|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 5.6.13
Monday, May 6, 2013 â€“
Ninth District Health Care Tour
Since being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, I have been honored to serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee. In my first term, I served on the Committeeâ€™s Subcommittee on Energy and Power and its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
For my second term, I am also honored to be on the Subcommittee on Health. This subcommittee does not have power over the funding of health care, but has jurisdiction over legislation relating to the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Food and Drug Administration. Also falling under its jurisdiction are issues like health information technology, private health insurance, and issues involving Obamacare.
Because of my committee assignment, I had previously been to medical facilities throughout the Ninth District of Virginia more than 20 times. As a part of my duties on the subcommittee, I recently spent time visiting Martinsville Memorial Hospital, the Carilion Tazewell Community Hospital, Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems medical and dental clinics in Saltville, the Russell County Medical Center, and the corporate headquarters of Medical Facilities of America, a nursing home company with facilities in three states, including the Ninth District of Virginia. It goes without saying that I will continue these visits.
While on this â€śhealth care tour,â€ť my goal as always was to listen to the administrators, board members, health care providers, and other people discuss their successes, the issues they face, and their expectations for the future.
We listened to nurses who have worked at their place of employment for as many as 40 years. This time last year, I spoke at the graduation ceremony of Appalachian Pharmacy School in Buchanan County. I was pleased to see one of the Appalachian Pharmacy School graduates, a friend from Tazewell County, now working at the Tazewell hospital. In fact, we met several health care providers who left our region to go to school before returning home after their studies to practice and fill a need in their communities.
Among the recurring topics of discussion throughout the health care tour was the need to recruit health care providers to our areaâ€™s communities in an effort to ensure continued access to care. One way to assist with that problem is to figure out a way to fund more medical residency programs, where students get hands-on experience with patients. According to an AARP report of 2010, â€śWhile a handful of states have more than 50 medical residents for every 100,000 people, most states have fewer than 30, and four states have 10 or fewer medical residents for every 100,000 people. The geographic distribution of [medical] residents is important because research shows that residents are more likely to remain and establish practice in the state in which they complete their residency."
Other topics included concerns about the impending full-implementation of Obamacare and funding issues that these facilities face.
I learned a great deal from the people who took their time to give me a glimpse of their day-to-day activities. I will take these lessons with me as I continue my work in Congress on the Health Subcommittee.
2013 Congressional Art Competition
Each year, the House sponsors a Congressional Art Competition for high school students throughout the country. The chosen theme for the Ninth District this year is â€śAn Artistic Discovery: Discovering Virginiaâ€™s History, its People, Places, and Things.â€ť The over-all winner of our district's competition will be invited to Washington for a reception, and the winning piece will be displayed for one year in the complex that houses the Capitol building. This is an exciting way for a student from our region to represent the Ninth Congressional District in our nationâ€™s capital.
A large number of creative pieces were submitted for consideration in this yearâ€™s Congressional Art Competition. However, a panel of judges from around the Ninth District selected â€śA Certain Patrick Henryâ€ť painted â€“ on a cabinet door, no less â€“ by Ella Bishop-Heil of Patrick Henry High School in Washington County as this yearâ€™s first place finisher. The runners-up both hailed from Virginia High School - Kathryn Carico with â€śDominion Express,â€ť and Kamryn Blankenship with â€śOld Dominion: From Coalfields to Coastlines.â€ť
I am proud of all of the talented young artists in the Ninth District, and want to thank every student and school participating in this yearâ€™s Congressional Art Competition.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office by email, please visit my website at