Committee on Access to Healthcare In Rural NC Update

The Committee on Access to Healthcare in Rural NC met on March 15, 2018 at the Columbus Regional Healthcare System in Whiteville, NC.

Rep. Brendan Jones (R-Columbus) and Sen. Danny Britt, Jr. (R-Columbus) provided introductory remarks about the needs in the area.

John Young, Senior VP and Interim CEO of Columbus Regional presented an overview of Columbus Regional. He provided insight into the particular demographics into the area. He also noted that 18.9% of adult have no insurance and 11% of children have no insurance. He cited concern for rising mental health issues within their community as well.

Terri Veneziano, Chief Nursing Officer discussed the improvements that have been made in terms of providing the community with healthy food options. Columbus Regional has instituted a weekly farmer’s market program at their facility. This helps serve as a nutrition education opportunity for their patients and staff.

Joann Anderson, President and CEO of Southeastern Medical Center presented on the specific challenges her hospital faces day to day. Their patients have high incidents of chronic disease and obesity. She stated that 19.9% if the county’s residents do not have health insurance. She encouraged the members to support residency programs with funding, ensure access to broadband across the state, and reduce the licensing process for providers in bordering states.

Greg Wood, President and CEO of Scotland Medical Center presented on the challenges in Scotland County. The number of people with an income below the federal poverty line is around 32%. Approximately 21% of the adults in the county are uninsured. Mr. Wood suggested that legislators should incentivize health profession in shortage areas, increase funding to the Office of Rural Health to support retaining more providers, and to asses any impact that changes to Medicaid payment and delivery models could have on rural communities prior to implementation.

After the presentations were complete, legislators were provided a tour of the Columbus Emergency Department, Telehealth Bay Primary Care Clinic, and Imaging Center.

All of the Committee documents are available here.


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