CHARLESTON — With the departure of the former chair to serve within the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, vice chair Del. Matt Rohrbach, R-Cabell, has been named chair of the state House of Delegates Health and Human Resources Committee.
Del. Dean Jeffries, R-Kanawha, has been named majority vice chair, according to a release from House Speaker Roger Hanshaw on Tuesday.
“I’m confident this leadership team will bring a deliberate approach to the important work ahead of this committee so critical to improving the lives of West Virginians,” Hanshaw said in the release. “Del. Jeffries was a dogged co-chairman of our Committee on Flooding and knows how to get answers from reluctant bureaucrats who must be held accountable; Dr. Rohrbach has been front and center on addressing the state’s crippling substance abuse crisis.
“These gentlemen both have experience as members of this particular committee, but most importantly, they view the realm of health through distinct lenses. Dr. Rohrbach brings his years as a healthcare practitioner to the podium, and Delegate Jeffries knows the ins and outs of the insurance world. I have full faith in they will lead us through even more reforms that will help our most vulnerable West Virginians.”
Rohrbach had served as chair of the committee before Jeff Pack, who resigned from his position as delegate to head the new DHHR Bureau for Social Services.
Rohrbach is a physician at HIMG in Huntington. He was first elected to the House in 2014. He said he considers access to health care, particularly preventative care and substance abuse prevention, among his biggest priorities.
Rohrbach said the state’s aging population, paired with its high rates of chronic illness, affects every facet of the state, from West Virginians’ home lives to the viability of the state’s overall economy.
“There are a lot of things we can do to try to get healthier lifestyles in this state,” Rohrbach said Tuesday. “Those things really do matter. It matters to us as taxpayers because we do have higher health care costs in this state. It also matters to all of us in lost opportunities. When employers look at our health statistics, and they’re pretty bad, and they choose to go to a state with a healthier population than ours. We will all benefit from having a healthier population in the state of West Virginia.”
Jeffries, a Charleston native, earned a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from the University of Charleston. He was appointed to the House in September 2018 and was elected later that year.