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Ghana: West Africa's Gateway Country; Dr. Farzad Mostashari Presents at The City Club

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Our last event for Wednesday took us to the Shaker Heights Library on Van Aken Blvd. where we attended a presentation by Ms. Mary N. Oluonye, noted  author, regarding Ghana which the advertisement for the event dubbed "West Africa's Gateway Country".

From Ms. Oluonye, we learned that despite Ghana's unfortunate history of being a home for slave trading, it is now a kind, gentle and easy place to visit wherein tourists are welcomed and there are accommodations for people of all income levels. To be sure, entrepreneurism is thriving there although U.S. businesspeople have been slow to recognize that opportunities that Ghana has to offer. Technology is mostly up-to-date and the U.S. dollar is quite strong in Ghana so a person with a small pension could comfortably retire there as a small but telling number of African-Americans have chosen to do. Ms. Oluonye also spoke highly of the nutritious food that she had while she traveled there and showed us slides that depicted the countryside, cities, and beaches as being quite lovely.

In order to travel to Ghana, one needs a visa and a passport and should plan on a 10 day trip in order to experience the country as a whole. As for herself, Ms. Oluonye first visited Ghana in 2015 and took another trip there last summer and plans even more visits. She then spoke a little bit about herself and we learned that she is a dual citizen of the United States and Nigeria since her mother is U.S.-born and her father is from Nigeria.

Later, we looked up her website at maryoluonye.net where we learned that Ms. Oluonye was born in Cleveland and traveled back and forth between the United States and Nigeria continuously through childhood attending schools in both countries. Ultimately, she graduated from the University of Windsor in Ontario and worked for a while at an important university in Nigeria before returning to Ohio. In addition to be an author and lecturer, she is the Director of "Celmar Travel and Tours".

On her website she wrote, "as a Nigerian-American, living in two different cultures was a great way to grow up. It made me very interested in learning about different people and places, and respectful of people and their cultures and traditions..."

It was also written that "she believes that we all need to be more aware of the world by learning about people different from ourselves. In this way, we can live as better global citizens."

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On Thursday, October 26th, we went back to the City Club for another presentation pertaining to health care that featured Dr. Farzad Mostashari; Co-Founder and CEO at "Aledade, Inc." and the former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services; making the case for value-based health care which, according to recycleintelligence.com, could be defined as "a form of reimbursement that ties payments for care delivery to the quality of care provided and rewards providers for both efficiency and effectiveness. This form of reimbursement has emerged as an alternative and potential replacement for fee-for-service reimbursement which pays providers retrospectively for services delivered based on bill charges or annual fee schedules."

Dr. Mostashari contended that the ultimate goals of a successful health-care model are outstanding treatment for patients and that this treatment be rendered in the most economical efficient way possible. An excellent question that could be asked would be would you want this for your mom? He went on to talk about a not-too-good experience that his own mother had at a hospital when she had to undergo knee surgery and how it motivated him to explore better ways of rendering care.

Another point that Dr. Mostashari effectively made is that the doctors, nurses, providers, etc. are doing the best that they can; it is the system that they have to operate under that is at the root of the problem. Accordingly, his company, "Adelade, Inc." partners with doctors and providers wishing to move away from fee-for-service and practice in the value-based care mode. 

On this day, the program at the City Club was the "Medical Mutual of Ohio Endowed Forum on Health Care" which was sponsored by the "Cleveland Clinic", "Medical Mutual", and "MetroHealth" and was attended by quite a few people who work in the medical profession in some capacity including those from the "Better Health Partnership" in Cleveland.

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Accordingly, we got to talk to Dr. Robert Hobbs, President of "The Academy of Medicine" about the Issue 2 debate the previous day which he attended. To be sure, Issue 2 came up in a couple of other conversations we had including one with a young man who listened to it on the radio; he was there with his classmates and teacher from North Olmsted High School.

During lunch we shared a table with several people from "Hospice of the Western Reserve" and with Mr. Ronald M. McMillan and Ms. Sarah M. Cleves, both of them attorneys from "Calfee, Halter, & Griswold, LLP". We told Mr. McMillan about Mr. William Miller, an attorney who worked at "Calfee...", being honored by the "Swedish Cultural Society" the previous weekend and, as it turned out, Mr. McMillan knew him well and said he was a fine person to work with.

Another point that Dr. Mostashari effectively made is that the doctors, nurses, providers, etc. are doing the best that they can; it is the system that they have to operate under that is at the root of the problem. 

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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