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Virtual Forum: COVID-19 and the Health Insurance Coverage Gap in Western North Carolina

September 2, 2020 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm


Register here!

Care4Carolina and the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina are proud to co-host a virtual forum for western North Carolina with AMY Wellness Foundation, Western Carolina Medical Society, Blue Ridge Health, WNC Bridge Foundation, Pisgah Health Foundation, and UNC Health Sciences MAHEC. 

The virtual forum will focus on how COVID-19 and the health insurance coverage gap have impacted the western part of the state. Our expert panel of speakers will provide local perspectives on the issue and discuss a variety of topics, including: the economic impact of the pandemic and rising unemployment rates, challenges to our health systems, health disparities, and the struggles that community health and public health professionals face in confronting the virus.

We will discuss how closing the health insurance coverage gap is vital to the health of our citizens, and to alleviating the devastating impacts of this pandemic.

Additionally, Care4Carolina’s Director, Erica Palmer Smith, will offer insight on policy options to address some of the concerns discussed during the forum.

Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with the panel and fellow participants to discuss the health care issues our state is facing related to the health insurance coverage gap.

This virtual forum will take place over Zoom.

Click here to register for this event. Participants will receive a confirmation email following registration with the Zoom link to join the forum. Registration is required.

The forum agenda with speaker information is included below.



Welcome and Overview

Peg O’Connell, Chair, Care4Carolina Coalition

Economic Impact on North Carolina

Jason Gray, Senior Fellow for Research and Policy, NC Rural Center

County Government Perspective

Becky Garland, County Manager, Finance Officer, Graham County

Community Health Perspective

Richard Hudspeth, M.D., CEO, Blue Ridge Health

Chamber of Commerce Perspective

Steve Bush, Executive Director, McDowell County Chamber of Commerce

Physician Perspective

Susan Mims, M.D., MPH, FAAP, Chair, Department of Community and Public Health, MAHEC

North Carolina’s Policy Opportunity

Erica Palmer Smith, Director, Care4Carolina Coalition

Facilitated Discussion

Peg O’Connell



September 2, 2020
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina


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