I spent 30 years practicing as a Physician Assistant. I graduated from nursing school in 1978. I have spent my life in the medical field and I know healthcare. Healthcare is a very complex issue with many players: Insurance, providers, hospitals, clinics, laboratory, radiological services, durable equipment, research and home health. Providers know how the system works and can cut through the lobbyist rhetoric and get to the core of what is best for the people. Understanding this area takes expertise and knowledge that comes from a lifetime of practicing medicine and working in the industry.

Sharon Girard - AZ House of Representatives LD8 Candidate

Access to Healthcare for All


Arizona currently covers approximately 27,000 children under this supplemental program. We must work to keep this program intact, funded and expand it’s services to all children in need. NO child should ever be without healthcare.

Physician Shortage

The doctor shortage in our rural areas is a forgotten issue. No one talks about and few are addressing it. My focus is AFFORDABLE ACCESSABLE healthcare. You cannot access care if you have a lack of providers in your area. Rural areas will have a shortage of 45,000 providers nationwide by 2020. By 2030 we will need almost 2,000 more providers than what we already have in Arizona. Lack of providers increases use of emergency rooms which increases the cost of medicine and hurts the taxpayer. It may also cause hospitals to close because of loss of revenue from low or non paying customers. We have a crisis in Arizona that will only get worse.

Some ways a legislator can help are:

  1. Work on funding for telemedicine to expand access to specialists.
  2. Work on incentives to increase recruitment of providers to rural areas.
  3. Work on expanding residency training programs
  4. Fund and expand nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs.
  5. Utilize more non-physician advanced practice providers in areas of need.

Medicaid Work Requirement

AHCCCS will be moving to work requirements for benefits in the near future. This is WRONG. It will not incentivize working, it will hurt hospitals, doctors and more importantly, patients. Patients will always need care so they will access the ER instead of see their doctor for early evaluation and treatment. Hospitals will not be able to recoup costs so will likely increase prices on insurance and out of pocket patients which in turn will cause medical care costs to rise and if fees are not collected, hospitals to close. Rural hospitals work on a very slim margin anyway and this act may prove disasterous. The key to healthcare is early recognition of problems, treatments and followup. Without insurance patients will postpone treatment until it is either too late or too costly. Imagine a small treatable breast lump instead of a massive cancer that either ends the patient’s life or costs millions to cure. Imagine a young adult with new diabetes who is feeling poorly but can’t afford care. Their life may be shortened or worse. This is a disaster of a plan and must be stopped.

Medicaid for ALL

Arizona’s AHCCCS program is award winning and cost saving. It is possible and doable in this state to have this plan available for all in need. Instead of cutting people off from medical services, we should include all in our state with a statewide cost effective plan to cover everyone.

Mental Health

Mental health services are just as important as medical services. Suicide prevention, substance addiction, PTSD, depression, anxiety, psychosis and ADHD are all part of services in dire need in our rural district. Access to mental health may spot a troubled person who may take a gun and commit violence. We must do more to address our mental health needs in our district.

Pinal county does not have a detox bed. There is only one Pinal county inpatient substance abuse program but it does not take Medicaid. Psychiatric care is hard to find and specialists are hard to access in many areas of the district that are rural. We must expand care for all, mental and physicial in our district.

Teen Pregnancy

Yes, Arizona is doing better, but we are still have a high teen pregnancy rate. It’s rate is 23.6 births per 1,000 females and is about mid pack of all states but over the national average. This rate specifically equates to access to healthcare, contraception, comprehensive sex education and mental health systems that address depression and lack of hope in our youth. We must also address vocational training and give hope to young people that there is more to life than having a baby as a teenager and they can succeed and find a job or career and hope for their future. We must also address the increasing rate of sexually transmitted infections in Pinal county. Lack of access to care is a problem and some infections cause permanent sterility and may shorten lives, such as HIV and Hepatitis C if left undiagnosed and untreated. The looming crisis of loss of Title X family planning funds will further impact our state and our family planning providers, thus increasing the teenage pregnancy rate, abortion rate and health complications. Teen pregnancy is not without it’s risks and many young people lose their lives or become ill or damaged due to experiencing a pregnancy too soon. Pregnancy before the age of 18 is considered a high risk pregnancy and may result in more complications such as premature labor, preecampsia and need for a c/section. We must work as a state to lower our adolescent pregnancy rate to the lowest level possible.

Sharon Girard

AZ House of Representatives Candidate - LD8

PO Box 906, Eloy AZ 85131


Paid for by Girard for Arizona. Authorized by Sharon Girard.

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