Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan named a task force Wednesday that will look for ways to improve Georgians’ access to quality health care while reducing costs.

Duncan will chair the 16-member panel, which will include members of the state Senate as well as health-care executives and academics specializing in medical subjects. As lieutenant governor, Duncan serves as president of the Georgia Senate.

“Georgia has taken huge steps toward being a leader in the field of health care,” Duncan said. “But there is still much to be done. Now is the time to build on that momentum and find high-quality, affordable and accessible health-care solutions.”

The task force will include three physicians serving in the state Senate – Republicans Dean Burke of Bainbridge, Kay Kirkpatrick of Marietta and Ben Watson of Savannah – as well as Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jack Hill, R-Reidsville, and Sen. Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain.

Non-lawmakers on the panel will include Barbara Barrett, director of human resources and benefits at Langdale Industries Inc.; Dr. Jon Duke, director of health informatics at Georgia Tech; Dr. Gregory Esper, associate chief medical officer at Emory Health Care; Debra Stokes, executive director of the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center at Mercer University; Carie Summers, CFO and senior vice president at the Georgia Hospital Association; and consumer advocate Clark Howard.

The task force will hold three meetings in September, October and November.

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