Tammy Mulchi: And now, the rest of the story

A generation ago, many radio listeners’ most anticipated radio show was five-minute stories narrated by the late great Paul Harvey, named “The Rest of the Story.” In his five minutes, Mr. Harvey would lead off with a news story that many had heard on the television six o’clock news or daily papers. After a commercial, he would return with “The rest of the story.”

I was reminded of this for two reasons. The first was that during the recent Presidential debate, President Biden bragged about the great job he had done by administratively bringing down the cost of prescription medicine. To many, that sounded like a very noble thing to do. Everyone with any serious medical problem knows all too well that the choice sometimes has been to choose between eating properly or missing needed doses of medicine.

For now, I will ignore the reality that Biden’s mandate does not affect the profits of the drug companies. It simply shifts the cost from patients to the taxpayers.

What I will focus on is “the REST of the story.” Recently, the Farmville Herald wrote an excellent story about a new federal regulation that will take effect in November. That regulation has not been publicized in the mainstream mass media.

Likewise, the Biden Administration has not sent out headline stories. However, Tracy Agnew’s well-written story in the Herald documents, with no political intent, the dilemma these place on local rescue squads and volunteers who unselfishly serve their communities. She gathered information from Cumberland, Buckingham, Nottoway, and Charlotte County’s expert extraordinaire, Walt Bailey. Bailey is an expert on the many needs of fire and rescue services in our area and statewide.

CURRENT POLICY

What has worked quite well for many years is a policy that allows local hospitals to give the rescue squads the needed drugs to assist in lifesaving from the time the patient is picked up until they arrive at the hospital. The hospital then takes the partially used remaining drug and gives the rescue squad a new supply gathered from the partial use from similar trips. This has worked for all involved at no cost to the departments.

NEW POLICY

The new policy eliminates that option. By this November, each rescue squad will have to figure out a way to get the lifesaving drugs through another method. This will cost counties and those who donate to their squads to divert resources away from other costs such as fuel, training, and other needed supplies. Hopefully, it will not mean that a lifesaving drug will not be available in an extreme situation. However, because drugs do have a shelf life, it is quite possible that the right drug will not be available when needed.

Why was this policy change made? What bureaucrats, with what knowledge, have produced such a policy that may well offset the value of medical service for those who are most in need, particularly in rural communities? One should ask, did the pharmaceutical companies drive this policy as a way for them to add to their bottom-line profit because they can sell more replacement drugs by preventing the use of perfectly good supplies first? Or was the policy change made by those in the Administration to carry favor with pharmaceutical companies in hopes of a lucrative new job offer? The public should be made aware!

Tammy Mulchi serves as the District 9 state senator. She can be reached at senatormulchi@senate.virginia.gov or by calling 804-698-7509.