Tanzi spoke of her efforts related to health care, and cited South County Hospital as a resource that must be protected.
“I want to continue to safeguard our community hospital, which is the last one in the state that’s independent,” she said. “I want to make sure our independent hospital has the resources it needs and continue to improve the system of behavioral health delivery, because we are severely lacking.”
Tanzi noted that she recently received the Charles Hachadorian Jr. Award from the Rhode Island Pharmacists Association, an honor given annually to a non-pharmacist. The group lauded Tanzi for her sponsorship of legislation to prohibit so-called “gag clauses” in pharmacy benefit manager contracts. Those clauses prohibit pharmacists from sharing information with consumers about less costly or alternative prescription options.
“There was not only a cheaper way to obtain a particular medicine that a young constituent of mine needed for Lyme disease, but they also had them get a less effective medicine,” Tanzi said of her support for the legislation. “They told the mom of this little boy he needed one particular drug for $400 when there was actually a more effective version of it for $7. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, not having the pharmacist be able to tell them that, when it was a hardship for their family.”
Tanzi said through her service on the House Finance and Small Business committees, she has focused on “safeguarding the limited resources Rhode Island has for economic development.”
She also spoke of efforts to strengthen laws related to sexual harassment. She co-sponsored legislation to create a legislative study commission on the issue, and while the panel made a number of recommendations, none were acted upon before the General Assembly’s session concluded.
Tanzi, at the time, said she was “disappointed” and “disgusted” with the lack of action from legislative leaders. She said given the current climate in the nation’s capital, Rhode Island must take action to ensure its values and the rights of its citizens are protected.
“I think people want to know that if the [federal government] starts saying, ‘We’re going to send everything back to the states,’ they want to understand that those types of safeguards are in place,” she said.
Among other accomplishments during her tenure, Tanzi pointed to the development of bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly community infrastructure, the increased availability of multi-modal transit options for commuters and improved prevention measures aimed at curbing teen tobacco and nicotine addiction.
“I am continuing to work on a number of pieces of legislation around that,” she said. “These things take time and I’ve been able to implement some portions of the regulations, but there’s still a lot more to be done.”