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By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – A panel discussion focused on the delivery of primary care in Rhode Island will be held on Oct. 9, featuring three leaders in state’s health care sector – Dr. Edward Wing, dean of medicine and biological sciences at Brown University, Dr. Michael Fine, director of the R.I. Department of Health, and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts, chair of the state commission coordinating health care reform.
The panel will be moderated Dr. Kathleen Hittner, who is retiring on Oct. 17 from Lifespan, where she served as senior vice president of community health and perioperative services.
Also featured on the panel will be Dr. Kimberly Dodd from Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island and a participant in the care loan forgiveness program.
The discussion, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at The Rhode Island Foundation, will highlight the importance of primary care in delivering health care to underserved populations.
A recent report by the R.I. Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner found that health insurers increased spending from $48 million in 2007 to $59 million in 2011, with $66 million projected for 2012, according to the report.
The increases in primary care spending contrasted with the fall in total medical spending among privately insured members, which fell from $886 million in 2007 to $730 million in 2011. Medical spending is projected to increase in 2012 to $742 million.
The question moving forward, according to R.I. Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher F. Koller, is how those new dollars for primary care are going to be invested.