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2017-4-6

GOP rejects governor’s bid to expand Medicaid

By Maura Mazurowski, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe blasted Republican legislators Wednesday after they rejected his budget amendment to expand Medicaid in Virginia.

“Virginia Republicans block #Medicaid expansion once again,” McAuliffe tweeted after the General Assembly reconvened to consider legislation that the governor vetoed or wanted amended.

“400k Virginians remain w/o healthcare. We’re losing $6.6mil every day,” McAuliffe wrote after the GOP-controlled House of Delegates rebuffed his Medicaid proposal.

McAuliffe and other Democrats reiterated their call for Medicaid expansion after the U.S. House of Representatives last month failed to reach an agreement on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

That federal law, also known as Obamacare, encouraged states to expand Medicaid, the health coverage program for low-income Americans.

The proposed amendment would have given McAuliffe the authority in October to direct the Department of Medical Assistance Services to expand Medicaid if the Affordable Care Act is still in place. State officials say the expansion would cover about 400,000 low-income Virginians.

Every year since he was elected in 2013, McAuliffe has advocated expanding Medicaid. And every year, Republican lawmakers have voted against the idea.

“We rejected expansion in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and again in 2017 because it was the wrong policy for the commonwealth,” the GOP House leadership said in a statement Wednesday. “The lack of action in Washington has not changed that and in fact, the uncertainty of federal health policy underscores the need to be cautious over the long term.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, states can expand Medicaid to cover people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $16,640 for an individual. About half of the 31 states that accepted Medicaid expansion have Republican governors. Earlier in the session, Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico, outlined the Republicans’ position on the issue.

“Our Republican caucus believes in minimal government, in government doing only what it must,” Massie said.

He said Medicaid is the largest entitlement program in the state and costs are rising.

“As such, we cannot prudently responsibly expand such an entitlement program at this time,” Massie said. “We must reform it and look for the Virginia way. And that is exactly what we’re doing in this house.”

Delegate Massie has since announced his resignation from the Virginia House of Delegates.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a practicing pediatric neurologist, pushed for McAuliffe’s proposed amendment just before the veto session began Wednesday.

“We need to do the right thing here in Virginia. We need to go upstairs, both in the House and the Senate, and pass the governor’s amendment to move forward with Medicaid expansion,” Northam said.

Liberal organizations like Progress Virginia were angered by the GOP’s decision on the matter.

“Health care is a basic human right. It is beyond outrageous that House Republicans have prioritized petty partisan politics over real human lives by refusing to expand Medicaid,” Anna Scholl, executive director of Progress Virginia, said in a press release. “These politicians should look in the eyes of individuals they’ve denied health care access and explain their vote.”

The issue is likely to remain contentious as McAuliffe finishes his term and Virginia elects a new governor in November. Northam is competing with former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello for the Democratic nomination. Three candidates are seeking the Republican nomination: Ed Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee; state Sen. Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach; and Corey Stewart, who chairs the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

“I will continue to fight for access to quality and affordable healthcare for all Virginians along with the Governor and our administration,” Northam said in a statement.

Southside Regional Medical Center Accepting Applications for Summer Junior Volunteer Program

PETERSBURG, VA  – Southside Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is currently accepting applications for the 2017 Junior Volunteer Program.  Applications can be picked up at the Welcome Center in SRMC’s main lobby or downloaded at SRMConline.com/community under “Volunteering” and must be returned no later than April 28. Teens must be at least 14 years old and show proof of age if they are selected for the program. Junior Volunteers will be required to submit to a drug screening and TB test.

The Summer Junior Volunteer Program will take place June 21– August 03, 2017.

Junior Volunteers will be assigned to work in specific departments within SRMC.  For additional information, contact Lisa Mason, Manager, Volunteer & Support Services, at 804-765-5786 or at lisa_mason@chs.net.

Lawmakers blast Trump budget that would cut Chesapeake Bay cleanup

Photo by TOM HAUSMAN      

By BRIANA THOMAS,  Maryland Capital News Service

WASHINGTON - Lawmakers from states surrounding the Chesapeake Bay on Wednesday expressed bipartisan criticism of President Donald Trump’s proposal to end federal support for cleaning up Chesapeake Bay.

“The president’s budget that would zero out the Chesapeake Bay Program is outrageous,” Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat, said at a Capitol Hill meeting with members of the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “It’s dead on arrival.”

Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., said cutting investments for the bay clean up will not help the economy.

“Our Chesapeake Bay is an economic engine and the cleaner it is the more it produces economically,” he said.

The nonprofit coalition hosted its fifth annual lobbying day, centered around saving the federally funded Chesapeake Bay Program after Trump last month proposed a “skinny budget” thatwould eliminate the $73 million bay restoration project.

The Environmental Protection Agency provides the program with monetary support to restore the bay’s ecosystem and reduce pollution.

Started in 1983, the program is conducted under a six-state partnership with Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia.

Advocates from each state attended the meeting with lawmakers.

“We know how important the Chesapeake Bay is for the entire region,” said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md. “We are going to fight harder and harder and harder.”

Ruppersberger said the bay generates more than $1 trillion annually and the restoration of oysters, tributaries and streams is a project that needs to be continued.

The bay is a source of drinking water for 75 percent of the region’s 17 million residents, according to the Choose Clean Water Coalition.

