The Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) honored Rep. Gary Hicks (R-Rogersville) as a 2021 THA Hospital Hero for his dedication and work on behalf of hospitals in Tennessee. THA Hospital Hero Awards recognize lawmakers who prioritize policy issues that contribute to the health and wellness of all Tennesseans through support for hospitals. Rep. Hicks was presented the 2021 award at Hawkins County Memorial Hospital, with hospital and Ballad Health leadership in attendance.
“Rep. Hicks’ work on state fiscal matters uniquely positions him to understand the important relationship that exists between state government and hospitals,” said Wendy Long, M.D., THA president and CEO. “He is someone who is willing to engage on complex issues and work to identify practical and effective solutions, which makes him a great champion for hospital priorities.”
As chairman of the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee, Rep. Hicks’ work with hospitals recently included successful efforts to push against a proposed cut to 340B reimbursement during the 2021 legislative session. His engagement helped underscore the importance of the issue and ensure a favorable resolution for many Tennessee hospitals, including Hawkins County Memorial.
“Rep. Hicks is a respected voice in the state House and a proven friend to hospitals. The people of the 9th District are fortunate to have such a strong leader representing their interests, and THA is deeply appreciative of his service,” said Long.
“It’s been an unprecedented, difficult two years in healthcare. Having lawmakers like Rep. Hicks advocating for us is vital,” said Ballad Health Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alan Levine. “Rural hospitals are being challenged every day, and Ballad Health is blessed to have the support of legislators like Rep. Hicks in Nashville. He’s been a champion for not only Ballad Health, but also all rural hospitals in the state, and by extension, the health of Tennesseans in rural communities like the Appalachian Highlands.”
Levine concluded, “The relationships, particularly financial relationships, between healthcare systems and the state government is complex. But here we have a lawmaker who is willing to go the extra mile to dive into these complexities and understand what’s going to be best for hospitals and for the patients of the Appalachian Highlands.”