Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a child neurologist from Norfolk, recently spoke before a crowd of healthcare providers attending the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Conference Current Concepts in Vascular Therapies.

Lt. Gov. Northam addresses Sentara vascular conference

Northam Vascular Conference

Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a child neurologist from Norfolk, recently spoke before a crowd of healthcare providers attending the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Conference Current Concepts in Vascular Therapies. This program, presented by Sentara Vascular Specialists, brings providers together in the spirit of learning the latest in vascular medicine and therapies.

Northam talked with the large crowd about several government and health related topics, but spent most of his speech highlighting his work to expand Medicaid in Virginia as part of the Affordable Care Act. He discussed the two-year pilot program that has been included in the Governor’s budget. The pilot has Virginia accessing Virginia’s share of the federal money to provide access to health insurance for low income Virginians.

Northam emphasized the need to cover working Virginians who would otherwise struggle to afford health coverage. He emphasized the need to encourage people to seek care in the appropriate settings, not turn to emergency rooms when basic healthcare needs arise – a practice common among uninsured patients. Northam pointed out that failing to take advantage of the federal monies made available under the ACA would only hurt Virginia.

“Whether you agree with the Affordable Care Act or not, we should not leave money on the table,” Northam added.

He talked about the three pillars of healthcare as quality, access and cost. He praised Virginia providers for the quality of care they provide and stressed the need for Medicaid expansion as key in ensuring the best access and cost management of healthcare in the Commonwealth.

Finally, he encouraged everyone in the crowd to get involved and engage in the legislative process by reaching out to lawmakers, working with groups like the Medical Society of Virginia and paying attention to what is happening in the state and the country as it relates to these important issues.