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Speaker Series with Healthcare Panel Featuring Tommy Thompson and Tony Coelho

Release Date:  Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Charleston, WV - The University of Charleston will kick off the 2012 Speaker Series at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31, with a special panel on the future of healthcare.  “Who Decides Patient Treatment?” will feature Tommy Thompson, former governor of Wisconsin and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Tony Coelho, former U.S. congressman from California and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The panel will explore the extent to which the public, the government, or insurers should pay for treatment that individuals cannot afford, the extent to which patients should be allowed to choose treatment that is not “best practice,” and other ethical questions emerging from recent and proposed changes in healthcare law and policy.  Dr. Ed Welch, president of the University of Charleston, will act as moderator.  “It sounds so simple to say that patients should decide their own healthcare treatment, but when you look more deeply into the question, it is not so clear,” Dr. Welch commented.

The event is sponsored by the Maier Foundation and the Elizabeth and Herchiel Sims Fund at the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.  “The Maier Foundation and the Sims family recognize the importance of public debate about the ethics of health care, and we are grateful to them for making this event possible,” said President Welch.  “We are excited about bringing speakers of this caliber to the University of Charleston and proud of our role in the community as the presenters of thought-provoking, issue-oriented speakers and forums.”

Tommy Thompson was elected governor of Wisconsin for four terms beginning in 1986.  In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed him U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.  He was a candidate for the 2008 presidential election, and on December 1, 2011, announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by long-time Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl.

Tony Coelho is a former United States congressman from California, and primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  He is the interim president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. In March 2009, Coelho was named chairperson for the Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC), which works to amplify the voice of its diverse members, including people with disabilities, racial and ethnic communities, and the elderly.  Coelho also serves as board chairman of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country’s largest cross-disability membership organization.

The event will take place from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in Geary Auditorium, Riggleman Hall, on the University of Charleston campus, and is free and open to the public.  Click here to submit a question for the panel.  For more information call the Communications Office at 304-357-4716.

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