The North Carolina Serious Illness Coalition welcomed Senator Mike Woodard (D) to the June 5th edition of Friday Facts, our 15-minute Week’s-end Update webcast. Sen. Woodard, who served on the NCIOM Task Force on Serious Illness Care, currently serves on the NC Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, and is the senior ranking Democrat on the Senate Standing Committee on Health Care.
Sen. Woodard applauded the work of the Coalition and spoke about several issues of concern to Coalition members:
- Racial and Rural Disparities in Health Care – Sen. Woodard stated that legislators who worked on the health care section of the COVID bill very intentionally addressed racial and rural disparities. They worked with Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of DHHS, and her leadership team to build in funding that would address inequalities.
Woodard endorsed the executive order signed by Gov. Cooper last week to establish a special task force on disparities in our state, which will be led by Secretary of Administration Machelle Sanders. “I think it’s good, strong leadership on the part of Governor Cooper, Secretary Sanders, and Dr. Cohen. At this time, on these efforts, I’m very happy we have these two women with very special skills, sensitivities, and insights leading the effort.”
- Temporary Changes in Telehealth – Senator Woodard spoke of his hope that the temporary changes affecting telehealth can be made permanent, specifically asking for better reimbursement. “The pandemic crisis has shined a light on an issue that the public and the wider healthcare industry are starting to understand. I plan to work with BCBSNC (headquartered in my district), and other carriers to further address this issue.”
- Temporary Changes in Advance Directive (AD) Requirements – Sen. Woodard expressed regret that the General Assembly didn’t enact permanent changes, but encouraged the Coalition to continue working with the General Assembly and the Secretary of State’s office on this issue. He asked the Coalition and its members to advocate with legislators on this issue now since the short session is likely to wrap up by the first of July. Senator Woodard pledged his support for the Coalition’s work to extend temporary changes to ADs and to mandate a broader study of the issue over the next year.
Looking for a quick guide on Completing an Advance Directive (AD) during the COVID-19 pandemic, learn more and download step-by-step instructions here.
Senator Woodard ended his conversation by offering a shout-out to the NCIOM, calling it “an amazing resource that is so critical to our work,” while expressing general encouragement for positive change in health care over his nearly 8 years in the NC Senate—an issue he intends to continue on behalf of all North Carolinians. Lastly, he looked ahead to next year’s NCGA long session, hoping that in the November elections voters will elect “strong health care and public health advocates who recognize the disparity in our state and who will work to make positive change.”
And join us next Friday, June 12, at 8:30 a.m. for Friday Facts. Contact us here to request access.