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Gwen Graham talks Medicare, telemedicine during Tallahassee Memorial tour

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On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham toured Tallahassee Memorial Hospital highlighting a recent bipartisan vote to reinforce Medicare for seniors in North Florida.

During the visit, the freshman Tallahassee Democrat met with staff to discuss issues facing the region’s doctors and administrators.

“Tallahassee Memorial Hospital is a vital institution to our community,” Graham said. “Almost everyone I know has been helped by the hospital, including my family – two of my own children were born here.”

Among the topics were plans to develop the hospital’s residency program, and innovations such as telemedicine, which will help provide services to several underserved rural North Florida communities.

“Tallahassee Memorial helps patients seeking care across North Florida, Graham added. “Their advances into telemedicine will help improve care for at-risk populations in small and rural communities.”

In conversations with doctors, Graham discussed her recent vote to strengthen Medicare. Last week, she became part of a bipartisan majority — 180 House Democrats and 212 Republicans – who passed a comprehensive bill seeking to improve Medicare for North Florida seniors.

The new legislation replaces an outdated SGR payment system, which threatened to cut services to seniors, at a cost to taxpayers of $160 billion.

“In North Florida, when we see a problem, we find permanent solutions,” Graham later told reporters. “Congress has spent years kicking the can down the road on fixing payments for Medicare providers. This bipartisan legislation is a permanent solution that renews doctors’ incentives to continue seeing Medicare patients and ensures seniors who depend on Medicare continue to receive the care they deserve.”

TMH CEO Mark O’Bryant, who was “heartened” by Graham’s visit, said he appreciated the deep concern she has for improving healthcare. He was particularly glad for her support in bringing improved healthcare to areas of Florida’s Second Congressional District served by Tallahassee Memorial.

“Our discussion ranged from expanding residency programs to how we can best use the exciting promise of telemedicine,” O’Bryant said. “We were impressed with her focus on how these programs, and others, can best meet the needs of her constituents.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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