Cline Health

U.S. Rep. Ben Cline, R-Lexington, center, was part of a health care discussion with area leaders on Tuesday.

HARRISONBURG — U.S. Rep. Ben Cline, R-Lexington, joined several health care leaders on Tuesday for a roundtable discussion on medical and health issues.

The discussion was hosted by Better Care America, a nationwide health care education project powered by insurance plans, patients and partners in America, according to its website.

Cline was joined by Lisa Bricker, executive director of the Community Health Center in Harrisonburg; Dr. Edward Sandy II, president of Sentara RMH Medical Group; and Beth Bland, director of senior services in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County and director of development for Valley Program for Aging Services.

Also in attendance were Jim Dau, state director of AARP Virginia; Amy Mutter, president of the Southwest Chapter of the Virginia Health Underwriters Association; Greg Madsen, CEO of Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital; Jennifer Hall, director of the Public Health Program at University of Lynchburg; Christopher West, partner with Jackson West Consulting; and Pam Murphy, executive director of the Shenandoah Community Health Clinic.

The focus of Tuesday’s discussion dealt with how policymakers and the public can partner to ensure Virginians have access to quality, affordable health care coverage, according to the release. Health care leaders also touched on how programs, such as Medicare Advantage, are already working to improve the health care system.

Medicare Advantage, a health insurance plan that provides coverage within part C of Medicare, was chosen by more than 267,000 of Virginia’s seniors — 27,647 in Cline’s district — for their health needs, according to a press release.

Cline thanked Better Care America for hosting the “important discussion on improving care across the Commonwealth and the United States,” according to a press release.

“Discussions like this morning’s roundtable with stakeholders drive collaboration and innovation so providers can obtain the best outcome for patients,” Cline said. “I was pleased to participate and look forward to continuing to work on health care solutions that benefit patients across Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District.”

Sandy said during the discussion that Sentara RMH Medical Center was “grateful” to host Cline, Better Care America and local health care leaders to brainstorm ways to address community health needs.

“We look forward to strengthening current partnerships and building new relationships as we continue in our shared mission to ensure all Virginians have access to the care they need,” Sandy said.

Cline is currently co-sponsoring four bills identified in the health policy area — all of which have been introduced in the House and referred to the either the House Committee on Energy and Commerce or the Subcommittee on Health.

The Promoting Access to Diabetic Shoes Act, or H.R. 808, would allow a nurse practitioner or physician assistant to fulfill documentation requirements for coverage, under Medicare, of special shoes for diabetic individuals. Current law only requires a physician. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and has 75 co-sponsors.

The Phair Pricing Act of 2019, or H.R. 1034, sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., would require pharmacy-negotiated price concessions to be included in negotiated prices at the point-of-sale under part D of the Medicare program and for other purposes. The bill has 44 co-sponsors.

The Health Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2019, or H.R. 1398, would delay the reimposition of the annual fee on health insurance providers until after 2021. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., and has 119 co-sponsors.

The Conscience Protection Act of 2019, or H.R. 2014, would amend the Public Health Service Act to prohibit governmental discrimination against providers of health services that are not involved in abortion. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., has 85 co-sponsors.

Cline has also joined forces with Collins, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., and Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., to introduce bipartisan legislation addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs.

The Terminating the Extension of Rights Misappropriated Act, or TERM, makes the process of challenging a brand-name pharmaceutical patent in court fairer in order to help generic pharmaceutical options come to the market faster, according to a press release from the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

The TERM Act, or H.R. 3199, would call for title 35 of U.S. code to be amended to prevent double patenting and other purposes, according to the legislation.

Contact Jessica Wetzler at 574-6279 or Follow Jessica on Twitter @wetzler_jessica

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