State Rep. Bryan Cutler
State Rep. Bryan Cutler represents the 100thth Legislative District in Southern Lancaster County. As Majority Whip, he works as part of the House Leadership team to set and drive the legislative agenda.
We asked Rep. Cutler, a former X-ray technologist at Lancaster General Hospital, about his health-care background, legislative issues that impact the medical community and his bumper crop of raspberries.
What is your background?
I’m a lifelong resident of the Peach Bottom area and graduate of Solanco High School. After graduating from Lancaster General School of Radiology, I worked at LGH for seven years. I earned a bachelor’s degree in health-care administration from Lebanon Valley College and a law degree from Widener University.
I was elected to the House in 2006 and as Majority Whip in 2015.
Tell us about your family.
My wife of 21 years, Jennifer, is a nursing supervisor at LGH. We live on about 11 acres in Peach Bottom with our children, Cheyanne, 14, Caleb, 11, and Drew, 9, as well as our chickens, goats, sheep and ducks.
Why is your health-care experience so valuable in the House?
Only four Representatives have a health-care background, so it’s really important to represent that perspective. I advocate for policies to make our health-care system more accessible and affordable. I have a special interest in ALS awareness and research, especially its impact on veterans. I also serve as a legislative appointee for the PA Trauma Systems Foundation.
What health-care-related legislation are you working on now?
We recently introduced a bill that would turn the POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) into a medical order. We often avoid having real conversations about our viewpoints on end of life. It’s really important to talk to your health-care team about your wishes before you’re in a stressful situation. This will ensure that your wishes are honored and give peace of mind to your family.
Give us your quick thoughts on several areas of current legislative interest.
Physician credentialing is a really important issue. We are making progress here.
The opioid crisis is such a complex issue. I don’t think the federal government ever saw this coming when they made pain control part of the patient satisfaction score.
Telemedicine has a lot of real-world applications. Unfortunately our current laws don’t make it easy for providers to be reimbursed.
I’m waiting to see specifics on the governor’s proposal to merge health and human services departments. If there will be real efficiencies and reductions in barriers to care, this idea may have potential.
I think proposed legislation on independence for nurse practitioners eventually will pass.
As Majority Whip, how do you connect with and rally your fellow Republicans?
I make a concerted effort to visit all members’ districts and learn about the issues and their policy interests. I explain the policy implications and hope they come aboard. When that fails, the leader and I tag-team them. Between my district visits, speaking engagements and fundraisers, I put 37,000 miles on my car last year.
What are your overall thoughts on health-care reform?
The only thing that is certain about the possible repeal of the ACA is that states will be given more responsibilities and less money to accomplish them. Policy makers are often so disconnected from care delivery that we focus on the wrong side of the equation. Emphasizing preventive care, for example, will ultimately lead to better patient care and outcomes, with lower costs.
How can physicians get involved in legislative issues?
Physicians have become noticeably more engaged over the past decade, which is great to see. I encourage you to contact your legislator and offer to be a resource when a health-care bill comes up for discussion. So many legislative issues will have real-world impacts on how you practice and the future.
What do you like to do when you’re not in Harrisburg?
I used to race amateur triathlons. I was training for a full Ironman when I injured my foot. I like to bake. I grow raspberries – 44 pounds last year – and I make a lot of jams, jellies and cobblers.