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Health Commission to Hold Listening Focus Groups

Heath care, or the lack thereof, has been a popular topic across the country in recent months. Locally, one organization is hoping to alleviate the burdens that come with being uninsured. This month it will hold special meetings designed to hear directly from the community. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has more.

The Health Commission, formerly known as The Springfield-Greene County Regional Health Commission, is a partnership between local hospitals and health care agencies, whose goal is to get health care to those who don’t have it. Carmen Parker Bradshaw is executive director of the Health Commission.

"The Health Commission was officially developed in July of 2009. [It's] focused on healthcare for the under-served. [The commission is] to assist in building community partnerships, and to promote affordable quality healthcare for the under-served." said Bradshaw.

Bradshaw says that for this first year, the commission has been focusing on learning what the greatest health issues of the community are, and gathering information. She says that one of the first things the commission has already completed is a full-scale assessment to be released this July. The assessment includes data collected from area patients, hospitals, and public health departments.

This month the commission will be holding meetings in the form of focus groups. Bradshaw says it’s important to hear directly from the community in order to know what to do next.

"These meetings are so important. [It's] the only time that we're bringing together these groups to talk about such a diverse set of issues related to health care access. And I think this is a really important time for folks to come out and reiterate what their needs are, [and] what their suggestions are. It is also important to hear what they see happening." Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw says that the commission is currently working on a strategic plan that would cover the next three years.

Those who are uninsured, or who rely on MOHealthNet or Medicaid, are invited to participate in these focus groups which are next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings, May 17th-19th. The time slots are 5:30-6:30pm and 7:00pm-8:00pm all three days. Each participant will be given a financial gift, Bradshaw says. Registration is required by Friday, May 14th, and slots are limited. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettman

Click Here to visit The Health Commission website

To register for these focus groups, you can call (417) 864-1573 by 5pm Friday.