, too, play a role in the provision of health care to the region. 

Veteran health care services in the area were touched upon. While some services are provided by state payers like Steward Health Choice and Care1st, the bulk of veteran services require the efforts of federal officials, agencies and the legislature in order to be successful.  

The committee meets quarterly and is open to listening to any issues a provider, group or agency has regarding medical care access, reimbursement, scope of services or network expansion. Items must be submitted in advance to be placed on the meeting agenda for discussion. Inquiries and agenda items may be sent to admin@azhac.net

For more information, the AZHAC website is at www.azhac.net.

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