Yesterday, October 6, I attended a meeting with Kay Hagan on health care with several groups in her Greensboro office. The Health Leadership Council, represented by Mr. Crone set the agenda. It was a brief meeting since the Senator was having back to back meetings all day. I was amazed at how much information was covered and how knowledgeable Senator Hagan was.
First, the course of Health Information Technologies, HIT, under the new Health Care Law was discussed. The pros are better care, less error, and cost savings down the road. The sticking point seems to be the upfront cost to providers. Senator Hagan made a good point, computer technology is used everywhere else in the business world today. The Health Care Law has 19 Billion Dollars set aside to help providers implement HIT. So far the State of North Carolina has received 60 million in stimulus dollars for HIT.
Second, the important topic was funding medical education for Family Doctors, Internal Medicine, Nurses and P.A.s. ECU is working on funding education in these area, especially to have these professionals in rural areas. Senator Hagan mentioned a program UNC has to fund army medics leaving the service from Fort Bragg to become nurse, paramedics, and PAs.
Third, the expansion of Novonordisk in Clayton and a new plant in Asheville which means more medical manufacturing jobs.
Forth, was a bill going through congress dealing with diabetes screening and the importance of health studies equally done in minority communities.
Fifth, small business and insurance under the new health care law. Before the law went in the increases were making many small business have to drop insurance. Now 112,000 small businesses are eligible for tax credits.
Then very briefly chronic case management and wellness were mentioned. The importance of the high risk pools for those who can not get insurance. Last, the national registry of MS and Parkison’s patients, to determine research funding and the like.