Congressman Artur Davis tours Vaughan’s new surgery center

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

U.S. Congressman Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, toured the new surgery center at Vaughan Regional Medical Center on Friday, and discussed with hospital officials the challenges facing the healthcare industry today.

Davis said the federal government &8220;has not been very supportive&8221; of Medicare and Medicaid, evidenced by the Deficit Reduction Act &045; a new law that would reduce Medicare spending by $6.4 billion and Medicaid spending by $4.7 billion from 2006 to 2010. Davis voted against the act.

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Davis met with Barry Keel, Vaughan chief executive officer, Cherie Sibley, Vaughan chief nursing officer, medical staff leaders and board representatives to be briefed on how the reductions have impacted the hospital.

Davis said he has always had an interest in rural hospitals, noting Vaughan and Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital in Demopolis. He said the facilities &8220;shoulder an enormous amount of the load&8221; in the Black Belt region and operate well under tough challenges. Challenges also include the recruitment of young doctors, which Davis said is not solely the hospital’s responsibility.

Davis said doctors make a professional decision and a lifestyle decision when moving to a new area, considering investments in new business, education and other key issues.

Keel said the Vaughan staff is grateful for Davis’ continued advocacy of healthcare in the Black Belt.