Delgado forms panel for health care policy


 U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado has announced the creation of his 19th Congressional District Health Care Advisory Committee, including patients, providers, and health care advocates from every county in the district. The group will provide input to Delgado “on addressing the skyrocketing costs of health care and health care legislation before the House,” according to a media release.

“Access to quality, affordable health care is one of the most critical issues we face throughout the district, and we must take steps to achieve universal health care,” Delgado said in the release. “I look forward to hearing firsthand about community members’ experiences with the marketplace, accessing coverage, or paying for medication and I will take these ideas back to Washington...” Delgado said ensuring Upstate New Yorkers can afford quality coverage has been a priority for him. “This advisory committee will allow me to hear from every county about the health care priorities of New York’s 19th Congressional District, and I am thankful to all of the participants for helping to ensure that I can be an effective advocate,” he said.

Delgado has supported public option legislation that would combine Medicare physician networks and reimbursement rates with Affordable Care Act coverage standards to create a new, public health insurance option available to all Americans, the release said. He also voted to pass two bipartisan bills to reduce the price of prescription drugs by removing barriers to generic versions of brand-name drugs coming to market.

Local advisory board members include:

• Dr. William Streck, president and CEO of Bassett Healthcare Network;

• Dr. Chris Kjolhede, director of Bassett’s School-Based Health Center Program;

• Amanda Walsh, director of the Delaware County Health Department;

• Cindy Heaney, Delaware County director of community mental health services;

• Eric H. Stein, president of Cobleskill Regional Hospital;

• Sue Smith, deputy director of the Otsego County Health Department;

• Kristin Pyllblank, nurse supervisor with Rural Health Network of Schoharie, Otsego and Montgomery Counties;

• Dr. Amy Gildemeister, director of the Schoharie County Public Health Department;

• Paul Summers, president and CEO of UHS Delaware Valley Hospital.