MANCHESTER - Even those administering health care do not have all the answers when it comes to how the health system is changing, but in an effort to let the public know as much as possible, Southwestern Vermont Health Care Foundation is co-hosting a town hall-style meeting next week to talk about a wide range of health topics. These will include the Vermont Health Exchange, which will affect thousands of Vermonters this October.

The forum will be held at the Maple Street School in Manchester on July 10 at 5 p.m. The event is free.

A similar forum was held in Wilmington earlier this year at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center's Deerfield Valley Campus. This forum will be geared towards the hospital's Northshire Campus in Manchester, and according to Marquis there will be another forum held in Bennington.

Marquis said the public can ask questions at the forum but presentations will also be given on topics known to be of interest, such as the changes to state and federal health care payment systems, Dartmouth-Hitchcock's affiliation with SVHC, and the expansion of services at the Northshire Campus. She said both the Northshire Campus and Deerfield Valley Campus are certified "medical homes," which many have confused with nursing homes. She said medical home means a wide variety of medical services are under one roof, so rather than a person's doctor sending them somewhere else to see nutritionist or diabetes specialist, they can point them to th office down the hall.


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The forum in Wilmington attracted a fair-sized crowd, Marquis said, about 80 people representing a wide range of interests from retired attorneys, to small business owners, to other health care workers.

Speakers at the event will include SVHC President and CEO Thomas Dee, Dr. Trey Dobson, the health care system's chief medical officer, as well as Dr. Robert Schwartz, a physician at the Northshire Campus, the campus' medical director, Dr. Joshua Samuelson, and Scott Erickson, SVHC director of satellite operations.

Marquis said the Northshire Regional Advisory Board is the event's main sponsor and is being helped by the Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of Commerce, and Equinox Village.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is the parent company of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, the local hospital in Bennington. The Deerfield and Northshire campuses are satellites of SVMC. The SVHC Foundation is it's own corporate entity that manages marketing, public relations, grants, for SVHC.