Hilltown Voices: Forum on changing healthcare landscape coming to Worthington Town Hall

For the Gazette
Friday, May 19, 2017

If you are finding yourself bewildered or befuddled by changing information on healthcare and health insurance in Massachusetts, a forum entitled “Facts + Options + Action” will be offered in Worthington on Wednesday to help individuals better understand their options in the changing landscape of healthcare issues.

Hosted by Citizens 4 Healthcare Action, the forum will feature four speakers: former state senator Michael Knapik, of West Springfield, who is now the director of Gov. Charlie Baker’s Springfield office; state Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington; Eliza Lake, who is CEO of the Hilltown Community Health Centers; and Jackie Wolf, a co-chair of the Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care.

“We have a Democrat, a Republican, a person who runs a health center and a health care activist, so I am looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say,” said Pam Thompson of Citizens 4 Healthcare Action.

Speakers will discuss what the Baker administration is doing now on issues of health care and what changes may be coming in the future, as well as addressing specific legislation and budget concerns. They also will talk about services available through the Hilltown Community Health Centers, the issues health centers face across the state, as well as the topic of single payer healthcare.

Health insurance navigators from Hilltown Community Health Centers will be available to answer specific questions from individuals about their options for health insurance, including MassHealth/Medicaid and Medicare, or to schedule appointments for more extensive conversations.

“Everyone that I know is worried about what is happening with health insurance and there is a lot of confusion at the moment,” Thompson said. “People are scared about what might happen, so the first step is to get more information.”

Peggy Klineman of Worthington said that the Citizens 4 Healthcare Action group formed this winter in response to changes to the health care system being discussed at the federal level. This will be the group’s first event.

“It is a really important issue and it affects everybody,” Klineman said.

The forum will take place at the Worthington Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. on May 24.

For more information, email citizens4healthcareaction@gmail.com.

Plainfield Memorial Day

On May 29, Plainfield will celebrate Memorial Day with a parade and a traditional ham-and-bean dinner.

Members of the Plainfield Historical Society will be preparing and serving the dinner for Plainfield residents and their guests. The meal will begin at noon at Town Hall.

Pies from some of Plainfield’s top pie makers will be served for dessert, and will also be available for auction.

Following the midday meal, the parade is set to begin at 1 p.m. at Union Street between Town Hall and Plainfield Congregational Church. The parade will proceed east on Route 116 to Central Street, and north on Central to the Hilltop Cemetery for the ceremony, and will then return to the War Memorial at the church via the same route for the concluding ceremony.

The parade will feature the American Legion Color Guard, Plainfield veterans and town officials, the Mohawk Trail Regional High School Band, the Plainfield fire truck, scouts and vintage vehicles.

Any interested Plainfield residents and guests who wish to march are welcome, and will be issued an American flag to carry in the parade.

Plainfield veterans are encouraged to march in the parade, and to gather at 12:45 p.m. at the Town Hall.

Contributions for the dinner will go towards preserving the papers, records, and memorabilia of the Plainfield Grange.

In case of inclement weather, the parade will be cancelled and a Memorial Day Ceremony will take place in the church at 1 p.m.

Plant sale Saturday

The First Congregational Church of Williamsburg will hold a plant and bake sale Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Grange Hall located at 10 Main St.

The plant sale will feature a wide assortment of perennials, annuals and hanging plants. A selection of baked goods, casseroles, jams, jellies, baked beans and maple products also will be for sale.

All proceeds support the church’s missionary projects, including local causes and at seminaries.

Ideas for this column on life in the Hilltowns can be sent to Fran Ryan at fryan.gazette@gmail.com.