October 2-4, 2013
Wyoming Union, University of Wyoming Campus, Laramie, WY

The 13th Consumer Issues Conference was on October 2nd – 4th with the theme of "Navigating the New Healthcare Market". The conference featured speakers in three tracks (Innovative Directions in Healthcare, Legal Horizons in Healthcare and Consumer Compass to Healthcare), an information fair, an academic and project poster display, a movie screening and a health fair. The conference was very well attended despite late fall snow storm.

Check out videos of the sessions on our YouTube channel.

Follow plans for the 14th Consumer Issues Conference next year at University of Wyoming on our Facebook page.

Why This Theme?

The rising costs of healthcare and the issue of lack of access to healthcare for millions of uninsured Americans led to the passage by Congress in 2010 of the federal Affordable Care Act or ACA. Many of the provisions of that Act will be taking effect in 2013 or 2014. The law has also passed constitutional muster in the U.S. Supreme Court as of June 2012. The new law, with its promise of major changes in the healthcare market, will affect all American consumers. We believe this is a timely topic that is now ripe for discussion. Given the fact that there is much unexplored territory ahead in this area, we have chosen the theme of "Navigating the New Healthcare Market".

It will be a period of change and new ideas, hence we plan a "track" dealing with "Innovative Directions" in healthcare. This track includes topics such as electronic medical records, new "patient centric" and "team care" models for patient care, online pharmacies and other health services, and the use of "telehealth" systems to bring patients in "virtual" contact with distance providers. Legal issues ("Legal Horizons" track) will loom large in this new era in American health care on both the federal and state levels. We plan to have a speaker on the basics of the ACA, Medicaid expansion in the states, a discussion comparing the state implementations of the ACA in Wyoming, Colorado and perhaps other states, and a presentation on last year’s Supreme Court case upholding the new law. Other legal issues include privacy issues, healthcare issues affecting gay/lesbian partners, nursing home contracts and other "end of life" issues, and access to healthcare for immigrants and minorities. The final track, "Consumer Compass" is meant to help consumers find some direction on healthcare issues and policies. In this area, we plan to have speakers covering such topics as long term care, healthcare "literacy" education, mental health needs on campus, and insurance information for college students. We also plan to have an "active" exhibits area during the conference where participants can interact with health care professionals to gain personalized advice and information.

Why This Conference?

The consumer issues conference is a well-established annual event on the campus of the University of Wyoming. The conference brings together experts, policy makers, and academics from a variety of disciplines. It is a joint project of several colleges, including the Colleges of Law, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Business, and Health Sciences. The conference is unique in its appeal to a broad range of participants, including students, faculty, professionals, government officials and the general public. It puts the University’s best foot forward as a center for research, thought, dialogue and communication of information and ideas for action. We hope to provide a springboard for individual and collective action to address issues that come up in the course of the conference. We hope the conference will be only a beginning of ongoing networking and conversations leading to action that constitutes a win-win solution for all concerned.

Speakers and Topics

Documentary Film: "Escape Fire: The Fight to Resuce American Healthcare" – overview of policy issues in U.S. healthcare

Keynote Speakers:

  • Steven Brill, author of the groundbreaking Time magazine article "Bitter Pill," which addresses the problem of ever-increasing healthcare costs in the U.S. He will appear by videoconference.
  • UW Law Professor Stephen Feldman on the Supreme Court case upholding the Affordable Care Act
  • University of Maryland Professor Bonnie Braun on Healthcare Literacy
  • AARP State Affairs Director Elaine Ryan on ACA implementation

CLE Credit Available

The conference is preapproved for 10.5 CLE credits by the Wyoming and Colorado State Bars.

Call for Posters

Posters profiling project or academic research are welcome. Please submit an abstract (up to 250 words) on the poster content. With the submission, provide your contact information (name, title, affiliation, e-mail and phone number) and whether your poster is research or project oriented. The posters are to be available during the conference in the conference venue (the Wyoming Union on the campus of the University of Wyoming) by 8:15 am on 3 October 2013 and should remain up until 10:15 on 4 October. During the afternoon break on the 3rd, authors should be next to their posters to discuss their work and answer questions. Submissions will be reviewed as they come in. The deadline for submissions is Friday, 20 September. Submission guidelines and presentation tips are available.

Call for Exhibitors

Exhibitors are welcome to reserve a table at the conference to display information of use to participants. To request exhibit space, please complete the "Call for Conference Exhibitors" form by September 28. The specific theme of the Consumer Issues Conference changes each year but consumer education exhibits on topics broader than the conference theme are welcome. There is no fee to be an exhibitor, but the conference planning committee will screen applications in order to ensure that that focus will be preserved.

Current Exhibitors include:

  • UW Student Legal Services Program
  • Wyoming Department of Health Office of Multicultural Health
  • Wyoming Aging and Disability Resource Center (SW-WRAP)
  • UW Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
  • UW Cooperative Extension Service
  • Wyoming Geriatric Education Center
  • Wyoming Agrability
  • Wyoming Assistive Technology Resources
  • Xerox CGS-WYhealth
  • Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • UW Mental Health Awareness Committee
  • UW Family and Consumer Sciences “Community Nutrition” Class Project
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Ivinson Memorial Hospital
  • National Library of Medicine at the UW Libraries
  • AARP
  • Wyoming Health Council
  • MyWy Health – Health Information Exchange

Call for Health Fair Exhibitors

We are seeking health-related exhibitors to participate in an Interactive Health Fair from 1-4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4th. This is a wonderful opportunity to educate consumers about health-related product(s) or activities (e.g., cooking, gardening, pilates, yoga). To request exhibit space, please complete the "Health Fair Exhibitor" form by September 15th. There is no fee to exhibit in the Interactive Health Fair; however, the conference planning committee will screen applications in order to ensure that that focus will be preserved. All exhibitors will receive confirmation of participation by September 20, 2013.