Health Care Reform Task Force Considers Solutions to Improve Quality Care for Rural Georgians

July 10, 2017

TIFTON, Ga. July 10, 2017 – Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, along with Sens. Renee Unterman, Dean Burke, Chuck Hufstetler, Ben Watson, Kay Kirkpatrick, Jack Hill and Doc Rhett, held the third meeting of Georgia’s Health Care Reform Task Force. They were joined by representatives from Tift Regional Medical Center, Emory University, and Dr. Keith J. Mueller, Interim Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa. Members of the task force discussed policies that will elevate Georgia as a leader in advancing patient-centered health care reforms. 


“Statewide, our poverty rate among children hovers at about 25%. In 40 counties – including right here in Tift County – 40% or more of our kids are living in poverty,” said Lt. Governor Cagle. “It is up to us to find solutions that allow hardworking Georgians to keep more of what they earn. And as our work with the Health Care Reform Task Force continues, it will be up to us to work with issuers, providers, and stakeholders in every community of our state to innovate and lower the costs of care, premiums, and deductibles so that our families have access to the care we need, at a price we can all afford. ”

"Tift Regional Health System was honored to host the Georgia Health Care Reform Task Force meeting at our main campus,” said William T. Richardson, President and CEO of Tift Regional Health System. “We greatly appreciate this group and their resolve to tackle the current challenges facing healthcare in our state. Tift Regional is also proud to present to this group some of the innovative programs we have launched in order to better address common healthcare issues among rural Georgians."

Dr. Greg Esper said: “We at Emory are pleased to participate in the discussion convened by the Lt. Governor regarding telehealth. Our faculty and administration is committed to working to advance health care for Georgians and to help solve the problems of access and cost of health care which patients and their families are facing throughout the state. One of the ways that we aim to do this is through Emory's Virtual Patient Care program, which aims to establish outstanding care for patients at the right time, the right place, and with the greatest efficiency. We are excited to partner with our affiliate health systems, the outstanding clinicians that care for patients across Georgia, the Department of Public Health, our legislators, and others as we develop telehealth solutions to improve the health of our people.”

“Georgia’s Health Care Reform Task Force has a unique and exciting opportunity to design and implement public policies that facilitate reshaping the delivery system in ways that achieve goals of population health improvement at affordable costs,” said Dr. Keith Mueller. “By adapting and adopting innovative approaches that advance the health of the population while addressing needs to be cost-effective and stabilizing a sustainable delivery system, Georgia can be a leader in health care reform.”

The next meeting of the Health Care Reform Task Force will be held on August 28, 2017 in Northwest Georgia. 

 

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