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      Communication key to promoting health issues

      Communication and understanding between local health professionals and state legislators is often lacking. One group is often unaware of needs and changes in the health care community.

      But a symposium held at the Jefferson County Health Center in Fairfield, Iowa aimed to change that.

      State Representatives Curt Hanson and Dave Heaton and Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy met with representatives from several local health organizations. The goal was to communicate the concerns and issues of local health care.

      "I think we were very fortunate with the attendees today in that awareness was very much hightened," said Joneane Parker, the Vice President of Clinical Services at Jefferson County Health Center. "We talked about concerns in the delivery of health care... and we were able to learn about some state programs that are coming up and discuss those, and see how they might impact our area and our region."

      Some of the issues at hand were reimbursement, changes in mental health care and hospital readmission and at-home care.

      "I got some very important things out of this meeting, like the need for at home health care and the cost effectiveness in that," Representative Hanson said. "There are so many people that can remain in their homes with the help of these people, and that's far more cost efficient than going to a nursing home, and this is a win-win for both the taxpayer and the person who is staying at home, in their own home, where they want to be. That's a very important issue."

      Many of the healtcare professionals highlighted the need for legislative support when it comes to health issues.

      Both the medical community and the legislators hope to hold similar meetings in the future.

      "I hope that they continue to have this visit on an annual basis," Representative Heaton said. "I know that I appreciated the opportunity to come over here and visit and I look forward to the opportunity to having another one of these meetings."