Recently, five of them served on a panel at a meeting titled "A Healthcare Conversation." The League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area sponsored the meeting in cooperation with our state organization as a first step in trying to develop positions that will later enable us to advocate for improvements in South Carolina's health care system.
The panelists were Tom Neal, chief operating officer of Hilton Head Hospital; Dr. Ronald Smith, medical director of Bluffton-Jasper Volunteers in Medicine; Omega Smalls-Francis, area director of the Coastal Empire Mental Health Center's Hilton Head office; Florry Gibbes, a medical speech pathologist who has practiced in many venues; and Alison Burke, a league member and attorney who shared her perspective on the needs of the disabled.
They all care deeply about providing quality health care, regardless of the finances of the recipients and despite roadblocks such as lack of Medicaid eligibility, lack of adequate funding for additional staff, lack of adequate transportation for patients, the inability of electronic data to be shared between different facilities, the reliance of some patients on emergency room care instead of less costly and more appropriate care, and the lack of adequate cooperation among different medical facilities.
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The league looks forward to continuing to work on health care issues in South Carolina.