July 11 event to look at questions pertaining to health care

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To the Editor;
Access to and options around health care impacts our daily lives in ways large and small. For rural Mainers, this is especially true. A 2016 report published by the Maine Health Access Foundation and the USM Muskie School of Public Service concluded that one in five people in our county are living with a disability, and that residents of rural counties like ours report worse health outcomes than urban people and more often experience multiple chronic health conditions.

I am especially concerned about the lack of access to reproductive health care. Piscataquis County does not have a family planning clinic; the closest is in Dexter in Penobscot County, and only open one day per week. How does our ability or inability to see providers — for everything from annual checkups, to teeth cleanings to birth control and knee surgery — impact our work lives and overall quality of life? I believe healthcare access is a very important issue to consider when voting in elections this November, and at all times. What is at stake for women and families in Piscataquis County around access to health care, resources, and opportunity? Who will be a champion for improving access to care for Dover-Foxcroft and other rural communities?

I am working with Maine Family Planning to host an interactive and family-friendly civic engagement event at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11 at the Commons at Central Hall in Dover-Foxcroft to address these very questions. The event includes a community dialogue of issues most important to attendees as well as a workshop on holding values-based conversations about political community issues and elections. Refreshments are provided and it is open to all. Please join me for this important discussion.

Trisha Smith

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