In the Media

Howard Center Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Appointed to GMCB Advisory Committee

February 16, 2012

The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) recently announced the appointment of 41 Vermonters to its Advisory Committee. The GMCB was created by Act 48 of the 2011 legislative session. Act 48 required the GMCB to establish an advisory committee that represents consumers, businesses, and health care provides.

"We are so pleased at the response we received to our request for Advisory Committee members," said Anya Rader Wallack, chair of the GMCB. "We received more than120 self-nominations, all from highly qualified people, with a broad range of interests and experience. I think it illustrates the degree to which Vermonters want to be engaged in this effort." Wallack said about a third of the applicaitons came from physicians. A number of mental health practitioners also applied. Given the strong response, and the importance of getting input from physicians and mental health experts into the GMCB's work, the GMBC has decided to appoint technical advisory groups (TAGs) in addition to the general advisory committee. The GMCB will appoint both a physician TAG and a mental health and substance abuse TAG. Applications for the two TAGs remain open until March 15. Those interested in applying for either TAG should go to www.healthcare.vermont.org.

Appointees to the GMCB Advisory Committee represent business, consumers, a variety of traditional and alternative health care practitioners, and health care managers such as hospital administrators and insurance experts. They come from all corners of the state. At least 12 of the appointees are citizens who did not identify themselves as having vested interest in health care financing and delivery or who represent consumers of health care. This kind of participation is critical, said Wallack, "We have a tendency, in Montpelier, to only hear from the vested interests. Our work has the potential to affect all Vermonters, and we need to get out of town and get lots of input from a broad spectrum."

Wallack stressed that the Advisory committee and the TAGs would not be the only vehicle for influencing the work of the GMCB. "We have public meetings every week, we will continue to get around the state and gather input, and we welcome comments from anyone, anytime," she said. She urged Vermonters interested in health reform to log on regularly to the Board's website and the website of the administration for updates and analyses, and to provide input throughout the reform process. Those websites can be found at www.healthcare.vermont.gov and www.hcr.vermont.gov.

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