NJSpotlight conference discusses Affordable Care Act’s implementation in New Jersey

NJSpotlight ACA Implementation Conference Panel
NJSpotlight ACA Implementation conference gets underway in Newark, 9/20/2013.

NJSpotlight.com held a conference on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in New Jersey on September 20 in Newark. The Professional Podcasts Division of the Lubetkin Media Companies produced videos of the two panels and keynote addresses. Videos are available for viewing here on our website and at NJSpotlight.com. You can also purchase a three-DVD set of this conference in our online store.

Moderator: Andrew Kitchenman, healthcare writer, NJ Spotlight

Panel 1: Implementing the Health Insurance Marketplace/Exchange

State Sen. Nia Gill makes remarks at NJSpotlight ACA Implementation conference 9/20/2013
State Sen. Nia Gill makes remarks at NJSpotlight ACA Implementation conference 9/20/2013

The primary way that New Jerseyans will purchase coverage is through a federal health insurance marketplace or exchange, a website required by the ACA. What’s not clear, however, is how residents will learn about the marketplace — and about such crucial details as how to enroll for coverage, how to choose a benefits package, and what penalties apply if they decide not to buy coverage. This panel will address those issues, including how outreach will be funded and how the multiple layers of federal and state regulations will interact.

NOTE: Due to technical problems, the audio quality for the first 15 minutes of this video is not up to our usual standards. The audio does improve about 15 minutes into the video. We apologize for any inconvenience.


State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Essex and Passaic). Gill was the primary sponsor of a resolution that established a legislative task force to implement New Jersey’s health insurance exchange. She is a member of the New Jersey State bar, the federal bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. She served four terms in the New Jersey State Assembly before being elected to the state senate in November 2001. She is on the Senate Judiciary Committee and chairs the Senate Commerce Committee.

Dr. Jaime Torres, Regional Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to coming to the Department of Health and Human Services, Torres served as As­sociate Director of Consultative Services at Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital, part of New York City’s Health and Hospital Corp., which is the nation’s largest public hospital system. He is the founder of Latinos for National Health Insurance, a na­tional coalition working for equality in healthcare.

Katherine Grant-Davis, President, New Jersey Primary Care Association. As President and CEO of the New Jersey Primary Care Association (NJPCA), Grant-Davis repre­sents New Jersey’s Federally Qualified Health Centers, the major providers of com­prehensive community-based primary healthcare within the state. Twenty centers in New Jersey operate 105 sites, providing care to approximately 477,000 patients. Grant-Davis has also served as Chief of Staff for the New Jersey Department of Health, and Director of Payment and Health Care Delivery for the Health Industry Manufacturers Association (HIMA) in Washington, D.C. She has won numerous awards, including the 2012 National Association of Community Health Center Leadership Award, 2011 Citizen Action Community Service Award and Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award presented by Sen. Robert Menendez.

Neil Eicher, Deputy Director of Government Relations and Policy, New Jersey Hospital As­sociation. Neil Eicher has served as Deputy Director of Government Relations & Pol­icy at the New Jersey Hospital Association since January 2008. Besides working on state legislative issues in Trenton, Neil is coordinating health reform implementa­tion efforts at the Association. Prior to coming to NJHA, Neil served as the Chief of Staff to state Senator Ellen Karcher.

Larry Altman, V.P. of the Office of Health Care Reform, Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Altman oversees Horizon BCBSNJ’s preparations for and responses to Federal Health Care Reform legislation and regulation, including implementation of the law and planning for the future market in which the company will operate post-2014. Prior to joining Horizon BCBSNJ, Altman was a partner with Booz Allen Hamilton (now Booz & Co.). the global management consulting firm. He holds an A.B. in economics from Princeton University and a master’s degree in public and private management from Yale School of Management.

Christine Stearns, V.P. Health and Legal Affairs, New Jersey Business & Industry Asso­ciation. Christine Stearns is a policy expert on healthcare and legal issues for the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. She previously served as a Senior Associate with Princeton Public Affairs, the state’s largest contract lob­bying firm. An attorney with extensive political and legislative experience who has been involved in New Jersey politics for more than fifteen years, Stearns has held a variety of advisory and staff positions at numerous county, legislative and statewide campaigns. A graduate of Douglass College, Stearns received her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law-Camden and a master’s de­gree in public policy from the Eagleton Institute of Politics.


