Wolf Discusses Addressing the State’s Opioid Epidemic, Improving Health Care at National Health Symposium

DANVILLE – Gov. Tom Wolf was Thursday’s luncheon speaker at Geisinger Health’s national symposium: “From Crisis to Cure: Revitalizing America’s Healthcare System.”

The governor discussed how Pennsylvania is dealing with health care crises that affect the state and how real solutions are making a difference in the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians.

“We all have a vested interest in serving our fellow citizens, and delivering smart, effective health care solutions to them that make our communities healthier,” Wolf told the group of 250 physicians, researchers and Geisinger staff.

“Here in Pennsylvania, we are trying to find smart solutions to the pressing health problems facing our citizens today.

“And unlike our friends in Washington, we understand the need to find real, meaningful solutions that deliver quality, critical care to our citizens.

“By partnering with health care systems, such as Geisinger, to bring their expertise to the table, Pennsylvania has become the model for how a state can respond quickly and effectively to attack problems, and provide care and treatment to serve all in need.”

Wolf detailed his plan for fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic, including securing a $26.5 million federal grant through the CURES Act to increase access to effective treatment, reduce unmet treatment needs and increase prevention, treatment and recovery measures for those with substance use disorders.

In addition, the Governor outlined his administration’s efforts to improve health outcomes for Pennsylvanians through the legalization of medical marijuana and the state’s current work to finalize Community HealthChoices.

It is a program that will give Pennsylvanians and older citizens the opportunity to remain at home, to spend time with their families and experience a better quality of life.

“As anyone with an older parent or relative knows – one of the most important things that we can do to help our seniors is to provide options for them to age in place, and receive care in their homes,” Wolf said.

“Community HealthChoices will allow anyone 21 or older, covered by both Medicaid and Medicare, to be able to receive quality, effective care in their communities rather than in facilities.”

The governor stressed the need to continue to work with health systems, such as Geisinger, to make more progress in finding real solutions to Pennsylvania’s health care challenges.

The three-day symposium, which runs through Nov. 10, featured multiple speakers addressing topics that detail the nation’s current health care climate, among them Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., former White House healthcare adviser to President Barack Obama and a key architect of the Affordable Care Act; and Dean Ornish, M.D., physician, author, and founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute.

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