Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones has appointed four members to the state's Health Policy Board, an independent agency created by the state's healthcare reform law, which went into effect July 15.
The board will be responsible for the establishment of a statewide purchasing alliance to buy insurance for a pool of employers and individuals who don't now offer or have health coverage.
"The first thing the board will have to do is collect information on healthcare costs charged by providers for specific services," said Sarah Nicholson, vice president of legislative services for the Kentucky Hospital Association.
The state's Health Care Reform Act calls for a program allowing citizens to purchase insurance coverage now provided to state employees and also includes Medicaid cost-containment measures.
Critics of the legislation have said the proposed alliance will promote healthcare rate setting.
The new board will be responsible for instituting insurance reforms, such as defining up to five standard health insurance benefit plans to be offered by companies doing business in the state; overseeing the formation of healthcare delivery networks, especially in rural areas; and determining shortages of healthcare professionals in certain parts of the state.
The appointees are:
Donald B. Clapp, the University of Kentucky's vice president of administration and a former vice chancellor of the university's medical center, who will serve as chairman of the board.
Beverly M. Gaines, M.D., a pediatrician from Louisville.
Michael J. Hammons, former chairman of St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Covington and a member of the governor's staff.
Sister Michael Leo Mullaney, associate director of the newly formed Catholic Conference of Kentucky, former president of St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington and former head of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth hospitals.