The Chesapeake also is the largest estuary in the United States serving as aplace for recreational water activities, as well as a workplace for the commercial fishing and crabbing industry.

Made up of 225 local, state, and national groups, the Choose Clean Water Coalition has been advocating for a healthy Chesapeake watershed since 2009.

“The Coalition will work to continue to push back on the president’s proposed budget, and secure the essential funding that is necessary to return clean water to the Chesapeake Bay,” coalition spokeswoman Kristin Reilly said in a statement Wednesday.

Members of the House and Senate said they were pleased to have bipartisan support for clean water.

“The Chesapeake Bay is the perfect thing to come together around and serve energetically,” said Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, last year’s Democratic vice presidential nominee.

He said everyone has to work together to make sure checks and balances are implemented.

“We have an EPA administrator who doesn’t accept science. If you don’t accept climate science, it’s a fair question to ask if you accept science,” Kaine said, referring to Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA.

Trump signed an executive order last week to shut downthe Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a program aimed at reducing climate change by cutting carbon emissions from power plants.

“We are faced with a tough budget battle, but an attitude from the EPA that says we can ignore science,” Kaine said.

The bay is a valuable natural resource and if Trump wants more jobs, then he should work to rehabilitate the bay, Wittman said.

The congressman said he was deeply concerned about Trump’s budget plan and wrote a letter to the administration asking to restore resources to the bay.

Wittman wants more money to help revitalize wetlands.

“Our wetlands are the nursery for everything that lives in those ecosystems...mother nature is the sponge that absorbs what man puts in it,” he said.

Brunswick Academy Theatre presents Shrek The Musical

Brunswick Academy Theatre presents Shrek The Musical on Friday, April 7th at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 8th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 9th at 3:00 p.m. in the B.A. Gymnasium.  Tickets are on sale NOW - Adult tickets are $12.00 and Student tickets are $8.00  Don't miss this fun show and talented cast of students.  A great outing for the entire family! Call Kristine Thompson at 434-848-2220 for more information.

VSU Offers Free Workshop on Raising Fish in Pond Cages

The Aquaculture Program at Virginia State University has scheduled a fish cage-building workshop on April 27 from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at VSU’s Randolph Farm, located at 4415 River Road, Ettrick.

Free and open to the public, the workshop is designed for anyone with a farm pond who is interested raising fish in cages for profit or personal consumption. 

Participants will learn the basics of cage aquaculture and construct a fish cage. Cage-building materials will be provided but participants are encouraged to bring leather gloves, tin snips, a tape measure, cutting pliers and protective goggles.

Registration is limited to 20 and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, visit VSU's Cooperative Extension events calendar at www.ext.vsu.edu. For more information or for persons with a disability who desire assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Debra B. Jones at dbjones@vsu.edu  or call (804) 524-5496/ TDD (800) 828-1120 during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations no later than five days prior to the event.

Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments.  Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.  An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.  Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie,  Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Dr. Cynthia Austin Joins VCU Health CMH

South Hill – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to welcome Dr. Cynthia Austin to our family of health care providers.  Dr. Austin specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Cynthia Austin is a Board Certified OB/GYN who has devoted her career to providing the best and most complete OB/GYN care for her patients for more than 20 years. She earned a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia and completed her internship and residency training at Franklin Square Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where she served as Chief Resident. She was a partner in health for hundreds of women as a top OB/GYN at one of Northern Virginia’s leading health maintenance organizations(HMOs).

During her 18 plus years of practice, Dr. Austin obtained her Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree in Public Health Management from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University and  went on to complete the Healthcare Executives Leadership Curriculum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.   She is a community faculty at Eastern Virginia Medical School and a member of several professional organizations including the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Austin is passionate about women’s health.  She believes a healthy woman promotes a healthier household, community and world.  She is married and a mother of five children.  In her free time she enjoys reading, teaching, and medical missions.   She is bilingual and enjoys engaging with people from around the world.

Dr. Austin is currently working at CMH Women’s Health Services located at 420 Bracey Lane in South Hill.  She is currently accepting new patients; to schedule an appointment call (434) 447-7765.

Dr. Austin along with Terry Wooten, Certified Nurse-Midwife provide a complete range of personalized and preventive gynecologic care to women at every stage of life.  To view a full list of services visit:  cmhwomenshealthservices.org

SBA Administrator Honors Nation’s Top Small Businesses

Winners to be formally recognized in Washington, D.C. on April 30 – May 1

RICHMOND– Administrator Linda McMahon, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, announces Corliss Udoema, President and CEO of Contract Solutions, Inc.  

“It is my honor and distinct pleasure to announce the 54 winners from across the U.S. and its territories,” McMahon said. “These small business owners define entrepreneurial spirit and best represent the 28 million small businesses that are the backbone and economic engine for today’s economy. I look forward to welcoming the winners to Washington next month when they are officially honored for their achievements.”

Contract Solutions, Inc. is 8(a) and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small business that provides professional support services to a wide array of federal and state government agencies and private sector clients. 

All of the winners have been invited to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C on April 30 – May 1 where they will be honored with their individual award along with recognition of the three runners-up and the naming of the 2017 National Small Business Person of the Year. 

Each year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week.  National Small Business Week is set as the first week in May, and this year the dates are April 30 – May 6 with national events planned in Washington, D.C., New York City, Indianapolis, Dallas and Fresno, Calif.

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