Changes may be coming that will affect health care for everyone.

To help Wayne County residents better understand proposed legislation affecting employees under the State Health Plan, as well as changes to Medicaid administration planned later this year, there will be a Health Care Luncheon on Thursday from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Goldsboro Event Center.

The annual Wayne County Chamber of Commerce luncheon is planned to include state and industry experts who will talk about proposed changes to health care delivery in the region.

“It affects everybody,” said Kate Daniels, Wayne County Chamber of Commerce president and executive director. “We invite the entire community to attend.

“We hope people take away how incredibly important it is to be abreast of decisions being made at the state and federal levels and what that’s going to mean for our community. Everybody wants access to health care, but plans are being made that may affect that access to care.”

Janie Jaberg, Wayne UNC president and chief executive officer, will be one of the speakers at the luncheon.

“Over the last two years, Wayne UNC has worked hard to raise the standard of health care for our community, recruiting expert physicians in a range of specialties, developing state-of-the-art facilities and improving both our service lines and quality of our care,” Jaberg said. “Some of this pending legislation has the potential to curb our hospital’s ability to provide services our community needs and hinder our community’s access to care.”

Daniels said the future of the hospital and the care it provides are essential to Wayne County residents.

“As the county’s third largest employer, Wayne UNC is an important economic driver for the community,” Daniels said.

“The last decade has brought a tremendous amount of change to how health care is delivered. Now, more than ever, communities need to be informed of what proposed changes could mean to community hospitals in North Carolina and right here at home.”

Daniels said if the proposed changes are made, small rural hospitals would either not be able to survive or would be able to survive only a year or two.

“If hospitals are not able to serve their communities, where would people go?” she asked.

Also speaking will be Cody Hand, N.C. Healthcare Association vice president, government relations and deputy general counsel, who will give the big picture of what’s going on in the state with health care and what the challenges are.

Sen. Jim Perry, R-District 7, and Rep. Raymond Smith, D-District 21, are also planning to attend to talk to those attending the health care luncheon.

The cost of the luncheon is $25 for chamber members and $35 for nonmembers. For reservations, contact Linda Murray at lindam@waynecountychamber.com or 9190734-2241. The Goldsboro Event Center is located at 1501 S. Slocumb St.

Groups partnering to sponsor the luncheon include Wayne UNC Health Care, Wayne County government, 3HC, Professional Data Management, Willow Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Brian Center of Goldsboro and Crawford-Henderson Insurance.