Rep. Sewell and Chairman Neal Discuss Barriers to Health Care with Alabama Stakeholders
July 23, 2019
Birmingham, AL – Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07), Vice Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, invited Chairman Richard Neal (MA-01) to UAB Hospital Monday to meet with Alabama stakeholders about precision medicine and the state of rural hospitals. Leadership from UAB’s Alabama Genomic Health Initiative, the Southern All of Us Program and the Center for Clinical and Translational Science presented on precision medicine, an approach to patient care that allows doctors to select treatments that are most likely to help patients based on a genetic understanding of their disease, and ongoing efforts to tackle health disparities across the country. Additionally, Chairman Neal and Rep. Sewell met with hospital administrators from across the 7th District and the Alabama Hospital Association to discuss solutions to address health disparities and tackle the rural hospital closure crisis.
“Chairman Neal has spent his entire career fighting for expanded access to quality health care and resources for medical research and innovation. I was proud to introduce him to the health care stakeholders in the 7th District who work every day to improve health outcomes in Alabama, from health disparity researchers at UAB to hospital administrators in the Black Belt. UAB is home to some of the most cutting-edge research and medical developments taking place in the world, but many rural and underserved Alabamians may never access that innovation because of cost and access barriers that we are working to address,” said Rep. Sewell. “Chairman Neal and I agree that every single American deserves the highest quality health care available and that universal health coverage must be a central legislative priority. As the Ways and Means Committee continues to work on these issues, Chairman Neal and I will take into consideration all that we learned from Alabama’s health care stakeholders to guide the Committee’s approach to these issues.”
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, minority populations in Alabama often have poorer access to care, preventative services and health insurance coverage. As a result, minorities often have higher rates of chronic disease, higher mortality and poorer health outcomes than Caucasians.
Last week, Chairman Neal announced the creation of the Committee’s new bipartisan “Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force.” As a co-chair of the task force, Rep. Sewell is committed to working with her colleagues to identify innovative solutions to the ongoing coverage and access issues plaguing Alabama’s rural and underserved communities. Meeting with stakeholders from all corners of the health care ecosystem in Alabama is central to addressing these issues.