NJSpotlight ACA Implementation Conference Panel
NJSpotlight ACA Implementation conference gets underway in Newark, 9/20/2013.

Panel 2: Implementing Medicaid Eligibility Expansion

The other way that some state residents will qualify for insurance is through the expanded Medicaid program created when Gov. Chris Christie extended eligibility to more individuals and families. This panel will discuss how expansion will play out at the ground level, including who will be signing up residents and giving them the requisite guidance. Also on the agenda: the impact of additional patients on healthcare providers, as well as whether the “seamless” application for Medicaid and the marketplace is on track.


Dr. Ruth Perry, Executive Director, Trenton Health Team. Perry earned her medical degree from Temple University and spent seven years at Albert Bnstein Medical Center in Philadelphia before working on product safety, implementation of best practices and change management at Dow Chemical. In April 2011, she be­came Executive Director of the Trenton Health Team, where she blends her medical background with corporate leadership experience to confront the health and wellness challenges of Trenton’s neediest residents.

Linda Schwimmer, V.P., New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. Prior to joining the NJ Health Care Quality Institute as Vice President in June 2013, Schwimmer founded Schwimmer Consulting, a healthcare consulting practice that specialized in health reform and regulatory affairs, and served as Director of Strategic Relations & External Affairs at Horizon Healthcare Innovations, a subsidiary of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. There, Schwimmer was on the leadership team that brought Accountable Care Organizations and the largest Patient-Centered Medical Home program to New Jersey. Schwimmer has also served as Director of Legislation and Policy for the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, held policy and counsel positions with the Senate Majority Office, and worked as an attorney at the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

Michael Anne Kyle, Project Director, Greater Newark Health Coalition. Prior to joining the Greater Newark Health Coalition, Kyle served as Chief Operating Officer of Newark Now, a nonprofit organization founded by Newark Mayor Cory Booker to work with grassroots organizations and tackle a variety of citywide challenges. The Greater Newark Health Coalition is a group of community representatives, hospitals, feder­ally qualified health centers, healthcare professionals, university representatives and city and state agencies aimed at addressing the primary healthcare crisis facing Newark and developing a long-term plan to improve health and health services for the Greater Newark area. Kyle is a nurse practitioner as well as a currently practic­ing registered nurse.

Karen Clark, President & Chief Operating Officer, Horizon NJ Health. Horizon NJ Health is New Jersey’s largest Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare managed healthcare organiza­tion. Clark also serves as a board member for Medicaid Health Plans of America, Association of Community Health Plans, Mercer County American Cancer Society Board and Mercer County Workforce Investment Board. She is the recipient of the New Jersey Primary Care Association’s Health Advocate Award; Modern Health­care Magazine named Clark one of America’s Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare”; and Girl Scouts of Central and Southern NJ recognized her as a “Woman of Distinction.”


Keynote Remarks: Heather Howard, Director of the State Health Reform Assistance Network

Keynote speaker Heather Howard makes a point at NJSpotlight State Sen. Nia Gill makes remarks at NJSpotlight ACA Implementation conference 9/20/2013
Keynote speaker Heather Howard makes a point at NJSpotlight State Sen. Nia Gill makes remarks at NJSpotlight ACA Implementation conference 9/20/2013

In this video, the keynote remarks by Heather Howard, director of the State Health Reform Assistance Network.

Currently a lecturer in public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Heather Howard previ­ously served as the commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Health and Senior Services where she was responsible for oversight of public health services, regulation of healthcare institutions, hospital fi­nancing, senior services and healthcare policy and research. Her prior public policy experience includes work in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, and the Health Care Task Force within the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Jus­tice Department.

Howard received a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.

The State Health Reform Assistance Network, housed at the Wilson School, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded program dedi­cated to providing selected states with technical assistance in imple­menting the Affordable Care Act and developing models for implemen­tation across the country. The state network currently provides assis­tance to Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia.



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