Horner, Bryant named legislative health policy fellows

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RALEIGH — Wilson County’s state senators are among 22 North Carolina legislators selected for a comprehensive study of the state’s health services and the public policies that affect service delivery.

The N.C. Institute of Medicine named Sen. Rick Horner, R-Wilson, and Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash, as two of its legislative health policy fellows.

Fellows will participate in three full-day educational sessions on health issues facing North Carolina, structure and financing of the state’s health care system, priorities for health care delivery and opportunities for improving health, according to the Institute of Medicine.

“As legislators, we come to this work with a wide variety of backgrounds, but health care legislation is one of the more important things we do,” Bryant said in a news release. “Even as a legislator with over a decade of experience, I continue to learn about the ins and outs of Medicaid and health care financing.”

Bryant, who also chairs the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus, is a Rocky Mount attorney who represents portions of Wilson, Nash, Halifax, Vance and Warren counties in Senate District 4.

Horner is a Wilson resident and former Nash County school board member who represents portions of Wilson, Nash and Johnston counties in Senate District 11.

The Morrisville-based N.C. Institute of Medicine is an “independent, quasi-state agency” chartered by the legislature in 1983 to provide lawmakers with nonpartisan expertise on health care issues. Like the Congressional Budget Office, it operates under government auspices but was established to be insulated from political pressure.

The institute’s fellowship program receives private funding from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, Cone Health Foundation, Commonwealth Fund and The Duke Endowment.

Organizers named10 senators and 12 representatives to the 22-member inaugural class of fellows, which includes an equal number of Republicans and Democrats — 11 fellows from each party.

Joining Horner and Bryant from the region are Rep. Greg Murphy, R-Pitt, who is a urologic surgeon, Sen. Louis Pate, R-Wayne, Rep. Donna White, R-Johnston, and Rep. Shelly Willingham, D-Edgecombe.

“Over the past two years in the General Assembly, I have come to appreciate the nonpartisan, evidence-based approach to health policy from the NCIOM,” Murphy said in the agency’s release.

The first of three Legislative Health Policy Fellows Program sessions is scheduled Jan. 22 and will cover topics including “Drivers of Health” and “The U.S. Health System: An Overview of Insurance, Access and State Performance.”