Letter: Terry Sharrer, Waterford

Editor: When Delegate Dave LaRock voted against Medicaid expansion for Virginians in 2018, no one knew that a health calamity—a pandemic—was just around the corner.  Happily, the House of Delegates passed the legislation over his objection. 

A positive legacy of COVID-19 has been the rise of telemedicine in Virginia. Both Medicare and Medicaid have supported telemedicine services in Virginia since 2001, but Medicare considered distance services as a distinct (and restricted) form of healthcare, while Medicaid simply covered services based on the patient’s travel costs to obtain care—which consequently most benefits the rural poor.  

It is a child’s fever spiking in the middle of the night, an elder’s fall, an adolescent’s mental health crisis, and a need for physical rehabilitation that telemedicine under Medicaid serves.  It can bring Meals-on-Wheels, provide medication adherence, and allow patients to remain in their own homes instead of occupying hospital beds.  And it can enhance what EMT’s can do in that “golden hour” after a stroke. In these and other ways, telemedicine can improve outcomes, reduce costs, diminish hospital readmissions and thereby make health a more achievable goal for more people.  

Telemedicine is still in its early development.  With new monitoring devices—wearable, ingestible and implantable—and artificial intelligence to interpret the data of individuals, patient sectors (e.g. all diabetics) and entire communities, we can anticipate new businesses—perhaps seen as hospitals without walls—and new occupations, such as telepresenters as a type of medical assistants.  

Dave LaRock is not the kind of leader who can deal with a clear and present health calamity, nor is he someone who can anticipate future needs of an aging population.  His focus on the culture clash in politics makes us sicker, not better.  

Terry Sharrer, Waterford

4 thoughts on “Letter: Terry Sharrer, Waterford

  • 2021-09-21 at 12:43 pm

    Delegate LaRock was very shortsighted regarding the issue of Medicaid expansion. In fact, he appears to be in the Stone Age on most issues. (No pun intended.) I didn’t like the way he used Chair Randall’s image to give the impression she endorses him. Please let me repeat: Chair Randall does NOT endorse Delegate LaRock. She’s made it clear on her Facebook page she doesn’t care for the gentleman. I’m for Paul Siker.

  • 2021-09-21 at 1:56 pm

    Telemedicine: An excuse to charge me full price without doing that much work.

  • 2021-09-23 at 9:42 am

    It seems democrats (socialists) never seem to run out of ways to spend other peoples’ money.
    Sob story’s about grandma being pushed off a cliff and the “children” are not a substitute for honest deliberation regarding what is/isn’t the most effective approach and what we can afford.

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