I appreciate Gov. Roy Cooper and Health and Human Services Sec. Mandy Cohen making the trip to Greenville Monday and their willingness to discuss issues related to the health and wellbeing of eastern North Carolinians. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate due to clinical commitments in the operating room.

Improving care in eastern North Carolina requires both an ability to pay for clinical service as well as the ability to access care when necessary. Expanding Medicaid, something I support in the form of the Carolina Cares Act, means little if there are not enough doctors to actually see these newly covered patients in a clinical setting.

Expanding the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University is crucial for that to occur. A new building will allow the medical class size to expand by 40 students per year. Most of those students will practice primary care and many will remain in eastern North Carolina. These are the new doctors this area needs to care for our fellow citizens both now and in the future.

After years of advocating for Brody by our community, full funding for a new building was included in the bipartisan budget passed by the legislature, but that budget was vetoed by Gov. Cooper. If the governor’s veto is not overridden, there is no guarantee a new Brody building will be funded in future budgets.

In short, now is the time to ensure Brody’s expansion. This opportunity is too important for eastern North Carolina to lose because of partisan politics.

Dr. Perrin Jones

Greenville

Jones represents District 9 in the N.C. House of Representatives

Contact Bobby Burns at baburns@reflector.com and 329.9572.