GREENVILLE — President and CEO of Wayne HealthCare, Wayne Deschambeau, was recently appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services or NACRHHS.
As a committee member, Deschambeau spent four days in Washington D.C. to discuss topics that fall under the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) authority. The challenge set before him was to identify areas that not only fall under rural-specific criteria but issues to be examined in-depth and in the field.
The position, an SGE (Special Government Employee) is a four-year appointment that starts in September. The committee meets three to four times a year with one meeting held in D.C. Other meetings are in direct observation and to make recommendations according to the topics voted on by the committee. For example, last year, the NACRHHS committee examined and made recommendations on rural cancer prevention and control as well as supportive services and caregiving for older adults in rural America.
In D.C., representatives from every agency in the federal government tied to healthcare brought the 21-member committee “up to speed on what they are doing” and what they need to be doing, explained Deschambeau. Over the first three days, a determination was made on what topics were critical to the committee. The last day was spent voting on and prioritizing the chosen topics and related meeting locations.
Deschambeau shared the committee chose to look at rural maternal and infant health and substance abuse. The committee will next meet in the Atlanta region as Georgia has the highest maternal and infant mortality rate in the country. They will also meet in the Phoenix region of Arizona as the site of the largest Indian reservations in the country.
“The death rate that they have related to drugs is double in the worst urban environment,” explained Deschambeau. He noted alcohol abuse and suicide as significant factors in the region, too.
This unique opportunity was brought to Deschambeau’s attention via State Representative Susan Manchester who informed him about NACRHHS openings, citing him as a good fit.
Deschambeau applied last winter, and after a significant vetting and ethics process, he was accepted as an SGE. An SGE is an officer or employee who, according to the United States Office of Government Ethics, is retained, designated, appointed, or employed to perform temporary duties.
For the NACRHHS, it is an unpaid position.
Deschambeau attended the 86th meeting for the NACRHHS committee which was chartered in 1987. The current committee is composed of nationally recognized rural health experts. Those individuals include not only CEOs similar to Deschambeau but other individuals from physicians to university professors, among others.
After four days, Deschambeau says he not only learned quite a bit but was impressed with other committee members extensive healthcare experience. He shared the imperative of learning from individuals in differing parts of healthcare to him and the ability to share observations and opinions.
Wayne Deschambeau was born and raised in Chicago and served in the Air Force and Illinois Air National Guard. He has been with Wayne Healthcare for 14 years and served as CEO for several hospitals in several states before moving to Greenville with his wife, Sharon, president of the Darke County Chamber of Commerce.