UGA faculty tapped for Lt. Gov.’s healthcare task force

The University of Georgia’s Toni Miles was invited to join a new state Task Force on Healthcare Access and Cost, led by Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan.

In late August, Duncan announced the Task Force and outlined the goals for the fifteen member group, which includes five elected officials.

The group will pinpoint improvements that can be made to tackle the cost and access burdens to healthcare across Georgia. Specially, the Task Force will evaluate price transparency and other free market solutions, data and technology utilization, and employer innovation, according to Duncan’s office.

Miles, faculty in UGA’s College of Public Health, says she’s excited about bringing the perspective of public health to the discussion of healthcare cost reduction to the group.

“My work during the past 5 years has focused on post acute care, which is delivered outside of the hospital. In the future, most people will be cared for in this setting. People want it that way. It is cost effective and increases access for a broader group of the community,” said Miles.

Miles points to two major public health challenges impacting Georgia – mother and child health and the aging population.

“Public health nurses can help to improve Georgia’s infant and maternal issues. At the other end of life, Hospice is primarily a home-based service,” she said. “These are just two of the larger issues in public health that can be addressed by the Task Force.”

To help shape her contributions to the Task Force, Miles has set up her own UGA-based “kitchen cabinet” of experts. These members include fellow CPH faculty – Grace Bagwell Adams, Donglan “Stacy” Zhang, and Janani R. Thapa – and UGA Law School faculty Elizabeth Weeks.

“I am a physician and epidemiologist by training. My perspective is based in illness and data. I need to hear from others with expertise in law, health care policy, and community perspective,” said Miles. “These are all highly skilled UGA faculty who know a lot more than I do about these areas. The Task Force needs to hear their voices.”

The Task Force kicked off with its first meeting on September 5th. The group will meet twice more in 2019.

Follow the activities of the Task Force here:

Additional coverage at ASPPH Friday Letter.

– Lauren Baggett

Posted on September 20, 2019.