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Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006

Jacksonville woman appointed to Green Mountain Care Board

JACKSONVILLE—A Jacksonville physician with extensive experience in health care policy and research has been appointed to the newly-formed Green Mountain Care Board.

Dr. Karen Hein is one of five members of the panel, which has the job of creating the first single payer health care system in the country.

“In putting together this team, I looked for five really smart people who are fully committed to the goal of controlling health care costs, achieving universal coverage, and who can work as a team,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a press release last week. “I also looked for people who could think creatively about how to encourage and reward Vermonters and Vermont health care practitioners for improving health and getting the most value out of our health care dollars.”

Hein said she sees the appointment as “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Hein is immediate past president of the William T. Grant Foundation, which funds research to improve the lives of adolescents throughout the United States. Previously, she served as executive officer of the Institute of Medicine, overseeing the IOM Quality Initiative and numerous projects and publications aimed at informing efforts to improve health care delivery.

She was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow with the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in 1993-94. She also is a longstanding faculty member at Columbia University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she has conducted extensive research on adolescent HIV/AIDS. Hein has also served on a number of non-profit boards, including the Dartmouth Medical School Board of Overseers.

The other members of the panel are:

• Al Gobeille of Shelburne, who owns a restaurant business in Chittenden County. He is active in the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Shelburne Selectboard. He also is a board member of the Visiting Nurse Association and a member of the state of Vermont’s payment reform advisory committee.

• Con Hogan of Plainfield, who has worked for the past 10 years as an international consultant and co-authored two books about Vermont health reform with Dr. Deb Richter. Previously, he served as Secretary of Human Services under Govs. Howard Dean and Richard Snelling.

• Dr. Allan Ramsay of Essex Junction, who is a family physician in Colchester. Ramsay has been a professor in UVM’s Department of Family Medicine since 1980. Before coming to Vermont, Ramsay served as medical director for an HMO in rural Colorado and served in the National Health Service Corps.

• Chairwoman Anya Rader Wallack, Ph.D., of Calais. She has served as Shumlin’s Special Assistant for Health Reform since January and spearheaded his legislative effort on health reform during the 2011 session. She ran the Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care. More recently, she ran the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute and served as interim president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation before launching a consulting business in state health policy.

“What I love most about this group is that while we have a common sense of purpose, we all have different experiences,” said Hein. “This isn’t a ‘cookie-cutter’ type of board.”

Hein said she hopes to see the board make sure that “every person in the state feels like they have ownership of this plan.”

She also realizes the responsibility that she and her colleagues have.

“We’re talking about life-and-death issues for Vermonters,” Hein said. “That’s why we want as much public involvement as possible in the process.”

The panel will begin work on Oct. 1. More than 100 people applied for the five positions. According to the governor’s office, a nine-member nominating committee reviewed their applications and forwarded to Shumlin 22 candidates who they deemed “qualified” to meet the requirements set forth in Act 48, the state’s health reform law.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #119 (Wednesday, September 21, 2011).

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