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Roshell Receives Presidential Appointment as Regional Director of Health and Human Services

by Amanda Smith

In July of 2012, Dr. Pamela Roshell was appointed by President Barack Obama as Regional Director of Region IV of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), bringing nearly 20 years of experience in health care policy, public administration, and gerontology to the position.

A native of South Carolina, Dr. Roshell is a graduate of Columbia College, and received a Master of Social Work degree with a specialty in Administration from the University of South Carolina. She has built on that specialty with the completion of a PhD in Social Policy Analysis, Planning and Administration from Clark Atlanta University.

Prior to her presidential appointment, Dr. Roshell served as State Director of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) in Georgia and South Carolina. Before being named State Director for AARP in South Carolina, she performed health policy education, program design and implementation activities for AARP's Southeast Region. In this capacity, Dr. Roshell assisted policy-makers and state and community-based organizations develop and implement evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention programs for older adults. Before joining AARP, she managed Medicaid Waiver services for the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) Development Center, providing program streamlining and process improvement efforts.

Region IV is HHS's largest region in population and domestic geography and is composed of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. HHS is the federal government's lead agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. The Department has over 300 programs covering a wide spectrum of activities including public health, health care, financing, family support, social services, emergency preparedness and food and drug safety. As Regional Director, Dr. Roshell will represent the Secretary in direct official dealings with federal, state, local and tribal government organizations, and other external partners in the Region.

Dr. Roshell will be responsible for the implementation of Obama's ACA (Affordable Care Act) throughout the eight states that make up Region IV. The first black female to hold the position of Regional Director of the Department of Health and Human Services, Roshell assists consumers with issues related to their health care and helps individuals navigate the bureaucracy of the health care system.

"It is an honor to serve in this administration," said Dr. Roshell. "My goal is to strengthen healthcare; advance scientific knowledge and innovation; increase transparency and accountability within HHS; and advance the health, safety and well being of all Americans."

The Affordable Care Act helps millions of Americans by forcing insurance companies to play by the rules, prohibiting them from dropping your coverage if you get sick, billing you into bankruptcy because of an annual or lifetime limit, and soon, discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition.  Insurance companies must now cover preventive health care services as well, such as mammograms and other cancer screenings.

Other benefits of the ACA include

• Providing new coverage options for young adults by allowing parents to keep their children under age 26 on their family coverage plan. As of December 2011, 123,000 young adults in Georgia gained insurance coverage as a result of the new health care law.

• Covering preventive services with no deductible or co-pay -
In 2011, 851,076 people with Medicare in Georgia received free preventive services - such as mammograms and colonoscopies - or a free annual wellness visit with their doctor. And in the first six months of 2012, 482,751 people with Medicare received free preventive services. Because of the law, 54 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 1,713,000 in Georgia.  But for women especially, it’s a new day.  Beginning August 1, women in Georgia can now get coverage -- without cost-sharing -- of even more preventive services they need.  Approximately 47 million women will now have guaranteed access to additional preventive services without cost-sharing for policies renewing on or after August 1, 2012, including 1,481,402 in Georgia.

Another benefit of the ACA is the Medicare provision of a 50% discount on prescription medicines. "Many people mistakenly think that the ACA eliminates or negatively impacts Medicare, but in fact, it strengthens it," said Roshell. "I would recommend that anyone who wants to learn more about the many benefits of the ACA, visit the website at www.health.go."

Pamela Roshell
Dr. Pamela Roshell
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