~ Candidate Pledges to Carry-out Plan for Improving Health Care in Southwest ~
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds today pledged to make the Southwest Virginia Health Authority's plan for addressing health care issues in Southwest Virginia a key part of his health care agenda as governor.
The goals of the plan, which was released last week, include establishing a regional dental center in Wise, supporting continued efforts of the Healthy Appalachia Institute at the University of Virginia's College at Wise, allowing dental hygienists to provide preventive care, promoting physical activity, and expanding the use of electronic medical records. The plan was developed by representatives from the business community, government, and health care professions, along with the University of Virginia School of Medicine and Virginia Commonwealth University.
I applaud the Southwest Virginia Health Authority for creating a detailed roadmap for improving health care in Southwest Virginia, said Deeds. It's simply unacceptable that death and illness rates in Southwest are well above those in other parts of the state. Every citizen of the Commonwealth deserves quality medical care. As governor, I will work to bring more primary care physicians, nurses, and dentists to underserved areas, promote the use of electronic medical records, and train more medical specialists in rural areas so residents won't have to travel long distances to receive quality medical care. I'll be a governor who won't leave any region of Virginia behind.
Deeds has offered a detailed health care plan to encourage small businesses to pool together to provide affordable health insurance to employees and cut costs by eliminating waste and fraud in the Medicaid program.
Deeds' initiatives to improve care in high-need areas such as Southwest Virginia include:
* Creating a Caring for Virginians initiative to help Virginia's two- and four-year public colleges and universities increase the capacity of their health care training programs. Creigh Deeds' plan offers grants to Virginia's two- and four-year public colleges and universities to expand health career training programs for fields that are in particular demand in rural areas, such as nursing and dentistry. The schools will be responsible for meeting defined accountability targets and for encouraging graduates to work in high-need areas.
* Offering loan forgiveness for nurses and dentists willing to work in high-need areas. For six years of work in a high-need area in Virginia, Creigh Deeds' plan will forgive two years of loans.
* Attracting more medical students to serve in underserved areas. As Governor, Creigh Deeds will instruct the office of Minority Health and Public Health Policy (OMHPHP) to conduct a promotional marketing campaign aimed at attracting more medical students and residents to work in underserved areas of Virginia.
* Expanding the Virginia Cares uninsured program. The Virginia Cares program assists uninsured Virginians who have been diagnosed with chronic, debilitating, or life-threatening diseases. Creigh Deeds will help this excellent program reach more Virginians in need, especially in rural and underserved areas.
The Deeds Healthy Virginia plan is available here: http://www.deedsforvirginia.com/Issues/HealthCare