Regional U.S. Health Chief Hears Elder Long-Term Care, Prescription Cost Concerns

Joan Hatem Roy, chief executive officer of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, during a WHAV Open Mic Show appearance. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley CEO Joan Hatem-Roy on WHAV’s Open Mic Show last year. (WHAV file photograph.)

The high cost of prescription drugs, opioid crisis and long-term care needs of older residents were among the messages the federal government’s chief health official heard when he visited Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and the Lawrence Council on Aging.

John G. McGough, regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently visited the City of Lawrence to learn about aging programs for community elders. Joan Hatem-Roy, Elder Services’ chief executive officer, thanked McGough for taking time out to meet with staff to discuss important issues for older Americans.

“I was very pleased to meet with Director McGough to showcase our agency and the work we do on behalf of older adults and persons with disabilities,” Hatem-Roy said. “It was also a great opportunity to represent the Merrimack Valley and talk directly to someone from the leadership team of the federal government about the needs of our oldest consumers,” she added.

Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley’s service area is comprised of 23 area communities including Haverhill, Methuen and Andover.

Appointed by President Donald Trump in January 2018, McGough is the primary regional representative for the secretary of Health and Human Services. He is responsible for the six New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as the region’s 10 federally recognized tribes.

Prior to his appointment, McGough served as chief of staff for Maine’s Republican Gov. Paul R. LePage for seven years.