Assistant to Attorney General Rear Admiral Nadine Simmons spoke to Arizona State University students, faculty and staff Sept. 26 on the future of health care and the Affordable Care Act.

Simmons was at ASU’s downtown campus in the nursing building talking to a mix of students, faculty, staff and members of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses.

She focused her speech mainly on how the current model for health care is inefficient due to its reactionary nature. Simmons used various graphs and diagrams to convey that our current “crisis care” model couldn’t work.

Crisis care is “seriously compromising quality and wasting a lot of money,” Simmons said. “We have very fragmented care.”

The crisis care model is referring to how patients receive care only after they have needed emergency care. Crisis care is defined by lack of preventative and follow-up care. The problem is compounded by a low rate of health care literacy among the public.

Health care literacy became a significant problem on Oct. 1 when the Affordable Care Act took effect and many uninsured Americans had to purchase coverage.

With all these Americans new to the health care system there will be a greater need for health care literacy than ever before.

Simmons called for the help of the current and future health care professionals in the room to help keep people in the health care system. She urged these, “trusted sources,” to increase the level of communication with patients and to better health care through preventative measures.

Simmons is focusing on turning “our sick care system, I wouldn’t even call it a system, to a full health care system focused on prevention.”

“Patient engagement is also key in breaking crisis care,” she continued, “patient engagement means patients have the capacity to understand communicate and process information.”

Simmons took some questions from the audience. A question was asked about the availability of primary care providers.

“There has been a lot of efforts to expand the incentives for primary care providers and emphasis on primary care physicians,” Simmons answered.

Marina Bradberry, education committee chair of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses Phoenix Chapter, said Simmons speech was “really informative for us and for the rest of the community.”

Bradberry added, “we are very active with the Affordable Care Act and we are trying to educate the public with the changes.”

She said the Affordable Care Act will, “definitely change the way we care for our patients, especially for the uninsured. It is more efficient. To me it has been such common sense.”

Edward “Tony” Ornelas, president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses Phoenix Chapter, cited the need for a stronger community based approach.

“We don’t have any type of support system in the community unless it is a family member,” he said.

Ornelas is optimistic about the effects of the Affordable Care Act. He believes that the new system is superior to the old system and will save the government money.

“It was always coming out of the taxpayer bill, it was always being footed by the taxpayer and Medicare itself in the next 20 years it would have bankrupted,” Ornelas said, adding that he thinks the Affordable Care Act will improve care for ASU students. He believes ASU will see, “full comprehensive care provided to students.”

Health sciences major Kylie Flickinger found Simmons speech really informative. She felt the health care changes “will help treat patients as a whole and not just their illness and help health literacy.”

Lisa Klein, a nursing major appreciated what Simmons had to say.

“I liked it a lot and I thought it helped improve the health literacy,” Klein said.

• Matt Covert is a sophomore at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He is interning this semester for the AFN.

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