The following press release from the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) identifies four Democrats (Sen. Janet Howell, Sen. George Barker, Del. Patrick Hope, Del Matthew James) and four Republicans (Sen. Stephen Newman, Sen. William Stanley, Del. Keith Hodges, Del. Christopher Stolle) as “Health Care Hero Award Recipients” for 2016.
You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m totally cool with the Democrats on this list, all of whom have strongly supported Medicaid expansion, as well as “responsibly reforming [Certificate of Public Need – COPN],” and – as the citation for Patrick Hope states – and “doing what is in the best interest of local hospitals and patients.”
You also won’t be surprised to hear that I’m less thrilled with the Republicans, who may have done good work on COPN and some other stuff, but who also opposed Medicaid expansion, which among other things would “help 400,000 uninsured Virginians, save money and lives, boost Virginia’s economy, and close the gaping coverage gap that is hurting nearly 200,000 Virginians.” Let’s just hope that we make progress on all these fronts in 2017 and beyond, which in turn will necessitate cooperation by the Republican-controlled General Assembly and whoever’s in the governor’s mansion (hopefully Ralph Northam!) starting in January 2018.
With that, here’s the press release from VHHA.
VHHA Honors 2016 HosPAC Health Care Hero Award Recipients
Eight Virginia General Assembly Members Who Exemplify Leadership on Health Care Issues Among This Year’s Winners
RICHMOND, VA – Eight esteemed state lawmakers are recipients of the 2016 HosPAC Health Care Hero Award that recognizes legislators who epitomize leadership, advocacy, and dedication to the mission of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association in the community and the Virginia General Assembly. Award recipients for 2016 are Senator George L. Barker (D-Fairfax County); Delegate M. Keith Hodges (R-Urbanna); Delegate Patrick A. Hope (D-Arlington County); Senator Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax County); Delegate Matthew James (D-Portsmouth); Senator Stephen D. Newman (R-Lynchburg); Senator William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin County); and Delegate Christopher P. Stolle (R-Virginia Beach).
Presented by VHHA’s HosPAC (political action committee), the awards are bestowed on elected officials who have a demonstrated record of supporting issues related to hospitals and health care, have taken important stands on behalf of hospitals and health care, have introduced or supported priority legislation impacting hospitals and health care, and shown proven leadership in effecting significant change to benefit hospitals and health care.
“Access to quality health care is important to the well-being of Virginians and the economic prosperity of the Commonwealth. Bi-partisan, common sense health care public policy decisions that support our health care system are vital to a healthy and productive Virginia,” said 2016 HosPAC Campaign Chair E.W. Tibbs Jr., the President and CEO of Lynchburg-based Centra Health System. “The eight Virginia citizen legislators selected as 2016 HosPAC Health Care Hero Award recipients have each worked to advance health care policy solutions in the General Assembly. On behalf of community hospitals and health systems across the Commonwealth, I applaud and congratulate these deserving awardees.”
“Advocating for complex health care policy isn’t always easy. It can take commitment and investment of time and effort to comprehend its intricacies. It is critically important to have engaged legislators take on these tough issues on behalf of the health care needs of all Virginians,” added HosPAC Board Chairman James W. Dunn, Vice President for Advocacy and Community Affairs with Bon Secours Virginia Health
System. “The health care community is grateful to have support from accomplished legislative leaders willing to passionately engage on such important public policy issues.”
The 2016 HosPAC Health Care Hero Award recipients are:
- Senator George L. Barker (D-Fairfax County). Senator Barker is widely recognized as one of the most knowledgeable legislators on health care issues. He has consistently championed proposals to improve the health of the Commonwealth, its hospitals, and citizens. Behavioral health has been a major focus for Senator Barker, who has offered many proposals to improve services and treatment for some of Virginia’s most needy. On Certificate of Public Need (COPN), Senator Barker’s efforts during the 2016 General Assembly session were critical in shaping the reform debate, and he continues to work as an effective advocate towards a sensible policy solution on that issue.
- Delegate M. Keith Hodges (R-Urbanna). As a pharmacist and hospital board member, Delegate Hodges’ deep knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing hospitals and Virginians is invaluable on the House of Delegates’ Health, Welfare, and Institutions (HWI) Committee. Delegate Hodges has demonstrated a commitment to doing what is in the best interest of local hospitals and patients during his General Assembly tenure. Nowhere is this commitment more evident than his steadfast support for responsibly reforming COPN.
- Delegate Patrick A. Hope (D-Arlington County). As a member of the HWI Committee, Delegate Hope continually demonstrates his commitment to his local hospitals and improving access to care throughout the Commonwealth. He has been an ardent and vocal supporter of helpful health care public policy initiatives in word and deed. Delegate Hope recognizes the challenges facing our health care system, and he demonstrates strong leadership on identifying innovative solutions to those challenges.
- Senator Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax County). For years, Senator Janet Howell has been a tireless champion for health care, including her years of service on the Senate Education and Health Committee. Senator Howell has been recognized nationally for her work on improving the health care of children in her district and throughout the state. She has also been a strong voice on mental health and health care access issues.
- Delegate Matthew James (D-Portsmouth). As an up and coming leader on the Appropriations and HWI committees, Delegate Matthew James’ engagement on health care issues is invaluable within the House of Delegates. Coupled with his experience as a hospital board member, Delegate James brings a deep understanding of the challenges facing access to health care and local hospitals. Delegate James has long advocated for effective solutions to addressing these challenges, including expanding access to care and responsibly reforming COPN.
- Senator Stephen D. Newman (R-Lynchburg). Senator Newman has long been focused on the “Virginia Way” – identifying complex policy challenges and working with diverse constituencies towards compromise. As Chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, Senator Newman takes that approach to addressing the difficult challenges facing our health care system. Senator Newman’s recognition that introducing more competition into our health care system requires the establishment of a level playing field in which market inequities faced by our hospitals are substantively addressed is a critical step in resolving the broader challenges facing our health care system.
- Senator William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin County). When it comes to advocating for solutions to the challenges facing our health care system, Senator Stanley has long been a leader in the Virginia Senate. In 2016, he championed VHHA-supported legislation to reform COPN, and to implement a new telemedicine pilot program for nurse practitioners to expand access to care. Senator Stanley has also led efforts to ensure more Virginia medical students stay in Virginia and practice in medically underserved communities. And he has shown a willingness to think creatively and advocate for achievable policies to improve the health of the Commonwealth.
- Delegate Christopher P. Stolle (R-Virginia Beach). Delegate Stolle is among the General Assembly’s most steadfast supporters of Virginia hospitals and health systems.As a legislator, physician by training, and a hospital administrator, Delegate Stolle is quite familiar with the challenges facing the Commonwealth’s health care system. He has been a vocal supporter of sensible COPN reform. In 2016, he carried VHHA-supported legislation to responsibly reform the program to make it work better for all constituents. He also carried legislation to implement a new pilot program to streamline the process for veterans with medical training to receive the additional training necessary to enter civilian practice. Throughout his time in the legislature, Delegate Stolle has advanced many policy proposals intended to improve the health of the Commonwealth, its citizens, and its hospitals.
This is the second year the HosPAC Health Care Hero Award has been bestowed on Virginia legislators. Award recipients from the 2015 inaugural class include Senator Emmett W. Hanger Jr. (R-Augusta County); Delegate Terry G. Kilgore (R-Gate City); Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax County); and Delegate David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville.). View the 2015 winners online here, and the 2016 recipients here.
About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 107 hospitals and 30 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its vision is to achieve excellence in both health care and health. Its vision is through the power of collaboration to be recognized as a driving force behind making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation.