Poirier Commerce Award

Rep. Betty Poirier answers questions during an interview prior to being presented with The United Regional Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year award at Plainridge Racecourse Tuesday in Plainville.

PLAINVILLE — The United Regional Chamber of Commerce honored state Rep. Betty Poirier Tuesday as its 2018 Person of the Year.

Chamber President Jack Lank said Poirier was selected for the award for her support for business and her work in the community.

“Betty has always been very involved at the local level,” he said at the chamber’s 101st annual meeting.

He cited the work she has done raising money for a local food pantry to provide food for the needy as among the many things she does to improve the quality of life in the area.

“It’s always all about the people,” Poirier said.

She said the bulk of her work as a legislator is not in dealing with passing laws, but with helping people with their problems.

Constituents call her at all times with issues such as homelessness, medical problems, missing Social Security checks, or even getting a driving license renewed, she said.

“They call us for everything,” she said.

The annual meeting and lunch was attended by about 140 chambers members and was held at Plainridge Park Casino.

At the meeting, Bristol County Savings Bank was named Business of the Year and Ken Abrahams of Fun Enterprises won the President’s Award.

The bank was cited for its charitable giving and the 6,000 hours in volunteer work its employees did last year.

Abrahams was thanked by Lank for going “above and beyond” in helping to organize efforts by the chamber.

The guest speaker was Dr. Bruce Auerbach, president of Sturdy Memorial Hospital.

He talked about the escalating cost of health care and attributed to several factors.

One is the aging population and a related issue is the increasing number of people on government-provided health care like Medicare and Medicaid.

The government programs do not pay the full price for health care services, so the costs are passed on to those with private insurance, he said.

Another factor, he said, is the practice of generic drug manufacturers creating artificial shortages so they can greatly increase the price of a drug.

Auerbach said hospitals are trying to slow down the escalation in costs.

He said Sturdy has joined a group of hospitals to make bulk purchases of supplies to get them for less money.

They are also looking into going to a group approach toward equipment maintenance, he said.

Jim Hand may be reached at 508-236-0399 or jhand@thesunchronicle.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TSCpolitics.

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