Affordable Care Act summit set for Friday

The Merced County Department of Public Health will host an Affordable Care Act summit on Friday with the purpose of reviewing the expansion of health care coverage thus far and addressing the next steps for continuation of coverage.

“Harnessing the Momentum: From Coverage to Care” will take place at Yosemite Church, 2230 E. Yosemite Ave., Merced. Registration will open at 8 a.m., and the summit will conclude at 1 p.m. The event is open to the public free of charge.

According to officials, topics will cover the ACA’s new mental health care benefits as well as the development of programs for low-income and previously uninsured residents.

The event’s keynote speakers will be Diana S. Dooley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, and Dr. Tony Iton, senior vice president of the California Endowment.

Dooley, who leads 13 state departments within the agency, was appointed secretary in 2010 by Gov. Jerry Brown. She also served as president of Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera.

Prior to joining California Endowment, Iton served as director and health officer of the Alameda County Public Health Department for seven years. There he oversaw a budget of $112 million, with a focus on preventing communicable disease outbreaks, reducing the burden of chronic disease and obesity, according to his biography on the endowment website.

Additional speakers will include Xavier Morales, director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, and Sandra Naylor-Goodwin, chief executive officer at the California Institute for Mental Health.

“It’s important for consumers to come out because we’ll be talking about services available for them,” said Kathleen Grassi, Merced County Public Health director. “There will be information regarding how to go about making sure consumers qualify for insurance, either Medi-Cal or Covered California, and there will be experts they can talk to if they have any questions.”

Summit registration closes at 5 p.m. today. To register, go to: