10th anniversary stakeholders event and panel discussion to take place on October 18

Less than ten months after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, Washtenaw County leaders came together to start planning for implementation. It would be three years until the new Act would be fully implemented, but the group wanted to understand how many Washtenaw County residents were uninsured, how many would be newly eligible for insurance under the act, and whether or not the county’s health care providers were ready to meet their needs.

Six months later, the group had developed shared action plans to meet those needs well before the act went into effect. But they also knew that more could be done to improve the health of the county’s low-income, uninsured, and underinsured residents. The Washtenaw Health Initiative was launched to facilitate partnerships and collaborations that would improve services for the county’s uninsured, and for those with low-incomes. 

At the WHI’s 10th anniversary stakeholders meeting, Monday, October 18, from 3-5pm, we’ll talk more about the history and the future of the Washtenaw Health Initiative. 

We’ll begin with a presentation on the history of the Washtenaw Health Initiative, delivered by Norman Herbert, a founding member of the initiative and longtime volunteer. 

Then a group of panelists will focus on the health care landscape and how it’s changed since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, as well as the ongoing health and equity challenges in our community. The hope: that these conversations will inform future work by Washtenaw Health Initiative stakeholders.
Panelists will include: 

  • Deborah Vinson, semi-retired house cleaner, lifelong Ypsilanti resident
  • Ruth Kraut, deputy health officer, Washtenaw County Health Department
  • Brian Keisling, director, Bureau of Medicaid Policy, Operations, and Actuarial Services, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
  • Rebecca Fleming, director of community health initiatives, and Amabel Reese, revenue cycle manager, Packard Health Clinic
  • Iris Proctor, director of integrated services, Hope Clinic
  • Jeremy Lapedis, director, Washtenaw Health Plan

Sharon Moore, co-chair of the Washtenaw Health Initiative, will introduce the panelists and facilitate the discussion. Following panelist presentations—limited to five minutes each—we will address audience questions. 

Following the panel, Deana Smith, WHI program manager, will talk about current WHI initiatives; WHI communications committee co-chairs, Maria Alfonso and Liz Conlin, will announce our inaugural collaborative health impact awards, which will be given to community-based organizations that collaborated during the pandemic to safeguard the health of low-income, uninsured, and underinsured residents across the county; then WHI secretary Brent Williams and WHI co-chair Sharon Moore will talk about the future of our work together.