Matthew Heinz, MD, a hospitalist from Tucson, Ariz., has been appointed director of provider outreach at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a position the agency created specifically to educate the public on health-care policies.
A practicing hospitalist at Tucson Medical Center and a former Arizona state legislator, Dr. Heinz travels to Washington a couple of weekends a month to work directly with healthcare providers, community leaders, and LGBT groups to provide information about implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including its coverage options and the enrollment period that started Oct. 1. He then brings questions and concerns back to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius directly.
"Serving as a resource for providers and the community is a great honor," Dr. Heinz says. "It is an exciting time to be part of the Department of Health and Human Services; so much is happening with healthcare due to the ACA."
As a hospitalist for seven years, he says he understands what it means to be uninsured in America and what it can do to families economically. "I see firsthand how profoundly the lack of health insurance affects my patients," he says. "We have to make implementing the Affordable Care Act a priority, as providers, to help these families and individuals get the medical care that they need.
"This kind of change [in policies] hasn't been attempted since Medicare in the 1970s," Dr. Heinz says of the ACA. "It is a unique time and place. I'm pleased and honored that I am able to serve in this way."