Lieutenant Governor leads task force at Tift Regional Health System

Updated: Jul. 10, 2017 at 7:11 PM EDT
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Casey Cagle, Georgia's Lieutenant Governor (Source: WALB)
Casey Cagle, Georgia's Lieutenant Governor (Source: WALB)
Bill Richardson, Tift Regional Health System, CEO (Source: WALB)
Bill Richardson, Tift Regional Health System, CEO (Source: WALB)

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Georgia's Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle, was in Tifton to head a task force trying to improve rural health care.

The Lt. Governor says innovation is coming from Tift Regional Health System.

By looking into the ways health care providers and state government partner together, Cagle said they are investing in a better healthcare system for all of Georgia at a more affordable cost.

"It's not a one size fits all and there's not a silver bullet. We have to be committed to really helping rural Georgia meet the needs they have to give patients a quality-based health care system, obviously at a price they can afford as well," Cagle said.

He said Georgia is going to be a leader in innovation with health care on Monday.

"We're excited to really look to the new waivers and ways in which we can deliver a better healthcare service to all our citizens of Georgia at a much more affordable price," Cagle said.

Through presentations from health care leaders across the state, Cagle learned how to tailor affordable healthcare to all different Georgia residents based on their specific needs.

"We need to utilize the community resources that we have and that's why we learned things today," Cagle said.

A few resources are patient centered medical homes and telemedicine. These services give those in more rural areas access to healthcare at their fingertips.

"We want to be able to allow people to have more affordable healthcare," Cagle explained.

Affordability begins with these start-up programs across the state...reaching folks who may not have felt like that had options before.

Bill Richardson, Tift Regional Health System CEO, said South Georgia is challenged by its geography and number of healthcare providers, on top of minimal finances.

"The health status of the citizens of this part of the state are especially problematic when compared to other parts of the state," Richardson said.

Monday's task force meeting highlighted the need for resources to address these problems.

And Cagle says his first priority is to deliver a new type of healthcare system for Georgia that is more affordable.

Cagle also said that in 40 counties 40 percent of children are living in poverty...

He urged task force members to think about which ways would be best to initiate health care reform, immediately.

Cagle said there is no single solution for health care reform.

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