Discussions with Decision Makers: Representative Jeff Sorrells

Discussions with Decision Makers: Representative Jeff Sorrells

Representative Sorrells is a member of the Alabama House of Representatives from the 87th District, serving since 2018. He is a member of the Republican party and serves on the House Health Committee. Rep. Sorrells was previously the mayor of Hartford, Alabama and is a vice president of the First National Bank of Hartford, Alabama.

What first prompted you to consider running for office?

When I first got involved in public office in 2002, on a local basis, my primary concern was to make a difference in my community. Being from a small rural community, it appeared that everything stayed the same and nothing changed for the better. I felt that the best thing I could do was get involved and work toward improving my community. I firmly believe that the best plan of action you can take to invoke change is to get involved in a positive manner and work toward a goal for the future. Have a plan and then implement that plan for a better quality of life for those people you serve. Being a mayor for 10 of those years served as an opportunity for me to be able to make that change and improve the quality of life for those in our community.

How does your background help serve you in the Legislature?

Being in the banking industry for the past 35 years has helped me to see the value of being able to help people and work with people to achieve the results that are beneficial to them and you. Working together is necessary to be able to achieve these goals and to have the ability to be successful in your role in the Alabama legislature. The satisfaction that you can derive from helping others is a tremendous motivation for me in public service. Banking has taught me the value of helping others in their time of need as well as how to listen when those around you talk.

What are some of your legislative priorities next term?

Being from a rural environment I think it is time Alabama took a hard look into Medicaid expansion. There are too many hospitals and clinics in our rural areas that are closing and these hospitals serve a tremendous purpose in many of our communities. Too many times the older population does not have the means to travel 40 or 50 miles for health care services. Medicaid expansion could possibly be the mechanism that can keep these hospitals and health care clinics open and serving the community. We also must get tough on the Fentanyl abuse in Alabama and our country as well. Way too much of this drug is pouring across our southern border and we need to let those that would distribute and use this drug know that a high price will be paid when you are caught.

What are some health-related issues important to your district and your constituents?

There is little doubt that Covid has been an issue for all Alabamians over the last couple years. This virus has highlighted just how important our rural physicians and hospitals are to our state. We have to keep exploring all options available to help our rural areas maintain and deliver adequate health care.

What do you think people understand the least about our health care system?

The aspect that I think people are most unaware of is the reimbursement of services provided by the health care community. Procedures that are performed are billed at a specific price but the actual funds received are predetermined regardless of what the actual cost may have been. This usually leaves a balance due and ultimately has to be absorbed by the health care provider.

If you could change anything about our state’s health care system, what would it be?

Improving access to health care especially in rural areas. Telemedicine will go a long way toward benefiting people in the areas that currently are underserved. We must make sure our rural hospitals are adequately funded and can survive in rural Alabama.

How can the Medical Association – and physicians statewide – help you address Alabama’s health challenges?

When questions arise, it is imperative that we, as legislators, have the opportunity to seek out information from those that are versed in that industry. My background being in banking is what I am most versed in, so to have the ability seek out professionals in the health care industry and discuss issues is imperative for me as a legislator.

What is the one thing you would like to say to physicians in your district?

THANK YOU!! Thank you for all your dedication and hard work taking care of Alabama during the pandemic. Thank you for working the long hours under difficult circumstances to ensure that all Alabamians were provided with the health care that was much needed during these unprecedented times that we experienced in the pandemic.

Posted in: Advocacy

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