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"The Valley's View" to discuss health care cost crisis and state budget implications April 27

April 18, 2003

NR03071

The University of Maine at Fort Kent and Northern Maine Medical Center monthly public affairs television program "The Valley's View," will take a look at how state budget cutbacks will further impact local healthcare, when the program airs on WAGM-TV, Sunday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m.

The half-hour show, which takes an in-depth look at contemporary issues using local experts as guests to address the selected topics, will be taped on-location at Northern Maine Medical Center.

The program will center on how proposed state budget cuts could dramatically impact rural Maine hospitals, like NMMC, and how that will, in turn, impact the services provided to area residents.

Guests will include Roger Lagasse, chief financial officer at NMMC and Peter Sirois, associate administrator at the hospital.

Lagasse and Sirois will discuss what specific implications the governor's current budget would have on the average healthcare consumer, the impact that cuts in Medicaid reimbursement will have on the system, the outlook for the future, and other areas related to healthcare financing.

Maine's proposed biennial budget includes more than $58 million in proposed cuts to hospitals, including NMMC. The cuts range from elimination of the inpatient cost of living adjustment and across the board reductions to inpatient reimbursement, to cuts in outpatient reimbursement, and elimination of bonus and relief payments.

Also appearing on the program will be Joanne Fortin, director of nursing at NMMC and Jenny Radsma, a UMFK nursing professor.

Fortin and Radsma will add to the discussion on cutbacks in the healthcare industry and the specific impact cuts could have on their profession, which is already experiencing a shortage of personnel.

"We have heard so much about the proposed cuts to the state's healthcare industry in recent weeks and months, but have yet to hear how these cuts will specifically impact local hospitals and the services they provide. Our program will look at exactly what cuts in Augusta and Washington will mean for the people of the Valley and Northern Maine," said Jason Parent, Valley's View host and director of university relations at UMFK.

Also part of the program will be the "College Question," a segment that will look at new and exciting developments on the UMFK campus, and "Your Healthcare Connection" which will look at concerns in healthcare, using professionals from NMMC.

The show will fall in the middle of a two-hour news block with the "CBS Evening News" as a lead-in, and the very popular "60 Minutes" airing immediately afterward.