Last updated: July 17. 2013 2:54PM - 334 Views
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By TERRY L. MAY

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

WASHINGTON, DC U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) was recently honored as a Champion of Healthcare Innovation by the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), a coalition of chief executives from companies and organizations representing all sectors of healthcare in the United States at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Rahall has long been a strong supporter for health care issues faces residents of West Virginias Southern Coalfields.

Last month, Rahall announced grant funding for the Williamson Redevelopment Authority to enable the Williamson Health and Wellness Center to become a community health center that provides comprehensive, high-quality preventive and primary health care to patients regardless of their ability to pay.

West Virginians know better than most that access to quality health care can be difficult, especially in rural areas, said Rahall. With this funding, Williamson can develop a plan for providing more comprehensive primary and preventive care services to a larger community of patients, while gaining access to additional federal resources.

Williamson Redevelopment Chairman Dr. Donovan Beckett said the grant would enable his group to put a plan in place to help those who have Medicaid, or no health insurance coverage, obtain services free of charge.

The $80,000 Health Center Planning Grant was awarded by the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This federal funding allows community-based to become community health centers seeking to provide a more comprehensive range of primary health care services and/or expand their services to the larger community.

Another issue Rahall recently addressed was the Williamson Veterans Administration Clinic. While the VA said there were never any problems with medical service provided at the local clinic, following an inspection request by Rahall for reports he received concerning substandard conditions at the clinics physical plant, the facility was closed.

As technology advances in all walks of our lives, perhaps now more than ever, technology is helping deliver good health. Health care is a basic human need, and we should not short-change quality care or short-circuit innovative technologies capable of improving quality of life for so many, said Rahall. There is an effort in Washington to slash health care investments across the board; these proposals are short-sighted and insensitive to the needs of Americans, and rural regions like ours get hit the hardest. While this axe-it-all crowd represents a minority of the thinking in the Congress, there are practical members of both parties who are looking for a more sensible approach to health care. They want to find a solution. They want to get something done.

Rahall was recognized at the Healthcare Leadership Councils annual Healthcare Innovations Expo on Capitol Hill. The day-long event showcased new developments in health care technologies, treatments and practices, including advances in lifesaving and life-enhancing therapies and medical devices, breakthroughs in health information technology, and high-tech tools being used to ensure the safety of the nations food supplies.

Our nations healthcare system is facing tremendous challenges. Continued innovation is critical if we are to provide the best possible care and achieve improved health outcomes while still keeping healthcare affordable for all Americans, said HLC President Mary R. Grealy. We applaud Congressman Rahalls leadership, dedication and commitment in advancing the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of American healthcare.
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