Sen. Preston Smith, Senior Vice President of ValorMD, Named Legislator of the Year by GSASC
March 5, 2010 – The Georgia Society of Ambulatory Surgery Centers (GSASC) has named Sen. Prestor Smith (R-Rome) Legislator of the Year for his outstanding patient advocacy and work to reform Georgia’s healthcare system.
Sen. Smith joined ApolloMD in 2008 as Senior Vice President of ApolloMD affiliate ValorMD, a leading provider of professional liability insurance. As Senior Vice President, Smith is responsible for overseeing ValorMD operations and providing counsel for risk management, claims and quality improvement for its insured physicians. In addition to his work for ValorMD, Smith serves as a State Senator in the Georgia General Assembly where he is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as a member of Appropriations, Health and Human Services and other influential committees.
Sen. Smith’s contributions to healthcare reform are numerous. In 2005, Sen. Smith was the chief sponsor and principal author of the statewide reforms to Georgia’s medical liability laws. Designated as the first act of the 2005 legislative session, Governor Perdue signed the bill into law with Sen. Smith at Atlanta’s Northside Hospital in February of that year. The sweeping reforms to Georgia’s medical liability laws have been the single biggest factor in the increased availability and affordability of healthcare in the state. Since its passage, Georgia has seen an increase in market competition for professional liability insurance, driving down the physicians’ cost of insurance resulting in a greater number of doctors staying in Georgia at lower costs to patient care.
“Health care and health insurance must become more consumer-driven if we want to bring down costs and improve patient care,” said Smith. “My goal is to pass legislation that reforms Georgia’s health care system so that at the end of the 2010 Legislative Session, we have the tools to expand access to affordable health care that encourage more options in the market.”
Since the 2005 reforms, Sen. Smith has introduced extensive health care reform legislation that addresses all aspects of current health care challenges. He hopes to establish legislative oversight of CMO and Medicaid in order to optimize the services provided by Medicaid and PeachCare, Georgia’s program for uninsured children. Smith’s proposed plan promotes legislative measures to boost competition among health insurance providers and to require transparency regarding health insurance claims. In addition, Smith aims to extend health care coverage to dependents up to the age 25 and improve access to affordable group health plans for small businesses.