|Rep. Pomeroy discusses North Dakota as model for national health-care reform |
Representative Earl Pomeroy visited staff from the Center for Rural Health recently regarding the future of health-care reform. Joining Rep. Pomeroy were his Washington-based legislative director, Melanie Rhinehart-Van Tassell, and Nick Keaveny, a Fargo office representative.
The congressman’s fact-finding visit with the Center’s staff was part of an effort to discuss effective health practices in North Dakota that can serve as models throughout the nation and help drive positive health-care reform. Congressman Pomeroy is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health in the House of Representatives. He also co-chairs the Rural Health Care Coalition (RHCC), which is a bi-partisan coalition of members of Congress committed to advancing rural priorities in health-care policy. Through the health subcommittee and the RHCC, Pomeroy is working for a more equitable system for Medicare reimbursements among other health care reform measures.
“We do health care extremely well in North Dakota as compared to the rest of the nation. We have the highest outcomes for the lowest costs,” Congressman Pomeroy said, citing a recent report from the Commonwealth Fund.
He believes that the way North Dakota manages its health care could lead the national discussion on health-care reform. In particular, Congressman Pomeroy stated the need for a better health information technology infrastructure for primary care because better data help to drive delivery reform and “delivery reform drives reimbursement reform.” He was impressed with the Center for Rural Health’s internal health data tracking system, which provides factual information on the impact of the Center’s programs on health care delivery in the state.
Congressman Pomeroy heard from Center staff on issues ranging from health information technology to quality improvement measures in rural hospitals. Rebecca Quinn, project coordinator for the Traumatic Brain Injury State Partnership Grant, briefed Pomeroy and his team on the lack of traumatic brain injury services in North Dakota, and proposed state legislation to remedy the deficiency in state services. Assistant Professor Mary Amundson reported a need for greater incentives to attract and retain primary care physicians both financially and through better health information technology, which she says is expected by recent graduates who have been trained to use the technology.
Congressman Pomeroy expressed a keen interest in continued discussions with Center staff to inform health-care reform discussions in more detail. He said the Center for Rural Health is the nation’s “go-to” resource for rural health-care information.
-- Denis F. MacLeod, Communications Specialist, Center for Rural Health, firstname.lastname@example.org, 701-777-3300